Child welfare services need radical changes to guard against abuse

June 21, 2010

The research review, written for directors and senior managers in children's services, is called Safeguarding in the 21st Century - where to next? and was commissioned by research in practice, the leading research utilisation agency in England and Wales. It was carried out by Professor Jane Barlow, Professor of Public Health in the Early Years at the University of Warwick's Warwick Medical School.

The report outlines that current risk assessment procedures are not yet in line with policy aimed at improving provision, and sets out a new vision for children's services and social work. The research review points to the need for integrated assessments that focus better on parenting capacity, parent-child interaction and parental readiness and capacity for change.

It shows that we need to move away from the managerialism and proceduralism that characterise much safeguarding practice towards a model in which managers support 'reflective' and 'relationship-based' practitioners as well as evidence-based programmes.

The report comes at the same time as Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove has commissioned his own review, looking at how to remove the barriers and bureaucracy which prevent social workers spending valuable time with vulnerable children.

The science is now very clear that early environment and the first three years play a major role in shaping children's cognitive, behavioural, social and emotional development. Early parenting makes a difference to how small children's brains develop.

Professor Barlow said pregnancy and the first three years should be central to safeguarding practice as the best time for prevention and early intervention - and the time to remove a child if the family can't change despite being supported to do so.

Professor Barlow said: "Things have improved over the last ten years but there are still real tensions in the system. This review calls for new ways of working with families in which child abuse is a concern. Our vision needs to include a greater focus on the first three years of life, a move from short-term 'solution focused' approaches to more long-term 'relationship-based' practice, and interventions that focus on bringing about change in parenting and the parent-child relationship.'

The research review calls for new organisational and professional approaches to promote these ways of working, and support for the child protection workforce to develop skills in these areas.

Welcoming the research review Andrew Webb, Stockport Council's Corporate Director for Children and Young People's services said: 'I suspect there has rarely been a more timely and welcome publication on this subject for leaders of safeguarding policy and practice. Directors of Children's Services, councillors and senior colleagues across the children's sector have a clear duty to reassure themselves that services are focused and informed by the best and latest evidence. This review places its recommendations firmly in the political and social reality of today. It provides us with both the evidence and the insight we need to make sound strategic decisions, and provides managers and practitioners with the platform they require to build effective services.'
-end-
For more information, please contact:

Kelly Parkes-Harrison, Communications Manager
University of Warwick
T 02476 150483, 07824 540863, E k.e.parkes@warwick.ac.uk

or

Rita Cummings, Director of Fundraising and Communications,
The Dartington Hall Trust
T 01803 847005 E r.cummings@dartington.org

Notes to Editors

research in practice is the largest children and families research utilisation agency. Its mission is to promote positive outcomes for vulnerable children and families through the use of research evidence. It is a network of over 110 participating agencies in England and Wales, based at the Dartington Hall Trust and run in collaboration with the Association of Directors of Children's Services and the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield. http://www.rip.org.uk/

The Munro Review was announced by the new Department for Education on 10 June http://www.education.gov.uk/news/news/munroreview

A pdf version of the full research review can be accessed via the research in practice website http://www.rip.org.uk/publications/rr_detail.asp?pub_id=142

University of Warwick

Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.