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Summary of Safeguarding Children Board meeting - June 2016

A summary of the June 2016 meeting of the Safeguarding Children Board is given below, but I would like to start with a few observations. Read more ...

Professionals want to ensure children are safe, and also that they feel safe. They want to work together to share information and agree how best to support a child who may be at risk.

So why do things go wrong as we all know they sometimes do? People in Wolverhampton need to have answers to how senior managers from the Police, NHS, the Council, the voluntary sector, Probation and many more make sure that children get the support and protection the need?SCR RK publication

Firstly I'd like to re-iterate that most children and young people get excellent support. You don’t hear in the media about all the things that go well.  We all know that.

However, in late March, just after our last Board we published a serious Case Review into the death of Rebecca Kandare who died at the age of eight months.  Click here or on the photo on the right) to read the report and see an interview I gave on this. Rebecca’s parents were both imprisoned for their parts in her death. They did everything in their power to deceive professionals about her ill treatment and in various ways kept her away form enquiring eyes.  Despite these facts, we know opportunities were missed to spot what was happening and intervene.  It would be untrue to say this could never happen again, but the actions we have taken in the time since Rebecca died mean it is far more likely in a similar situation that professionals will spot the signs and intervene.

The Wolverhampton Safeguarding Children Board held its most recent quarterly meeting on the 8th June. The important thing is not the detail of what we talked about but whether our reports, discussions and actions improved the safety of children and reduced the likelihood of them being harmed.

At our June meeting, we received reports that told us about:

  1. Multi-Agency Training we provide - we now offer more, and better quality multi-agency training: more professionals are learning together how to recognise the early signs of abuse, including neglect, and how to work effectively together to keep children safe; we provide more specialist training about neglect, child sexual abuse, and a wide range of safeguarding topics (see http://booking.wolvesscb.org.uk/online-booking for a full list of what was offered this academic year);
  2. Wolverhampton's Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) - we learned more about this important, multi-agency first response system that was introduced in January. Enquiries coming into the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub are rising month by month. We believe this is a good sign. Like most places we think that child protection concerns are under-reported so at this point an increase in work is what we are looking for. What is most important is that decisions about what to do, and how to respond, are now better informed. This is because in the MASH, professionals now work in the same office and share what each agency already knows about any child(ren) about whom a concern is raised. This better informs what to do next.

We also discussed how we put together our Annual Report which summarises what we do together and what each agency does.  If you look at our last one for 2014-15 its long and not exactly an easy read. This year we want to show more clearly to the public how we make a difference. There will be examples of how we have made a difference. We will make them anonymous but you can learn first-hand how each agency can demonstrate how the time training staff actually makes a difference.  In the same way we plan to publish some young people’s stories. Do they feel safer as a result of professionals getting involved? That is something you will see through overtime through this blog and through the Annual Report.

Two areas we plan to concentrate on in the next few months are:

  1. Trying to understand why it is we have a relatively high numbers of children who have had a child protection plan for over 14 months.  In that period of time we ought to have helped a family resolve the problems it was experiencing or recognise that alternative ways of keeping a child safe are needed. There may be good reasons for these relatively long timescales but we need to know what they are.
  2. We also want to understand how young people who are carers for parents or other family members are themselves given support and whether, despite their extra responsibilities, they themselves feel safe and supported.

I welcome any feedback comments or advice. You can do so by writing email or phoning. Click here for details.


Multi-agency safeguarding training courses Sept - ...
WM Police 'Child abuse: if you suspect it, report ...

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