P.IP.P.I (Programma di Intervento Per la Prevenzione dell’Istituzionalizzazione; Programme of Intervention to Prevent Institutionalization) is an action-research programme that provides intensive intervention for families facing child neglect. Its acronym is inspired by the resilience of P.IP.P.I Longstocking as a metaphor for children’s ability to cope with life’s adverse situations. The programme was founded through a collaboration between the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Laboratory of Research and Intervention in Family Education (LabRIEF) at the University of Padua, with the aim of meeting two main objectives of the social protection system in Europe, in relation to the EU2020 strategy: 1. to decrease in out-of-home placement of children. 2. to fight against poverty and social exclusion. These two objectives are in line with European Recommendation 2006/19 on “creating the conditions for positive parenting” and Recommendation 2013/112, which proposes “investing in children to break the cycle of social disadvantage”. From 2011 to 2018, the Ministry funded seven institutions in an average of 50 participating municipalities (the city and its conurbations) every year. Each implementation of the in loco programme lasts 24 months. It provides for the participation of ten target families, at least four multidisciplinary teams, two coaches who are specially trained in the programme’s method, and a managerial executive. In the first four implementations, carried out from 2011 to 2016, the Ministry provided national funding for the programme in 120 municipalities, belonging to 18 Italian regions, with 1361 children living in 1091 families. Seventy municipalities participated in two or three institutions. The data presented in this chapter relate to the fourth implementation (2015-2016). These data concern the national level as well as the in-depth group presented below. The team is currently carrying out the seventh implementation (2018-2019). The general target of the programme is to foster investment in services for families facing child neglect, promoting innovation and harmonisation of intervention practices with families of children aged from birth to 11 years old, in different geographical areas and in the different organisational systems in Italy at a regional level. By targeting situations of child neglect, the aim is to reduce the risk of violence against children and to improve the relevance of out-of-home placements for children through the coordination of social, health, educational and school sectors, the justice system, and civil society support networks, particularly by considering the point of view of parents and children in the analysis and response to needs (Serbati, Ius and Milani, 2016). Child neglect is conceived as: “a significant failure or lack of response to a child’s needs that are recognized as fundamental on the basis of current scientific knowledge or, in the absence of such knowledge, a lack of consensus about it, social values adopted by the community to which the child belongs” (Lacharité, Ethier and Nolin, 2006, p. 387), whereas vulnerability is a potential situation which, on the one hand, concerns us all as human beings, and which, on the other hand, does not concern individuals as much as the relationships between individuals and social contexts (Soulet, 2013). In any case, children and families in situations of vulnerability and neglect can also find answers in action mechanisms that are not strictly related to the field of child protection (Vinay and Zaouche Gaudron, 2017). The phenomenon of child neglect in particular remains a grey area that is still rather unknown in Italy: neglect is the primary cause of out-of-home placements, most of the problems that concern health and social services and the school increasingly refer to this phenomenon, but we have not yet developed empirical knowledge on the phenomenon nor on the interventions that are able to respond to it in an appropriate way. Indeed, a government computerised system on children subject to child protection is still in an experimental phase. The latest national data only date back to 2014 (MLPS, 2014), but the fact that neglect is the cause of 37 % of child placements in the country and that the second cause – parental substance abuse – accounts for “only” 9 % of placements, underscores the growing importance of this phenomenon.

De te Fabula Narratur: Neglect and Vulnerabilities of Families, Professionals, and Researchers in the P.I.P.P.I. Programme

Marco Ius
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
2022

Abstract

P.IP.P.I (Programma di Intervento Per la Prevenzione dell’Istituzionalizzazione; Programme of Intervention to Prevent Institutionalization) is an action-research programme that provides intensive intervention for families facing child neglect. Its acronym is inspired by the resilience of P.IP.P.I Longstocking as a metaphor for children’s ability to cope with life’s adverse situations. The programme was founded through a collaboration between the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Laboratory of Research and Intervention in Family Education (LabRIEF) at the University of Padua, with the aim of meeting two main objectives of the social protection system in Europe, in relation to the EU2020 strategy: 1. to decrease in out-of-home placement of children. 2. to fight against poverty and social exclusion. These two objectives are in line with European Recommendation 2006/19 on “creating the conditions for positive parenting” and Recommendation 2013/112, which proposes “investing in children to break the cycle of social disadvantage”. From 2011 to 2018, the Ministry funded seven institutions in an average of 50 participating municipalities (the city and its conurbations) every year. Each implementation of the in loco programme lasts 24 months. It provides for the participation of ten target families, at least four multidisciplinary teams, two coaches who are specially trained in the programme’s method, and a managerial executive. In the first four implementations, carried out from 2011 to 2016, the Ministry provided national funding for the programme in 120 municipalities, belonging to 18 Italian regions, with 1361 children living in 1091 families. Seventy municipalities participated in two or three institutions. The data presented in this chapter relate to the fourth implementation (2015-2016). These data concern the national level as well as the in-depth group presented below. The team is currently carrying out the seventh implementation (2018-2019). The general target of the programme is to foster investment in services for families facing child neglect, promoting innovation and harmonisation of intervention practices with families of children aged from birth to 11 years old, in different geographical areas and in the different organisational systems in Italy at a regional level. By targeting situations of child neglect, the aim is to reduce the risk of violence against children and to improve the relevance of out-of-home placements for children through the coordination of social, health, educational and school sectors, the justice system, and civil society support networks, particularly by considering the point of view of parents and children in the analysis and response to needs (Serbati, Ius and Milani, 2016). Child neglect is conceived as: “a significant failure or lack of response to a child’s needs that are recognized as fundamental on the basis of current scientific knowledge or, in the absence of such knowledge, a lack of consensus about it, social values adopted by the community to which the child belongs” (Lacharité, Ethier and Nolin, 2006, p. 387), whereas vulnerability is a potential situation which, on the one hand, concerns us all as human beings, and which, on the other hand, does not concern individuals as much as the relationships between individuals and social contexts (Soulet, 2013). In any case, children and families in situations of vulnerability and neglect can also find answers in action mechanisms that are not strictly related to the field of child protection (Vinay and Zaouche Gaudron, 2017). The phenomenon of child neglect in particular remains a grey area that is still rather unknown in Italy: neglect is the primary cause of out-of-home placements, most of the problems that concern health and social services and the school increasingly refer to this phenomenon, but we have not yet developed empirical knowledge on the phenomenon nor on the interventions that are able to respond to it in an appropriate way. Indeed, a government computerised system on children subject to child protection is still in an experimental phase. The latest national data only date back to 2014 (MLPS, 2014), but the fact that neglect is the cause of 37 % of child placements in the country and that the second cause – parental substance abuse – accounts for “only” 9 % of placements, underscores the growing importance of this phenomenon.
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