Professor help to families who do not

February 27, 2019 Young People

Professor Munro’s recommendations to reform the child protection system were:
• The Government should remove the specific statutory requirement on local authorities for completing assessments within often artificial set timescales, so that professionals can give equal weight to helping children, young people, and families, as well as assessing their problems.
• Local services that work with children and families should be freed from unhelpful government targets, national IT systems and nationally prescribed ways of working. They should be free to re-design services that are informed by research and feedback from children and families, and that pay more attention to the impact on children’s safety and welfare.
• A change of approach to Serious Case Reviews (SCRs), learning from the approach taken in sectors such as aviation and healthcare. There should be a stronger focus on understanding the underlying issues that made professionals behave the way they did and what prevented them from being able properly to help and protect children. The current system is too focused on what happened, not why.
• The introduction of a duty on all local services to coordinate an early offer of help to families who do not meet the criteria for social care services, to address problems before they escalate to child protection issues.
• Ofsted inspections of children’s services should add more weight to feedback from children and families, directly observe social workers’ interaction with children and families, as they do when inspecting schools, and pay more attention to whether children have benefited from the help given.
• Experienced social workers should be kept on the frontline even when they become managers so that their experience and skills are not lost. The expertise and status of the social work profession should be improved with continual professional development that focuses on the skills that are needed in child protection.
• Each local authority should designate a Principal Child and Family Social Worker to report the views and experiences of the front line to all levels of management. At national level, a Chief Social Worker would be established to advise the Government on social work practice.

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