Speaker: Dr Paul Harnett, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of Qld.
Abstract: The child protection system is responsible for protecting children whose families are unable to ensure a safe and nurturing environment. Determining which child require protection is complex, and runs the risk of either interfering unnecessarily in the lives of families, or failing to protect children at risk of harm. Risk assessment procedures have been developed in the child protection field to assist these decision, but are prone to error. Psychological models of decision making under conditions of uncertainty have important implications for practice. Most importantly that efforts would be better directed at reducing uncertainty as opposed to accepting uncertainty as an inevitable. This presentation will focus on sources on uncertainty and the development of procedures that aim to minimise its influence.
Speaker Biography: Dr Paul Harnett has 25 years experience in child protection. He is the co-Director of the Parents Under Pressure program, an intervention developed for high-risk multi-problem families. His model of assessing parental capacity-to-change (C2C) has received attention internationally, featured in recent publications in the UK. Dr Harnett was a member of the scientific advisory panel of a publication launched in June, 2014 for the UK Department for Education on assessing parental capacity to change. He was also involved in a recent audit of children in care carried out in response to a recommendation of the Carmody review of the child protection system in Queensland. He has also recently carried out research with Child Safety Officers in Queensland on psychological influences on decision making. The presentation will draw on these experiences.