In order to avoid future lost opportunities that could aid enhancement of the child protection system in England, and given the existing evidence of the reluctance, at times, not to conduct SCRs or publish those that have been conducted, we call for your department – together with the Serious Case Review Panel – to open a dialogue into mandating an SCR process that has outcome value for all parties.
There is good evidence for the efficacy of advocacy to support victims of violence and abuse. VCF specialises in using advocacy in child protection work, to bring about closer links between those agencies funded by the public purse – to protect and safeguard our children – and children and young people themselves, their parents and the community, with a view to increasing public trust and co-operation in all efforts to safeguard children better and earlier.
In the face of current pressures on the safeguarding children system in the UK, government prioritisation of child protection needs a step-change in understanding of the issues and in ways of changing or fine-tuning the system. For too many years, the safeguarding and protection of children in the UK has seen tragic deaths that mirror Victoria Climbié which could have been avoided.
VCF offers an independent view of the current challenges within child protection, supported by practitioners from across the sector, as well as children and families with whom we work. We believe this combined view presents a compelling picture for the government vis-à-vis the child agenda.
As a national organisation with an advisory role on child protection strategy and policy, we request a meeting with you to further discuss the current situation.
Mor Dioum, VCF Co-Founder and Director
• Voices from the front line: Supporting our social workers in the delivery of quality services to children – a research paper by the Victoria Climbié Foundation and HCL Social Care to explore the current social work system and its ability to achieve the expectations of the Children and Families Act 2014;
• Essential Courtroom Skills for child protection social workers; 2-day training course from the Victoria Climbié Foundation and HCL Social Care, equips social workers with the necessary skills, knowledge and procedures to carry out their roles lawfully, effectively and with peace of mind;
• Protecting the rights of children across culture and faith is the protocol that VCF uses to ensure that the cultural needs of BME families are addressed within safeguarding policies and practices, nationally;
• ‘Multilingualism and misunderstandings for children in care’- a roundtable debate, supported by Mothertongue, to be held at Parliament on 14 October 2014. Craig Whittaker, MP for Calder Valley will host this event which will seek to take forward actions and working model for collaborative practice between statutory agencies and interpreting organisations;
• VCF to lead on National Working Group on Child Abuse linked to Faith or Belief supported by representatives from statutory, voluntary, community and faith, including individuals with specialist expertise. VCF Director, Mor Dioum appointed Chair, June 2014;
• The Role of the Media within Child Protection was explored at the Kristy Bamu Memorial Lecture held in February 2013. VCF supported family victims and witnesses and successfully worked with the media to aid their understanding of witchcraft and beliefs in general;
• Evaluative ‘Pilot Study’; by Centre for Social Work Research, articulating the work of VCF to improve the experiences of children and families within child protection through an evaluative overview of individual cases. VCF casework plays an important part of the Foundation’s work, providing independent advocacy advice and support to families involved with children’s services.
Our Vision; By the end of 2015, VCF will have established a National Centre of Excellence to monitor and respond to Government policies by providing an independent environment to learn, research, share and develop best practice for the rights and protection of children, while still providing legal advice, advocacy and training.