Making evidence-based decisions for neglected children
Helping social workers intervene and make the right decisions for children in complex neglect cases
We will run a trial in a number of areas in England, Wales and Scotland to work alongside local authority social workers to make better and more timely decisions in cases of child neglect.
Neglect is the most common form of maltreatment suffered by children in the UK, yet social workers are often confused about how to intervene.
Cases can drift while social workers consider the best course of action, and neglected children often remain at home without proper support or decisive intervention.
A Community Care professional's survey showed that social workers felt that less than 1 in 10 were confident of timely action in cases of child neglect.
Using a new tool to identify neglect
Working alongside the local authority social workers, NSPCC social workers will visit neglected children in their homes and assess parents' ability to look after their children using the North Carolina Family Assessment Scale.
Developed in the USA, this tool has been shown to improve the way social workers interact with families, how they gather and analyse information, and how they make decisions.
The workers will see families at least three times to decide what needs to be done to keep the children safe. Their assessment will be used to lay out a plan for the family, to enable their children to stay with them safely.
If the case has not been closed, the social workers will review in three months what progress the parents have made and decide whether the children are safe from neglect at home.
Applying an established method to UK services
We believe this will be a valuable tool to help social workers make effective decisions in cases of child neglect in the UK.
It does not require lengthy reports, potentially freeing social workers up to spend more time with children and families.
The scale has been used successfully by over 500 agencies in the USA, Canada and Australia. It will be the first time it has been fully been tested in the UK.
Find out more about our work in this area
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