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Assessing Disorganized Attachment Behaviour in Children

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Table of Contents

Dedication. Acknowledgements. Introduction. David Shemmings, Professor of Child Protection Research, University of Kent and co-Director of the university's new Centre for Child Protection, and Yvonne Shemmings, Continuous Professional Development Specialist. 1. The Maltreatment Pathway Model and its Components. David Shemmings and Yvonne Shemmings. 2. The Notion of 'Enhanced Relationship Skills'. David Shemmings and Yvonne Shemmings. 3. Using Enhanced Relationship Skills in Practice. Yvalia Febrer, Project Director, Frontline, London. 4. Exploring 'Mechanisms of Maltreatment' in a Family. Alice Cook, Family Assessment Practitioner, St Michael's Fellowship, London. 5. Identifying Low Mentalising Capacity using the Adult Attachment Interview. David Wilkins, Principal Child and Family Social Worker, Enfield, London. 6. Using a Guided Parenting Task. Lissil Averill, Social Worker, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London. 7. Using a Strange Situation Procedure and Guided Parenting Tasks. Yvonne Shemmings and Michelle Thompson, Senior Manager, Young Mums and Dads Project, St Michael's Fellowship, London. 8. Working with Disconnected or Insensitive Parents by Increasing Mentalising Capacity. Yvonne Shemmings. 9. Using Modified Story Stems. David Wilkins. 10. Exploring Children's 'Inner Worlds'. Fran Feeley, Social Worker, St. Michael's Fellowship, London. 11. Using the Child Attachment Interview. David Phillips, Manager of the Moorfield Family Assessment Centre, Enfield, London. 12. Working with Children and Families to Promote a Secure Base. Claire Denham and Jo George, Social Workers, Lewisham, London. 13. Attachment to People and Place with Traveller Families. Mel Hamilton-Perry, Social Worker, Norfolk, specializing in work with Gypsy and Traveller Families. 14. Introducing the ADAM Project across the whole Children and Families Department in Enfield, London. David Wilkins. 15. Introducing the ADAM Project in Lewisham, London. Tania Young, Lewisham Children's Social Care, London. 16. Using Pathway Model Components as Counter-indicators in a Complex Child Protection Referral. Henry Smith, Senior Practitioner, Richmond, London. 17. 'Fake it till you make it': Can Deliberately Adopting Secure Attachment Behaviour Lead to Secure Attachment Organisation? Sonja Falck, Psychotherapist and Executive Coach, Harley Street, London, and David Shemmings. Conclusion. David and Yvonne Shemmings.

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An evidence-based model for working with and assessing children with disorganized attachment and their adult carers

About the Author

David Shemmings is Professor of Child Protection Research in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at the University of Kent and co-Director of the university's Centre for Child Protection. He is also visiting professor of Child Protection Research at Royal Holloway College, University of London. He leads the Advanced Child Protection stream within the West London Alliance Post-qualifying Initiative and directs the Assessment of Disorganised Attachment and Maltreatment (ADAM) Project in over 30 child protection organizations across the UK and Europe. Yvonne Shemmings is a Continuing Professional Development Specialist and has trained professionals in over 30 child protection organizations. She is a qualified social worker and was also a senior manager. Her work includes the use of attachment theory in practice. Both David and Yvonne have published widely in the fields of child and adult attachment and child protection. Their title, Understanding Disorganized Attachment, is also available from Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


This book is written primarily for professionals working with families where there are child protection concern...Many social work practitioners will already be familiar with the work of David and Yvonne Shemmings, who developed the Assessment of Disorganised Attachment and Maltreatment (ADAM) Project and the subsequent training programmes from 2009 onward... The editors highlight the importance of professional supervision during the work... I think that this publication will appeal both to newly qualified and experienced social work professionals. It provides some valuable insight into the progress of the potential child protection risks. It is refreshing to read a publication which highlights and values the casework relationship between family members and practitioner. -- Dey Wilcock, independent social worker * Seen and Heard * Attachment theory provides a conceptual framework for understanding the iterative relationship patterns between child and care giver. Within a context of very rigorous training and the highest quality supervision, this book sets out how that framework can become a vital tool in helping to identify behavioural indicators of child abuse and neglect. I have huge respect for David and Yvonne and having known them both for some years now, I am always struck by their relentless commitment to getting things right for vulnerable children. This is only reinforced by their refreshing willingness here to, so openly, raise important questions of validity and effectiveness when undertaking assessments in high risk families. The application of any theory to practice must not be done lightly and conclusions drawn will have lifelong implications for children and their families. Assessing for disorganised attachment behaviours is no exception. It is because of their questioning and thoughtful approach to the complexities of child protection that I am confident to make this recommended reading for all those working in this highly charged arena. Not only does it offer an explanation of why disorganised attachment behaviours are so important to recognise, and how the ADAM project helps to do this, it also offers a wide range of practitioner case study accounts of how it works in practice. A fascinating read. -- Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families This book should be mandatory reading for all those working in child protection. It is much more than a book about attachment - what David and Yvonne Shemmings offer is a really practical way of working with children and their families. The case examples are excellent and bring the book to life. -- Joanna Nicolas, Child Protection Consultant and Trainer Yvonne and David's commitment to ensuring those who work to safeguard children are given the right tools to do the very difficult job they do shines through the pages of this book. Every professional working in child protection settings should read it. -- Dame Lorna Boreland-Kelly, FRSA, DBE, Strategic Advisor for Practice and Management Development, Medway Council, Kent

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