Technology, domestic abuse and social work standards were this year's conference top takeaways for Sherry Malik
The National Children and Adult Services Conference (NCAS) in Manchester was lively as ever this week. The conference brings together colleagues from across social care services, children protection and health sectors.
Attending NCAS for the first time as NSPCC's director of children's services, it was a fantastic opportunity to spread the word about some of the work we're doing to build an evidence base about child protection – how best to prevent abuse and protect children from harm.
The changing face of social services
Social services have seen many changes since I went to my first NCAS conference in 1997. Changes I've been reflecting on include:
- community work - children and adult services are once again being brought together by many local authorities, which provides a great platform to work with whole communities
- child sexual exploitation has existed for many years but I'm pleased that there is a national focus on this problem. Inquiries show that young people were treated as 'prostitutes' responsible for their own actions, rather than focussing on the adult criminals exploiting them. I hope the recent inquiries will ensure that we focus on safeguarding the childhood of children.
- integrated care is absolutely the way forward but I still see that its emphasis is on adult services and health – there's work to do to ensure we don't lose the focus on children's commissioning within Health and Well Being Boards.
From the conference itself, I've got to say, I miss the Thursday night dinners! Although great to see social care curry getting people together on Wednesday, and I'm sorry I missed this year's Guardian Jobs charity pub quiz.