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This conference focused on the future for child protection services in England.
Key stakeholders and policy officials assessed next steps following the Government’s response to the National Review of Children’s Social Care, as well as the three new consultations on plans for reform, including:
- Children’s social care: Stable Homes, Built on Love
- implementation of the Children’s Social Care National Framework and Dashboard
- proposals for national rules on the use of child and family agency social workers
Following the formation of a National Implementation Board, which will advise on government reforms to children’s social care, delegates discussed what will be needed for the review recommendations to be effectively implemented, looking at:
- support to ensure that there is sufficient system capacity and funding in place, including:
- allocation of an experienced social worker to a case once concerns have been raised
- setting up a bespoke child protection pathway for each child
- the way forward for strengthening multi-agency working, and priorities for Local Safeguarding Partnerships in coordinating a joined-up approach to child protection, including:
- improving response times across agencies
- reducing the number of services working in silos
- how children’s service departments can utilise resources and collaborate effectively
Overall, sessions in the agenda focused on:
- the future for child protection in England: the way forward for implementing review recommendations - priorities for the National Implementation Board - improving practice - adapting to a national framework
- coordinating local and national priorities: system funding and capacity - embedding evidence-based frameworks - instilling quality and standards - effective management and leadership
- supporting children and families: implementing a trauma-informed response - assessing individual needs and outcomes - responding to the voices of children and young people
- workforce recruitment and retention: priorities for early career support - providing CPD and opportunities for specialisation - addressing secondary trauma and caseload burden on staff
- multi-agency working: implementing appropriate communication channels for local partners - coordinating interventions - best practice in data-sharing
- review implementation: incorporating Multi-Agency Child Protection Units in all local authorities - National Multi-Agency Practice Standards - use of technology to enhance data-sharing
We are pleased to have been able to include keynote addresses from Dr Peter Sidebotham, Emeritus Professor of Child Health, Warwick Medical School; and Member, Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel; Lisa Hackett, Chief Social Worker, Frontline; and Dave Callow, Chair, Social Workers Union.
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from DfE; DHSC; HMCTS; HMPPS; Home Office; ICO; Ofcom; Ofsted; YCS; and The Scottish Government - as well as parliamentary pass-holders from The House of Commons.