Part 4: Specific support needs and concerns 134 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 4.13 Developing a shared sense of purpose in relation to what needs to change for the safety of a child involves offering choices, respecting proven positives and anticipating difficulties together. Collaboration may also involve some degree of structured coercion, as far as necessary in each situation. This is not inconsistent with work ‘in relationship’, step by achievable step. Widening the circle should be considered – engaging others who can be partner in relation to the child’s safety plan. 4.14 Development of a working alliance does not include condoning harmful behaviour or conditions. Deviation from a Child Protection Plan must be explored in detail and addressed in practical terms. 4.15 Co-operation is no assurance of readiness to change, of capacity to change, or of change in the child’s experience. Co-operation can only be gauged by evidence of change in those behaviours defined as a necessary focus for the sake of the child’s safety. 4.16 Failures in engagement are interactive – a shared responsibility. Persistent failure in engagement can contribute to significant harm as indicated in the triennial analysis of Significant Case Reviews (Care Inspectorate 2019). When children are subject to compulsory measures, the Principal Reporter must be informed if services cannot gain access. More urgent steps may be taken if necessary, especially if babies and other very young children are involved. 4.17 Effective co-operation can fail at any point, sometimes rapidly. Anticipation of and planning for predictable cycles of stress response is a necessary part of child protection planning. With most complex and interactive risks, progress is unlikely to be linear. 4.18 Encouraging hope promotes collaborative goal-setting. Unrealistic goal-setting without sufficient continuity of support will erode the potential to sustain safety. Motivational interviewing (Forrester et al 2012) may provide skills and concepts for approaching resistance, so long as a focus is kept on the child’s welfare and safety. Honesty, transparency, curiosity and caution are steps on the road to effective alliance. 4.19 Solution-focused and strengths-based approaches may be optimal. This should be backed by careful recording, multi-agency assessment and chronology in order to gauge progress and guard against drift in planning. 4.20 Practitioners encounter hostility and aggression. Sometimes this can be anticipated in the location and planning of some meetings. Sometimes it is necessary to withdraw to minimise risk. In all such situations practitioners should be supported and supervised to ensure retention of focus on the child’s safety needs, and to support the wellbeing and safety of staff. Resources and References – When services find it hard to engage Protection of disabled children 4.21 Disabled children are children first and foremost. Each child has unique potential. Their needs must be considered in the context of a holistic assessment of the child and the intersecting strengths and risks in their world. The term ‘Disabled children’ is used in this Guidance and in Scottish Government policy documents to reflect a social model of disability (p7. A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People) . It is the right of individuals, families and groups to use terms which feel acceptable to them, such as ‘children with disabilities’.