The NSPCC is running four services to support looked after children:
This service seeks to increase access to independent help and emotional support for all looked after children. Some of this will be achieved by targeting ChildLine at children in care, making them aware of the tailored support and advice the service can offer.
We will also be offering a direct, face to face, service that provides short-term support that adopts a solution-focused approach. Young people can refer themselves into this service, or be referred to us by other professionals.
The Face to Face service has been developed based on young people telling the NSPCC that they wanted a service that could be accessed quickly, on their terms and that was confidential.
This service aims to reduce the risks faced by children in care by providing an NSPCC advocacy service. The service has been developed following an in depth analysis of advocacy services from across the UK. Alongside helping to strengthen the voice of looked after children, this service will examine the role that advocacy has in improving the safeguarding of children in care; both in terms of individual cases and how information from advocacy can be used to improve child protection policy and practice.
This service uses a new framework, developed in conjunction with the Centre for Children and Family Research at Loughborough University, to identify how decisions about whether or not reunification is in a child's best interest can be improved. This includes developing clearer evidence based assessments for deciding when it is not in the child's best interests to return home.
Where it is agreed that returning home is in the child's best interests, the information from the assessment will be used to identify the support that is needed by the child and the family to prepare for a successful return home, and to maintain a successful return once the child is back with their family. It will also be used to develop an agreement with the child's parents, setting out the changes they must demonstrate before the child is returned home.
It can be difficult for courts to decide who children should stay with when they have been abused or neglected by their parents.
Children can often end up moving in and out care, and the family home. This constant disruption, on top of previous abuse and neglect, can be extremely damaging.
The New Orleans Intervention Model – first developed in the USA – helps professionals consider whether a child should stay with their birth family or enter care.
The service is being delivered across the UK, but will begin a trial in Glasgow where social workers will work with 350 abused and neglected children. Their assessments will inform family court decisions in England and Wales – and children’s hearings in Scotland – about where to place children.