Thriving Families Defining, detecting and tackling child neglect
Thriving Families can help professionals provide the right support for families where neglect could be an issue. We know it can be hard to recognise neglect, or understand how to prevent it from happening but we can help.
Identifying and acting on child neglect
Neglect is the biggest reason for child protection authorities to become involved in family life. Yet, it isn't easy to detect because it can happen for many underlying reasons.
As it's often not about identifying a one-off incident but instead an accumulation of incidents over time, it can be difficult for professionals working with children to identify the point when they should be making a referral or escalating action.
Without the appropriate assessment and intervention, neglect can seriously affect the physical, social and emotional development of children from birth onwards.
Neglect: the local picture
Thriving Families is working in Bradford to:
- increase awareness of neglect within agencies and organisations, for example in social care or health
- make it easier for early help providers, such as parenting organisations, to work with families to address the causes of neglect
- provide evidence-based assessments and interventions which we know work to help children who are neglected
- reduce the number of children and families who are referred again to social services
- support over-stretched statutory services such as in social care, health and education
In Bradford the proportion of child protection plans due to neglect is
Explanation: In 2014/15 48% of child protection plans in Bradford were due to neglect – compared to 45% in England.
Thriving Families is working in Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan to identify neglect at an earlier stage to:
- prevent the potential for continued harm
- reduce the number of children reaching the threshold for child protection intervention – ie being placed on the child protection register
Neglect is a common issue particularly in Cardiff where the proportion of children on the child protection register due to neglect is
Explanation: In 2014/15 41% of children on child protection registers in Cardiff and 39% in Vale of Glamorgan are on them due to neglect – compared to 40% in Wales.
Thriving Families is working in Grimsby and North East Lincolnshire to:
- significantly reduce the prevalence and impact of neglect upon children and young people
- provide early help to prevent neglect becoming more serious through early recognition, robust assessment and evidenced-based interventions
- find out and record what works, so we can help more children and families
In North East Lincolnshire the proportion of child protection plans due to neglect is
Explanation: In 2014/15 67% of children are subject to a child protection plan in North East Lincolnshire are on a plan due to neglect, compared to 45% in England.
Thriving Families is working in Newcastle and North Tyneside to:
- help the public and professionals identify and respond to neglect at the earliest stage
- ensure vulnerable groups are measurably thriving – these groups can include children living with parents seeking asylum and refugees, teenage parents, parents affected by mental health and emotional well-being issues, parents affected by drug and alcohol misuse, parents affected by domestic abuse and parents with learning disabilities
- reduce the number of children with child protection plans for neglect – including those with 2 or more
- reduce the length of time children and young people have child protection plans for neglect
Neglect is a common issue particularly in North Tyneside where the proportion of children on the child protection register due to neglect is
Explanation: In 2014/15 37% of children subject to child protection plans in Newcastle were due to neglect, and 56% in North Tyneside were due to neglect – compared to 45% average in England.
Thriving Families is working in Swansea to:
- provide a targeted, flexible, integrated approach to tackling neglect through delivering bespoke assessments and evidence-based interventions.
- collaborate directly with families to provide assessment and services, giving them every opportunity to effect change and thereby ensure the best possible outcomes for children and young people
Neglect is a common issue particularly in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot where the proportion of children on the child protection register due to neglect is
Explanation: In 2014/15 46% of children on child protection registers in Swansea, 43% in Neath Port Talbot, 28% in Bidgend and 29% in Carmarthenshire are on them due to neglect – compared to 40% in Wales.
How Thriving Families works
We've built on extensive experience and research to develop a consistent approach to child neglect. We make sure families receive the right support at the right time by working with them at every step of their journey - from assessing neglect through to finding the right services to help prevent and address it.
When a family is referred to us, we work with them in 2 key stages: assessing neglect and finding the right services to help.
We carry out an assessment which is made-to-measure for the needs of each family. This helps answer 4 questions about the type, scale, impact and reason behind neglect.
The assessment shows the current or potential impact of neglect on the child's physical and emotional development so that we can provide them with the most appropriate support. And it helps parents understand the concerns and what they can do.
We use a range of tools including the North Carolina Family Assessment Scale to measure the impact and any changes in the level of neglect.
Bespoke assessment helps practitioners and families work together to improve:
- the daily lives of children
- parenting capacity (and reduce pressure) by ensuring they access the most appropriate service
- access to help through local services
Services for children and families
Thriving Families incorporates a range of services such as:
- change services: helping parents, carers with parenting
- existing local services: these are complementary services, offered by the NSPCC or partner organisations, that can help families experiencing neglect
- new services: in partnership with local agencies we continue to identify critical gaps in current local support for families; in time, we aim to deliver new services, where possible, in collaboration with others
Helping mums, dads and carers with parenting
Practical support for parents of children aged 5 or under to help them develop parenting skills and focus on the needs of their child.
Positive Parenting Programme (Triple P)
Helping parents to manage their moods, improve communication and increase their confidence and parenting skills.
Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)
Supports parents in understanding and responding to their children's needs. Uses a filmed clip and strengths-based model.
Existing services in your area
In Bradford, there is a range of existing local services that can help prevent and address neglect. For example, our partners deliver services such as Families First. And the local authority has 3 family centres, a family intervention project and a family outreach team.
Voluntary organisations deliver a range of additional services for particular needs within a diverse community – eg for parents of children with autism or Down's syndrome – or for particular minority ethnic communities.
Our Bradford service centre offers:
Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan LSCB has developed a neglect toolkit for all professionals, which is designed for very early identification.
Our Cardiff service centre offers:
Family Environment: Drug Using Parents (FEDUP)
Caring Dads: Safer Children
Assessing the Risk, Protecting the Child
Protect and Respect
Families can access services such as:
- bumps to babies
- baby massage
- Strengthening Families Programme
- PAMS assessment (for parents with learning disabilities)
- Family Links Nurturing Programme
Our Grimsby service centre offers:
Family Environment: Drug Using Parents (FEDUP)
Face to Face
A range of services is available in Newcastle, including:
- Troubled Families
- early intervention services
- the Family Intervention Project (FIP) team
- children's centre services
- parenting programmes, provided by a range of voluntary organisations alongside those delivered by statutory services
Our Newcastle service centre offers:
There is a range of services available in Swansea, such as:
- Flying Start, Sure Start – aimed at younger children
- domestic violence services – Freedom Programme, Angry Man, counselling for children
- parenting support initiatives, working with families in crises
- Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS) – aimed at families where substance misuse, alcohol and domestic violence are a feature
- Connecting Families programme for highly complex families who are at risk of significant harm
- Invisible Walls for offenders and their families who need systemic community support
- Edge of Care, Option 2 – limited support focused at adolescence to prevent the number of adolescents being accommodated
- the Strengthening Families model – used throughout the local authority areas that we cover and mainly focuses on families where substance misuse is an issue
- Action for Children provide a number of parenting services locally with focus on children in need and primarily for the 5–12 years age range
- local CAMHS services are only able to work with children with significant diagnosed mental health issues
Our Swansea service centre offers:
Face to Face
Advice and resources for professionals
Research and resources on child neglect
Get child protection research, leaflets, guidance, evaluations and safeguarding resources on neglect.
Impact and evidence hub
Child protection in the UK
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