Engaging children, families and communities in Dorset – a community partnership approach

Engaging children, families and communities in Dorset – a community partnership approach

VCF – The Victoria Climbié Foundation UK has signed a collaborative agreement with local community group, Unity in Vision, to deliver community and family engagement in Dorset.

With the growing demand for children’s services and advocacy, particularly within the BME community where many families are at risk of multiple disadvantages, VCF has reached a Memorandum of Cooperation with Unity in Vision regarding cooperation in the supervision and oversight of VCF’s family and community engagement models within Dorset.

The agreement encompasses an approach to address the growing challenge shrinking statutory services face in trying to engage with BME families and communities to help prevent any escalation of neglect and harm to children. The key objective of the community and family engagement models is in prevention alongside minimising the cost to the public purse when safeguarding interventions are required.

Working with Unity in Vision in the application of the VCF community and family engagement models in Dorset will:

  • ensure that members of the BME community are aware of their child safeguarding responsibilities signposting members in need of statutory services
  • promote understanding of statutory roles and functions with child safeguarding responsibiliies
  • assist and support children and families within resources available who have come into contact with relevant authorities with safeguarding responsibilities
  • support and assist BME families to access relevant services in regard to their children’s health and wellbeing
  • work with statutory agencies with safeguarding responsibilities and local authorities to identify the needs of the BME community in the best interests of children

The work of VCF and its relationship with Unity in Vision offers a community perspective around issues of engaging with children and families at home, or at school. Through extensive outreach work within the community, we have identified key issues in relation to BME communities in Dorset, and the need for advocacy support across Dorset, we believe, has been demonstrated.

In formalising an arrangement that has advised and assisted families from various BME backgrounds, and provided advocacy support to 14 families to-date, VCF is clear of the benefits to the local community.

According to Mor Dioum, the organisation’s Co-Founder and Director, “VCF offers local authorities an innovative and practical community-led approach that allows BME communities to better safeguard their children in the context of the law, policies and regulations in place to combat child abuse.”

The VCF family and community engagement models offer a framework of consultation, engagement and collaboration to achieve local authority community objectives, and play a key role in supporting BME families as well as advocating for greater family engagement by professionals. They do not seek to replicate the work of professional staff within local authorities, rather to complement their work by carrying out the VCF family and community engagement models to work alongside local authority professionals and services in the best interest of the child, and the public purse.

VCF will offer these services to other local authorities during the course of this initiative in Dorset as new resource models and mixes are established, with the intention to share learning and spread of best practice with use of VCF family and community engagement models particularly in early stage intervention and ultimately from implementation elsewhere.


Image: Cake by Janna Kovacks

Press Release: VCF and Unity in Vision seek to address the challenge of austerity on BME Children Safeguarding Services within Dorset


See also:

Engaging children and families; the role of advocacy in child protection – a pilot study




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