The Centre for Systems Studies at the University of Hull (UK) – Systems Approaches to Child Protection Wed, Jun 22, 2022 3:00PM BST

Systems Approaches to Child ProtectionWed, Jun 22, 2022 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM BST


On Facebook, Gerald Midgley says:

The Centre for Systems Studies at the University of Hull (UK) is hosting a seminar with two presenters at 3-5pm (UK time) on Wednesday 22 June. The focus will be ‘SYSTEMS APPROACHES TO CHILD PROTECTION’. Details of the two talks are below. Please register for the event at this web site:…/1237358922890229259

‘TRANSFORMING THE RUNAWAY CHILD PROTECTION SYSTEM’, by Andy Bilson (University of Central Lancashire).

The child protection system in England is in runaway mode. Child protection investigations have tripled, whilst the number of child deaths and children found to have been physically or sexually abused is little changed. The system impacts on a considerable proportion of children, and has become increasingly investigative and focused on parental shortcomings (what has been termed ‘institutionalized parental blame’). The number of children separated from families has increased dramatically, and the costs of placement are soaring, so no funds remain to offer help to families. Can a systems approach to the use of research, especially one that makes oppressed groups visible, reverse these trends? Andy Bilson will present his work so far, and open a conversation about the way forward.


Although at the policy level, India is committed to providing a safe, just and equitable environment for children, there is little evidence that such commitments have effectively trickled down to having real, on-the-ground impacts. Several organizational, administrative and competency-related issues pose serious impediments to the operation of the institutional structures that protect and uphold children’s rights and child protection in India. Poverty and lack of awareness are significant factors that lead to violations of children’s rights. This presentation will explore the application of systems methodologies in a creative and flexible manner to design an intervention for children’s rights and child protection in India. A case-study with the Universal Team for Social Action and Health (UTSAH), a non-governmental organization (NGO) specializing in child protection, will be discussed. The intervention was designed around the deployment of Critical Systems Heuristics (CSH), which helped in unfolding and increasing understanding of tensions in the system; gaps between what ought to happen and what actually happens; the challenges of social inclusion and exclusion; and the lack of clarity about the stakes that stakeholders have, and what their issues are. The intervention design involved the application of CSH with two tools: CATWOE (a mnemonic for Customers, Actors, Transformation, Worldview, Owners and Environment) from Soft Systems Methodology, and an assumption-surfacing tool from Strategic Assumption Surfacing and Testing. A program of action was designed through this intervention, which will be presented in two phases: the first phase has already been implemented, and covers children’s rights and child protection case management, police reforms and community sensitization; the second phase is planned to begin soon, and covers a visionary fellowship program for senior-level police officers and managers to address system change. A reflection on the case will be provided in light of Holistic Flexibility, a conceptual lens in systems thinking that calls for greater creativity and flexibility in systems thinking and practice.

Once again, here is the link for registering for the event:…/1237358922890229259