Gretchen’s approach to training is informed by her belief that

  • participants learn by doing on training courses. Whilst ensuring the information presented is up-to-date with current research, Government policy and her own clinical experience, the evaluation of her courses always includes appreciation of the interactive nature of the training. This is not ‘death by powerpoint’
  • a bespoke service makes for effective courses. That is why Gretchen spends time before a course finding out about local circumstances and issues, as well as agency policy and procedure to make the presentation relevant to participants. This is not ‘off the shelf’ training.
  • courses should be enjoyable, safe and respectful for the participants. This is why Gretchen’s training is mainly commissioned through personal recommendation from other satisfied customers.

A Selection of Recent and Current Training Commissions

Kent SCB

  • Safeguarding Disabled Children (levels 1 and 2)
  • Improving Assessment and Supervision Skills to Safeguard Children:
  • A Two- Day Workshop for Managers
  • Understanding Fabricated or Induced Illness

Reading SCB

  • Keeping Children Safe: Realities in Working with Substance Misusing Mothers (joint presentation with Brighton Oasis Project)

Hertfordshire SCB

  • Understanding Fabricated or Induced Illness- Taking a Multi-Agency Approach
  • Working with Disabled Children

Sussex Probation

  • Introduction to Safeguarding Children for Sussex Probation Staff

Harrow SCB

  • Understanding the Common Assessment Framework
  • Safeguarding Disabled Children

Ealing SCB

  • Understanding Fabricated or Induced Illness
  • Safeguarding Disabled Children (levels 1 and 2)
  • Safeguarding Children Where there are Concerns About Physical Abuse
  • Managing and Supervising Complex Cases (2 day).

Ealing Children’s Services

  • Understanding the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families
  • Direct Work with Children (2 day)

Brighton and Hove Children’s Services

  • Improving Practice in Supervised Contact
  • Practice Skills in Working with Children (2 day)
  • Improving Outcomes for Looked-After Children

Dorset County Council and Dorset Constabulary

  • Advanced Skills in Evidential Interviews with Disabled Children (2 days)
  • Advanced Skills in Interviewing Disabled Children- police single agency training (1 day)

Hackney Children’s Services

  • Improving Assessment Skills in Undertaking the CAF (2 day course)
  • Listening to Children- What they tell you
  • Working in Partnership to Help Parents to Change
  • Assessment Skills for Children’s Services Staff (2 day)
  • Supervision Skills

Hillingdon Children’s Services

  • Understanding the Assessment Framework
  • Understanding the Assessment Framework for Asylum Teams
  • Direct Work with Children
  • Safeguarding Disabled Children
Families for Children (private fostering agency based in Brighton)
  • Looking After Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused
  • Improving Practice Skills for Caseworkers
  • Looking After Children Who Have Been Abused (OCN qualification) (2 day)
  • Communicating with Children Who Have Been Abused (OCN qualification) (2 day)

NAGALRO (National Association of Guardians ad Litem and Reporting Officers)

  • Understanding Fabricated or Induced Illness
  • Risk Assessment in Children Protection Decision Making
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Assessing Disabled Parents
  • Working with Disputed Evidence in Child Protection

CAFCASS Southeast

  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Risk Assessment in Child Protection
  • Understanding the Common Assessment Framework
  • Understanding the Public Law Outline (delivered 3 times in March 08 preceding the implementation of the PLO)


  • Improving Practice in Report Writing for CAFCASS staff


  • Understanding and Assessing the Needs of Disabled Parents
  • Improving Practice in Analysing Information and Report Writing

Lioncare (private children’s home in Brighton)

  • Child Protection for Residential Care Workers (levels 1 and 2)

Southern Area Health and Social Services Board (Northern Ireland)

  • Improving Practice in the Effective Use of Core Groups (2 day)

University of Brighton (MA in Child Protection Studies)

  • Decision Making in Child Protection

Warwick Medical School (Masters in Child Health)

  • Safeguarding Children Affected by Fabricated or Induced Illness

University of Nottingham PQ Social Work Course

  • Communicating with Children (4 day module)

University of East Anglia PQ Social Work Course

  • Safeguarding Disabled Children

Sample Description of Training Courses

(copies of all past programmes and presentations available by request)

Improving Assessment and Supervision Skills to Safeguard Children:
A Two- Day Workshop for Managers

This two-day course is for staff who supervise and manage practitioners whose work involves safeguarding considerations. The course will be relevant to supervisors and managers from Children’s Services, Health, Education, Police and voluntary organisations. The focus will be on establishing good practice in assessment and decision making and incorporating those skills in the guidance and management of front line staff. The course will include a mixture of theoretical, practical and experiential input.

Understanding Fabricated or Induced Illness:
taking a multi-agency approach

The course will focus on identification, management and decision making in cases where there are concerns about the fabricated or induced illness of children. There will be some theoretical input but the emphasis will be on practical application in assessing and acting on this very complex form of child maltreatment. It will be of relevance to practitioners and managers from all agencies involved in child welfare.

Safeguarding Disabled Children (Level One)

This course will give participants an insight into the ways in which being disabled renders a child more vulnerable to all forms of abuse and focuses on issues related to recognition and protection strategies. A considerable amount of time is spent on communication as this is one of the main barriers to the effective safeguarding of disabled children. The course should be of value to all child welfare practitioners not just disability specialists.

Safeguarding Disabled Children (Level 2)

The Level 2 Safeguarding Disabled Children course builds on the Level 1 course and looks in greater depth at the role of communication in protecting disabled children including experiential exercises with augmentative communication techniques. Considerable time is spent on a variety of case studies that emphasise the need for good assessment, planning and preparation skills in responding effectively to disabled children who are at risk of significant harm. The Level 1 course is a pre-requisite for attendance at this course.

Risk Assessment in Cases of Disputed Explanations for Serious Injuries

Assessing explanations for serious injuries to babies and very young children is an extremely stressful experience for child protection practitioners. This course will consider some of the parameters of risk assessment and decision making generally but with special reference to the work of Peter Dale and his colleagues in considering cases which feature Serious Injuries with Discrepant Explanations (S.I.D.E.) involving infants and toddlers.

Direct Work with Children

This course looks at the implications of child development and attachment disorder on communicating with children as well as identifying some of the systemic barriers to direct work. Much of the course is experiential, drawing on video material, role play and participant’s own direct experience. It is aimed at practitioners doing short term assessment and decision making with children and young people rather than extended therapeutic work.


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