Cumbria LSCB Newsletter - Child Neglect

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Child Neglect

child neglect

This newsletter on Child Neglect aims to update you on our progress regarding the implementation of the LSCB Neglect Strategy.

The LSCB wants to ensure that we are able to identify children and young people, whose needs may be neglected by their care givers, at the earliest point so that appropriate services can be provided to address this and prevent the need for statutory intervention.

With that in mind, it has been agreed that the Graded Care Profile Tool must be used for all children on CP Plans for neglect.

The LSCB will be holding additional GCP training sessions around the County in January 2018 to ensure that practitioners understand the impact of child neglect can identify and respond appropriately.

GCP training dates

Neglect Pratice Champions

Collaboration amongst practitioners from all agencies is vital to ensure the early recognition and identification of the signs and symptoms of neglect. With this in mind the LSCB would like you to become a Neglect Practice Champion for your agency. We want to establish a network to improve community and agency responses to Child Neglect.

The LSCB will hold one network event a year and our launch event will be on 11th December. As a neglect practice champion you can do as little or as much as your role will allow you to do. Examples include; raise awareness of neglect to your team and throughout your organisation, receive and disseminate information regarding Neglect; promote the use of the Graded Care Profile tool. We have developed a role profile.

We want people who feel passionate about addressing the issue of neglect in Cumbria and improving practice across the LSCB partnership in relation to this area.

If you would like to become a Neglect Practice Champion email the LSCB office

The Graded Care Profile

All professionals can play their part in identifying and responding to neglect. The use of the graded care profile isn’t only relevant to those who will be taking a lead role in its completion when children are in need or on a child protection plan.  Here are some of the ways that the graded care profile can inform multi agency work and responses to neglect. 

Reflection: Perhaps you are a police officer or a universal health visitor and have visited a family’s home. Some things don’t feel right. You can return from the visit and use the graded care profile to reflect on your observations and consider whether the grade descriptions reassure or help you to identify an area of concern. Managers from across the professions can use the graded care profile to support staff to reflect on what has been seen, why it is happening and what (if anything) needs to change.

Prevention:  Professionals in Cumbria have highlighted that some of the young mothers they work with have experienced neglectful care themselves as children and don’t have confidence in knowing what good parenting looks like. The graded care profile can be used in positive and empowering ways to work alongside mothers and their partners to support them to develop their parenting skills and knowledge.

Early Help: We know that early responses to emerging signs of neglect are better than waiting until something is considered ‘persistent’ or ‘serious’ enough to warrant attention. The graded care profile can support parents and practitioners identify and focus in on a particular area of care that can be usefully addressed; perhaps around children’s safety and supervision or supporting a parent’s engagement with their child.

Targeted: Where there are concerns about neglect, for example, a child who has been identified as being in need or is on a child protection plan, then the full use of the graded care profile is indicated. If you are the lead professional completing the tool with a family, then you need the support of others to accurately grade areas of care and to work collaboratively with parents to make changes.  Observations and knowledge from other professionals including health visitors, education staff, GPs, dentists etc. will all help to build up a more holistic picture. Everyone has a part to play. 

Stuck: There are families where work has got stuck. Perhaps the graded care profile was completed a couple of years ago and things have fluctuated ever since with a period of improvement followed by raised concern. Over time, practitioners can become desensitised to home conditions and the impact of neglectful care on children. The work can lack focus and parents are not clear about what needs to change. Optimism about one area of care can result in other concerning aspects being overlooked. This may well be the time to revisit the graded care profile with a family and to ensure that the child remains the subject rather than the object of neglect. 

Our website has more information on the Graded Care Profile

What do Serious Case Reviews tell us about child neglect?

Neglected children may not speak out or tell anyone what is happening. They may hide and minimise the abuse they are suffering; they may need to keep quiet to survive. Learning from published case reviews highlights that professionals from all agencies must be able to;

  • Recognise the different types of neglect
  • Take timely action to safeguarding children
  • Understand the impact of cumulative and long term effects of neglect

Many SCR’s show that there are missed opportunities, professionals may individually have concerns about a neglected child, but too frequently these concerns do not trigger effective action. Ensure that your safeguarding knowledge is up to date.