We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

View Profile

Publication details for Professor Simon Hackett

Carpenter, J., Patsios, D., Szilassy, E. & Hackett, S. (2011). Outcomes of short course interprofessional training in parental mental illness and child protection safeguarding children self-efficacy, attitudes and knowledge. Social work education the international journal 30(2): 195-206.

Author(s) from Durham


Living with a parent with mental illness may expose a child to a degree of risk of abuse and neglect. Consequently, both adult mental health services and children's services share a responsibility for safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. However, there is evidence in England that these services do not work together very effectively. Interagency training for social workers and other professionals is provided by Local Safeguarding Children Boards with the aim of increasing knowledge, improving attitudes to interagency working and developing the self-confidence of participants in using local safeguarding policies and procedures.

This study evaluates the outcomes of seven two-day courses using a pre-/post-design and a self-report rating scale. The scale was developed to assess participants’ self-efficacy, attitudes and knowledge. Over half of the 95 participants were social workers and one-third were nurses. Two-thirds of participants were working in children's services.

Results showed statistically significant increases in self-efficacy and attitudes between the start and end of the courses (p < 0.001) with evidence of a strong effect size. However, there was a statistically significant decrease in mean total knowledge scores (p < 0.001), also with a strong effect size. Possible explanations for this surprising finding are considered.

This study provides some limited support for the effectiveness of short course interagency training for social workers and other professionals involved in safeguarding children in the context of parental mental illness. It also demonstrates the importance of evaluating more than one level of outcome of educational interventions.