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“After two years of awaiting  publication of the Whyte report on mistreatment of athletes within the sport of gymnastics, the experience of brave gymnasts who responded to the call for evidence makes for distressing reading. A culture of silencing participants clearly created an environment conducive to sustained abuse placing gymnasts at huge risk in what should have been a place of expression and development. The AoCPP sincerely hopes that the change identified as occurring within British Gymnastics under the leadership of Sarah Powell as Chief Executive continues under the promise that BG ‘will not shy away from doing what is needed’.

The AoCPP’s Safeguarding in Sport Special Interest Group has now been launched and offers a professional space for those in Sport Leadership and Sport Safeguarding, as well as those within sports-based academia and research, to come together to debate reports such as these, to formulate collective responses and to explore research and practice together.”

Today's episode is a Child Abuse Review Special where we hear from researchers, academics and practitioners who've published articles in Child Abuse Review, as well as the editorial team behind the journal.

In this episode Helen Wilson, Operations Manager at the Association of Child Protection Professionals, talks to Prof Kish Bhatti-Sinclair and Dr Lisa Bunting about their first 7 months as Co-editors, what to expect in the future, and how to get involved with the journal.

Listen below or via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.

Professor Kish Bhatti-Sinclair is Head of Social Work and Social Care at the University of Chichester. She is known for her work on social work, race and racism and is particularly interested in ethnically sensitive research methodologies and theories, such as modern racism, which test discriminatory attitudes and behaviours.

Kish has worked on commissioned evaluation projects which have enabled her to make recommendations directly to child protection agencies and has led on a number of publications which have questioned professional ideologies and beliefs, responses to child abuse within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic families, cultural racism, anti-Muslim racism and Islamophobia.

Dr Lisa Bunting is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Queen’s University, Belfast. Lisa has worked in the field of child welfare and child protection research for the past two decades and has specific interests in the impact of childhood adversity and the development of trauma informed children’s services. She has recently led on the first national prevalence survey of mental health problems and trauma exposure among Northern Ireland youth and, together with colleagues at Queen’s, has conducted a rapid evidence review of system-wide trauma informed care implementation to inform the regional roll-out of the NI Safeguarding Board’s Trauma Informed Initiative. She is currently working on analysis of children’s social care data to identify trends in the relationship between area level deprivation, involvement with child protection social work, and patterns of repeated service use over time.

...

We started this podcast at the beginning of lockdown to support professionals continuing to work with vulnerable children, and families, under unprecedented circumstances. 

With the goal of alleviating the pressure child protection professionals are under, we’ve brought together leading experts within research and practice to impart their knowledge of the latest issues in child protection and safeguarding.

Eighteen months and thousands of downloads later, we want to hear from YOU about what you would like to hear in upcoming episodes.

Whether it’s a particular topic you want discussed, or a particular person you want invited on the show. We want to ensure that the podcast reflects what you need.

So feel free to email us at hello@childprotectionprofessionals.org.uk with any suggestions. 

And if you’ve been enjoying listening to this podcast - please rate, review and subscribe as it helps other child protection and adult safeguarding professionals find us.

...

Find us at:

childprotectionprofessionals.org.uk

Twitter: @AoCPPTweet

Facebook: The Association of Child Protection Professionals

Email: hello@childprotectionprofessionals.org.uk

Find out more about Child Abuse Review here: https://www.childprotectionprofessionals.org.uk/child-abuse-review/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10990852

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Music by Alexander King

The Association of Child Protection Professionals (AoCPP) have been carefully considering the contents of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care’s final report. We intend to provide a more comprehensive response after we have reflected on the report and engaged in broader consultation with our members. This position statement sets out our initial thoughts.

The publication of the review gives a real opportunity to bring about much needed change for children and families within the social care system. It is positive that young people and the care experienced have been central to the review, as being in receipt of child protection and/or care services can have lifelong consequences. Hearing and understanding lived experiences is crucial to inform positive change. On this basis we would have welcomed more emphasis on learning from the experience of children’s social care practitioners who deliver care and protection to thousands of children every day.

We agree with and support several aspects of the report’s findings, including the acknowledgement of the pressures that child protection and care services are under with record numbers of referrals, increasing indicators of need (including soaring levels of poverty) and lack of resources. These pressures often mean that practitioners have less than the optimal amount of time needed to build relationships with and support vulnerable children and their families. It is not surprising that several of the testimonies quoted articulate a poor lived experience of children’s social care, and this remains one of the most compelling arguments for systemic reform.

We agree with the call for an ‘end to profiteering’ within the care system and for the need for a substantive increase in funding.  Further analysis is needed to determine whether the amounts proposed are sufficient to compensate for the sustained reductions in funding we have seen.

We support the call for better clarification from Ofsted as to what ‘child focussed’ practice entails in the context of its inspection framework. We also support the call to reform the cumbersome ICT systems which our members tell us are getting in the way of spending direct time with children.

We applaud the emphasis on recognising the high levels of skill and expertise required in child protection decision-making. This contrasts with the pervading narrative that child protection can be reduced down to ‘common sense’.

We have some concerns about the recommendations for the development of an ‘Expert Child Protection Practitioner’ role, and this will need further consideration to understand the detail and implications for multi-agency safeguarding practice.

We are also concerned at the proposal to abolish the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO). This role has been a key stable and consistent figure in the lives of children who enter the social care system, and is crucial to ensuring that their views are heard and that those providing their care are held to account. There is evidence that IROs are not able to spend satisfactory time with children because of systemic issues including the large numbers of children that they are responsible for and their sense of being ‘overstretched’, rather than because of flaws in the role itself.

We would also like to raise questions about the assumption within the report that being ‘in care’ means living away from the family home. This appears to exclude those children who are subject to a Care Order whilst living at home which is an increasingly common safeguarding approach in some parts of the country. This brings a unique set of challenges that need further consideration.

The report acknowledges the funding pressures that services are under and the increasing level of need within society. There is little acknowledgement of how preventative and support services have been hollowed out by funding reductions over the previous decade which has pushed more children and their families into crisis. We need further analysis about whether the proposed resource increase for preventative services is adequate to address this structural need.

The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care has provided a robust overview of the children’s social care system and many of the problems it faces. The need for reform is unequivocal.

The review will ultimately be judged on whether its recommendations for reform are deemed to be realistic and achievable. We support the review’s call for a White Paper outlining how the Government intend to take the recommendations forward, and for the opportunity to engage in detailed discussions to ensure that we have the best outcome for children and their families.

In the interim, we agree with the Education Secretary’s assessment that this should be ‘the start of a journey to change’ and the Children’s Commissioner for England’s assertion that ‘we must not underestimate the need to act’ as ‘so many children’s lives and futures are at stake’.

In today's episode Penny Earney, Director of the Association of Child Protection Professionals introduces our Special Interest Group (SIG) focusing on Children and Young People in Care and Care Experienced. Wendy is joined by the SIG Chair Penny Earney, former Designated Nurse for Looked After Children and Care Leavers andl the Chair of the AoCPP’s Children and Young People in Care and Care Experienced SIG, is joined by Rebekah Pierre to discuss her lived experience of unregulated placements and what needs to change.

Listen below or via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.

And if you enjoyed this episode, why not come to our Children and Young People in Care and Care Experienced SIG meeting where we will be exploring this discussion with Rebekah further. More details here.

Rebekah Pierre is a care-experienced social worker and author, who currently works for the British Association of Social Workers. She has written extensively about the care system, featuring in The Guardian, The Independent, Radio 4 & others. Rebekah's lived experience is central to her campaign work; her peer-reviewed journal, 'Revisiting Diary Entries from Care: An Exposition of the Challenges of Unregulated Placement Settings', examines her childhood diary extracts from an autoethnographic perspective, linking lived experience to wider policy failures. She represented the #KeepCaringto18 campaign at Downing Street earlier this year and is passionate about equality of care for all children. Follow Rebekah at @RebekahPierre92 on Twitter.

Penny Earney has experience of working with families and vulnerable children, both clinically and strategically within health, over the last 40 years building a wealth of expertise, competencies, knowledge and skills.

Her experience of working strategically as a NHS Designated Nurse, has developed a passion and focus to be able to scrutinise quality assurance within the constant challenging and changing landscape of complex vulnerability for children and families. Her drive to actively seek the voice of children within the care system and care experience young people, hear what they were saying and asking, resulted in a successful business case being awarded 7K to commission health provision required to improve and sustain health outcomes and experiences of looked after children and care leavers within Dorset.

Having retired from her substantive NHS role in December 2020, she is now working as an independent specialist health practitioner, continuing her passion for improving and sustaining effective service delivery to support vulnerable children and families.

...

We started this podcast at the beginning of lockdown to support professionals continuing to work with vulnerable children, and families, under unprecedented circumstances. 

With the goal of alleviating the pressure professionals are under, we’ve brought together leading experts within research and practice share their knowledge of the latest issues in child protection and adult safeguarding.

Two years later, we want to hear from YOU about what you would like to hear in upcoming episodes.

Whether it’s a particular topic you want discussed, or a particular person you want invited on the show. We want to ensure that the podcast reflects what you need.

So feel free to email us at hello@childprotectionprofessionals.org.uk with any suggestions. 

And if you’ve been enjoying listening to this podcast - please rate, review and subscribe as it helps other child protection professionals find us.

...

Find us at:

childprotectionprofessionals.org.uk

Twitter: @AoCPPTweet

Facebook: The Association of Child Protection Professionals

Email: hello@childprotectionprofessionals.org.uk

...

Music by Alexander King

The AoCPP welcomes the recent call by the Children's Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, to ban the corporal punishment of children in England following the introduction of bans in Wales and Scotland.

The physical punishment of children is both ineffective and potentially harmful to their health and development.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has definitively stated that physical punishment is a form of violence that violates children’s rights to protection, dignity, and physical security.

The AoCPP believes that parents and carers need to be supported to enable them to raise their children in non-abusive, nurturing and healthy ways and that a ban on physical punishment gives a clear signal that such an approach is no longer acceptable.

In today's episode Wendy Thorogood, Director of the Association of Child Protection Professionals introduces our Special Interest Group (SIG) focusing on Children and Young People in Care and Care Experienced. Wendy is joined by the SIG Chair Penny Earney.

Listen below or via Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Penny Earney has experience of working with families and vulnerable children, both clinically and strategically within health, over the last 40 years building a wealth of expertise, competencies, knowledge and skills.

Her experience of working strategically as a NHS Designated Nurse, has developed a passion and focus to be able to scrutinise quality assurance within the constant challenging and changing landscape of complex vulnerability for children and families.She has worked within a wide cross over of specialities and disciplines within the NHS, social care, education and the wider voluntary and private sector. Her drive to actively seek the voice of children within the care system and care experience young people, hear what they were saying and asking, resulted in a successful business case being awarded 7K to commission health provision required to improve and sustain health outcomes and experiences of looked after children and care leavers within Dorset.

Having retired from her substantive NHS role in December 2020, she is now working as an independent specialist health practitioner, continuing her passion for improving and sustaining effective service delivery to support vulnerable children and families.

Wendy Thorogood is a retired Designated Nurse Consultant for children with NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) based in Dorchester.

Wendy delivered the national leadership programme for safeguarding for the Department of Health and worked directly with the NHS Confederation in relation to current changes ;providing assurance that current and future providers of services are compliant in relation to safeguarding national and local standards;working with Lead Commissioners and the performance team to develop agreed key performance indicators and safety metrics for providers;identifying and taking appropriate action on key risks and issues across commissioned services that may affect safeguarding of children, young people.

...

We started this podcast at the beginning of lockdown to support professionals continuing to work with vulnerable children, and families, under unprecedented circumstances. 

With the goal of alleviating the pressure child protection professionals are under, we’ve brought together leading experts within research and practice to impart their knowledge of the latest issues in child protection and safeguarding.

Two years and thousands of downloads later, we want to hear from YOU about what you would like to hear in upcoming episodes.

Whether it’s a particular topic you want discussed, or a particular person you want invited on the show. We want to ensure that the podcast reflects what you need.

So feel free to email us at hello@childprotectionprofessionals.org.uk with any suggestions. 

And if you’ve been enjoying listening to this podcast - please rate, review and subscribe as it helps other child protection professionals find us.

...

Find us at:

childprotectionprofessionals.org.uk

Twitter: @AoCPPTweet

Facebook: The Association of Child Protection Professionals

Email: hello@childprotectionprofessionals.org.uk

Find out more about Wendy at: https://www.childprotectionprofessionals.org.uk/wendy-thorogood

...

Music by Alexander King

The Association of Child Protection Professionals believes that no child should be subjected to such an ordeal as that experienced by Child Q.

School should be a safe place for children. All schools should reflect on the experience of Child Q and consider the harm that the adultification of Black children does through disproportionate responses and sanctions which results in the over-policing of Black children. This has a direct and negative impact on their emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing.

The City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership report identified that policy was not followed. Child Q was taken into a medical room to have an intimate body search which should only be reserved where there is suspicion of Class A drugs. The allegation was she smelled of cannabis and no drugs were found on her or in her belongings.

All children should feel safe in schools. Parents should feel reassured that their children will be kept safe and that the correct policies, practice, and procedures are followed. The intimate, traumatic and disproportionate search by police took place without a trusted adult present, which was contrary to agreed policy, and in the knowledge that she was menstruating.

The report concluded that the strip-search was unjustified and that racism ‘was likely to have been an influencing factor’.

The report found that the impact on Child Q was ‘profound’ and the repercussions ‘obvious and ongoing’. Family members described her as changing from a ‘happy-go-lucky girl to a timid recluse that hardly speaks’, who now self-harms and needs therapy. The AoCPP sincerely hopes that she and her family are receiving the professional support that clearly now need.

This report is important and should be widely read by those who are involved with the safeguarding of children. The AoCPP intends to hold an event for safeguarding professionals to consider how such incidents can be avoided in the future and to reflect on how the adultification of Black children impacts on their welfare.

Key Findings of the City and Hackney Safeguarding Report

Finding 1: The school was fully compliant with expected practice standards when responding to its concerns about Child Q smelling of cannabis and its subsequent search of Child Q’s coat, bag, scarf and shoes. This demonstrated good curiosity by involved staff and an alertness to potential indicators of risk.

Finding 2: The decision to strip search Child Q was insufficiently attuned to her best interests or right to privacy.

Finding 3: School staff deferred to the authority of the police on their arrival at school. They should have been more challenging to the police, seeking clarity about the actions they intended to take. All practitioners need to be mindful of their duties to uphold the best interests of children.

Finding 4: School staff had an insufficient focus on the safeguarding needs of Child Q when responding to concerns about suspected drug use.

Finding 5: The application of the law and policy governing the strip searching of children can be variable and open to interpretation.

Finding 6: The absence of any specific requirement to seek parental consent when strip searching children undermines the principles of parental responsibility and partnership working with parents to safeguard children.

Finding 7: The Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time appeared to have frustrated effective communication between school staff and the Safer Schools Officer.

Finding 8: Having considered the context of the incident, the views of those engaged in the review and the impact felt by Child Q and her family, racism (whether deliberate or not) was likely to have been an influencing factor in the decision to undertake a strip search.

Read the full report here.

The Journal  

Child Abuse Review is a multi-disciplinary journal, providing the latest research, training initiatives and practice developments for all those involved with child protection and safeguarding. The journal publishes six issues a year, including peer reviewed research, continuing professional development papers and an increasing number of Open Access articles.

The journal is supported by a dynamic and diverse international Editorial Board, including Associate Editors, a Statistical Editor and Editorial Office staff. It has an Impact Factor of 1.354 and has a successful and expanding social media presence on @Child_Abuse_Rev.

Continuing Professional Development

The Continuing Professional Development section invites 2,000 word submissions from practitioners, which highlight issues and implications for contemporary practice. Each submission is peer reviewed by two reviewers with expertise in the field and when accepted, becomes part of a contemporary forum for practice knowledge. Submitting authors can use accepted papers to evidence professional revalidation or accreditation.

The Continuing Professional Development section makes occasional Call for Papers on relevant themes, including a recent successful Call for reflective submissions on the impact of Covid 19.

Peer Reviewers

Due to expanding interest, the Continuing Professional Development section is seeking to expand its network of expert Reviewers. This is an unpaid role but one which provides an opportunity to read the latest research, evidence accreditation and expand CV activities. Reviewers receive a Reviewer Recognition Certificate from CAR every January, and are invited to record their reviewer activity as measurable research output via Publons, ensuring they receive credit each time they complete a peer review report. Reviewers who prove to be especially engaged will be considered for invitation to the Editorial Board.

Peer reviewers should have experience of one of the multi-disciplinary fields of expertise included in the journal’s remit, as well as knowledge and proficiency in a relevant area of safeguarding and child protection.

Peer Reviewer

Role  Description

Person Specification

For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Dr Denise Turner, Associate Editor for CPD (drdeniset@gmail.com) or Dr Michael Fanner, Associate Editor for Social Media  (M.Fanner@herts.ac.uk).