There have been weaknesses in our social work response in some serious cases of child neglect, particularly the time is has taken some social workers to remove children who have suffered neglect and emotional abuse from their families.
When the needs and actions of parents may impact on the care of children, leading to neglect, we will work together more effectively to identify and prevent it or intervene early and more decisively to mitigate its impact. And where families do not make the changes that are needed in the timescales that are right for the child and action needs to be taken, we will ensure that this action is timely, including by using legal routes where appropriate.
We want children experiencing neglect, who might have to be taken away from their families, to know that we’re not going to delay making the tough decisions and what’s right for them is what matters most to us. We are going to make sure we know families inside out so we can make the right decisions at the right time.
What we need to improve:
- Effective use of pre-proceedings
- Effectiveness of child protection conference chairs and independent reviewing officers
- Consideration of child protection medicals
How we will do it:
- Improve timeliness and quality of legal decisions with CAFCASS and Courts so that no child in Devon will be in pre-proceedings for more than 12 weeks and all our care proceedings are concluded within 26 weeks
- Pilot multi-agency impact chronologies
- Develop the impact of child protection conference chairs and independent reviewing officers so fewer children will be subject to a Child Protection Plan more than once
- Workforce development on criteria for child protection medicals
How we will know we’ve made a difference:
- No child in Devon will be in pre-proceedings for more than 12 weeks and all our care proceedings will be concluded within 26 weeks
- Fewer children will be subject to a Child Protect Plan more than once
- Child protection medicals will be undertaken when necessary