An update from the Chair of Merton's Safeguarding Children Board
As part of our continuous improvement approach the Merton Safeguarding Children Board (MSCB) has identified some key development priorities for 2016/17; these have now been extended to through to 2019.
These also link with our business as usual work plan undertaken by the MSCB and its sub groups. The Board continues to seek to improve its links to practitioners and their managers as part of our quality assurance processes to inform service improvement and development as well as maintaining our strong focus on the Voice of the Child/Young person. Addressing the incidence and impact of neglect is a cross-cutting theme that runs across the work of the Board and each of our priorities.
Our Priorities for 2017-2019 are:
Think Family – to support children and adults in our most vulnerable families to reduce risk and ensure improved outcomes.
Evidence from local and national research tells us that our most vulnerable parents/families are those who
- Experience poor mental health.
- Struggle with substance misuse.
- Are affected by domestic abuse.
- Parents with learning difficulties that may affect their ability to respond to the changing needs of their children.
It is important that professionals understand the underlying causes of issues like neglect and other forms of abuse and offer effective support early before these problems get worse.
In order to support our work on our Think Family priority there will be an appointment of a Think Family Coordinator, who will coordinate the work that is being done across adult and children’s services in order to ensure that this work is joined-up and that family (children and adults) receive a seamless delivery of services. We will also be launching a suite of protocols (including Mental Health, Parental Substance Misuse, Parents with Learning Disabilities and Learning Difficulties); these protocols should give practitioners guidance and outline the joint multi-agency approach to supporting families in Merton.
Supporting Vulnerable Adolescents
We know that, for some young people, adolescence is a time of particular vulnerability. We are determined to support adolescents who are at risk of
- Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).
- Children who go missing from home/school/care.
- Children and young people who are at risk radicalisation and violent extremism.
- Children at risk of serious youth violence and gangs.
- Self-harm and poor mental health.
Early Help – To develop an early help system that is responsive and effectively prevents escalation of concerns.
With changes in local providers and agencies and with changing levels of resources available we need to ensure our approach to Early Help continues to be fit for purpose. We know that timely and purposeful help or intervention at all stages of a child or young person’s journey is the most effective way improving impact and outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families. As part of our review we are looking at our service offer at all levels of the model and engaging partners in discussion on thresholds, case work approaches and models of intervention. A broad multi-agency coalition of partners met to review the Merton Child and Young Person Well Being Model between October 2016 and March 2017. As part of this review it was agreed that the model will now be known as the Merton Child, Young Person and Family Well-being Model, clearly reflecting our commitment to Think Family. This group made the following recommendations
Recommendation 1: MSCB and Children’s Trust reaffirm the MSCB and Children values that underpin our approach.
Recommendation 2: That Information presented as part of the review of the Merton Children and Young Person Model be presented in the MSCB’s annual report to reflect the breadth and depth of the work being done with children and families in Merton
Recommendation 3: That the revised visual representation of the CT and MSCB the model is adopted.
Recommendation 4: That the Children’s Trust and MSCB endorse Merton’s Practice Model including the Signs of Safety as our local approach beyond children’s social care.
The next step is that a smaller group map out the work arising from the recommendations coming out of the review and agree which MSCB Sub Group or Children’s Trust Board will oversee the development and implementation of appropriate action plans.
For more information please contact the MSCB Business Manager firstname.lastname@example.org.