“If we want to achieve a safer system to protect children, we must create the environment in which better skilled practitioners can practise and get on with the work of protecting children.” (Wood Report: Review of the role and functions of Local Safeguarding Children Boards, 2016)
The recommendations stressed in the 2016 Wood report pave the way for a fundamental reform of the system for protecting and safeguarding children. A new, more effective statutory framework sets out strategic multi-agency arrangements to ensure services are coordinated across a spectrum encompassing child protection, safeguarding and wellbeing. The key focus is to deliver a more effective model of multi-agency working across health services, the police and local government and to ensure all agencies are fully committed. Other vital partners such as the voluntary and community sector, schools, probation, the courts, and Cafcass also play very important roles in protecting children. More complex issues of safeguarding such as trafficking children, child sexual abuse and exploitation, and radicalisation and extremism, may often require a broader, community-wide response.
The reforms are being proposed at a time of unprecedented growth in demand for services to protect children and, at a time of austerity, increasing pressure on the resources to meet that need. Department for Education’s Children in Need Census data shows that in 2014-15 over 400,000 children identified as in need of support with over 62,000 children subject to a Child Protection plan. Since 2009-10 there has been an almost 80% increase in section 47 enquiries and a 27% increase in children with Child Protection plans. These figures have been compounded by high profile cases of historical allegations of child sexual abuse in institutions. The recent inquiry into child abuse in football has seen a total of over 100 referrals spanning all tiers of the national game.
All agencies that work or come into contact with children have a responsibility to ensure safeguarding procedures are in place to protect them from harm. This conference aims to help all services and agencies on their journey to be better coordinated and inform practitioners how to create a safer, more consistent approach to protecting and safeguarding children and young people.
Date: Thursday 11th May 2017
Time: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Venue: Bridgewater Hall, Manchester