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Training and resources for professionals

Workforce plan priorities

We want to make sure that everyone involved with DCPF has the skills and resources that they need to deliver a first-rate safeguarding service. These are our top workforce priorities for 2019-22:

Life chances

We are ambitious for all our children and young people and have high expectations of our schools, colleges, settings and partnership support services. We want all children in Devon to have the best start in life and, as they grow into young adults, to have access to opportunities for training, education, employment and apprenticeships to help them gain the skills they need to become independent and thrive. We have a strong focus on disadvantage and want to help everyone to access their right to an education, be included and achieve their full potential.

A good education for all

We will:

  • Work together with schools, colleges and others to raise overall educational outcomes and to narrow the attainment gap for boys and disadvantaged pupils
  • Maintain our focus on inclusion and ensuring all children get their right to a full education
  • Continue to develop local opportunities for training, education, employment and apprenticeships with particular support for young people with additional needs or from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Workforce development:

Better support for children in care and care leavers

We want all our children in care and those leaving care to be set up for life to aspire and achieve.

We will do what it takes to keep children in care in good, local, family-based placements so that their education, friendships and community connections can be sustained.

Workforce development:

  • Strengthened, focused and integrated leadership across health, education and social care for children in care and care leavers leading to more targeted workforce development initiatives.

Improving our Special Educational Needs (SEND) offer

We will have a major review and redesign in order to:

  • Improve access to advice, support and guidance
  • Ensure lead practitioners help families navigate the system and remove barriers
  • Ensure everyone that needs one gets a timely and comprehensive Education Health and Care Plan
  • Improve the multi-agency response to Autistic Spectrum Conditions
  • Integrate services and wrap support around children and families
  • Ensure more support to improve the transition into adulthood

Workforce development:

Within the Written statement of Action there are a number of workforce development actions. Delivery of these will further develop the offer below.


Health and wellbeing

For most children, the family and community ensure their health and wellbeing. Families need access to good information and advice, and our Ante-natal, Maternity, Public Health Nursing Services and Children’s Centres will all work together to ensure that no infant, child or family slips through the net, with support tailored to their needs.

We will continue to improve care for children with long term conditions such as asthma and diabetes and focus on prevention to tackle issues like child obesity and tooth decay.

Emotional wellbeing, mental health and self-harm

Supporting the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people with their families continues to be a priority. We will continue to embed preventative strategies and support across schools, public health nursing and wider support services.

Workforce development:

Over 300 Devon schools (84%) have received training and the approach is now being embedded across the county. Resources include, online advice and face-to-face counselling, for children and young people and clinical supervision for school staff.

The CAMHS workforce have had the opportunity to attend training on ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ (IAPT). CAMHS are part of the Children and Young People IAPT learning collaborative and are ‘signed up’ to the principle of ‘delivering well, delivering with’.

Increase the access to Psychological therapies training for staff (IAPT), evaluate the impact of the staff trained in 2017/18

Early support for Autism

We will continue to work together to develop our local offer to autistic children by working with parents and children to make sure we make an impact and improve life chances.

We will:

  • Not wait for a diagnosis before giving support to children who display behaviours linked to autism
  • Support the emotional health and wellbeing of children, young people and their families who may be living with autism
  • Provide more self-help information for parents.

Workforce development:

  • 2019 – Autism and communication training to all schools. We will evaluate the training offer and skill in the workforce
  • 2020 – we will roll out multi-agency training to improve skill, knowledge and practice in supporting children with neuro disability and communication needs
  • Autism Awareness Training (Devon Transforming Care Partnership – DTCP)

Improving Speech and Language services

Speech, language and communication needs must not prevent a child in Devon achieving in school and will be better understood and responded to by all professionals and practitioners.

We will:

  • Intervene early and offer ongoing support for the communication needs of children.
  • Adapt school and community environments to ensure communication barriers are removed
  • Continue to develop and provide training for schools and settings to support early communication, speech and language development.

Workforce development:

  • The Improving Access to Communication sub-group of the SEND Improvement Board are developing further learning and development this will be added.
  • Different conversations training focused on developing choice and control for families of disabled children.
  • Devon Graduated response tool training to support children with SEND (Early Years, Primary and Secondary)
  • Babcock LDP

Keeping children safe

Every child and young person has the right to feel safe, be protected from neglect, and free from the exploitation of others.

Preventing neglect continues to be a top priority and we want to ensure the right support is always available for children and families where drugs, alcohol and other multiple issues significantly impact on children.

The exploitation of children by adults such as that relating to drugs and other criminal activity is a growing concern. We will continue to work together to ensure information and training is in place.

We will also work together to improve the way we reach out to vulnerable young people, including those missing education, and to intervene where there is a risk of crime, radicalisation, gangs, knife crime or anti-social behaviour.

Better identification and prevention of neglect

Where the needs and actions of parents may impact on the care of children leading to neglect, we will work together more effectively to identify it, prevent it or intervene early.

Workforce development:

Support for vulnerable young people at risk

We will:

  • Work together to prevent children missing education, particularly those from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds
  • Work with the community and youth services to support young people at risk of becoming part of gangs or involved in crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Support families and carers if a young person is missing and after they return home
  • Identify and support vulnerable young people at risk of radicalisation or of exploitation by adults.

Workforce development:

Helping children stay out of care

We want to help more children and young people to stay out of care by supporting them in their own families and communities. This means ensuring help and support is available earlier and managing often high levels of risk, need and complexity in a different way.

We will:

  • Develop a multi-agency team to support children and young people in crisis where there is a risk of family breakdown
  • Develop a crisis response for children in care to help them off the roller coaster of placement crisis/breakdown.

Workforce development:


Child abuse

We have a statutory responsibility to intervene in families to protect children at risk of harm. In a few cases this can mean removing children from families and making alternative arrangements for their long-term care.

We want to improve the way this system works, and to strengthen our partnership with schools, health, the police and others to ensure no child at risk slips through the net.

Protecting children from domestic violence and sexual abuse remains our top priority. The harmful impact of child exploitation is becoming an ever growing concern as is the impact of self-harm, with increasing numbers of children being admitted to hospital.

Continuing to strengthen our workforce to protect children from harm is core to the delivery of our safeguarding duties. We are developing the whole workforce in three key skills:

  • Developing strengths-based practice
  • The roll out of training for restorative approaches including supervision
  • The development of appreciative inquiry

Protecting and supporting children where there is domestic or sexual violence and abuse

We will:

  • Protect children from the harm of domestic abuse
  • Support children and young people who live in families where there is domestic abuse
  • Ensure adult and children’s services work together with the whole family
  • Ensure all services support parenting in addition to dealing with any immediate need.

Workforce development:

Helping children experiencing emotional distress and reducing the impact of self harm

We will:

  • Ensure children and families have the right information and support to help if experiencing a crisis
  • Make sure people know how to ask for help
  • Help individuals and families develop alternative strategies for dealing with emotional distress
  • Provide good information so children can keep themselves safe, particularly from the risks online.

Workforce development:

Preventing exploitation

We will:

  • Be there to help young people break free from exploitation
  • Work together to disrupt all exploitation
  • Better understand the impact of young people as perpetrators of exploitation and develop an offer to intervene.

Workforce development:

  • In addition to the core training offer, DCFP will seek to strengthen our partnership working with the Safer Devon Partnership by incorporating the approach set out within the Exploitation of Children Strategy 2018-2021 across key areas of child exploitation including child sexual exploitation, missing children, gangs, county lines modern slavery and criminal exploitation.
  • The approach will:
    • Raise awareness, knowledge and ‘professional curiosity’ to identify exploitation and abuse. Exploitation is a hidden crime which often happens out of sight, leaving victims at serious risk of harm. By raising awareness, Devon’s increasing number of vulnerable children at risk of exploitation may be identified earlier.
    • Introduce a ‘contextualising framework’ for safeguarding (including within social, public and private contexts in which young people spend their time) to address the increasing number of young people ‘at risk’ of exploitation.
    • Develop and embed a shared understanding of the problem and environment and context in which exploitation occurs.
  • By adopting this approach, we will:
    • Inform our workforce about child exploitation and how to identify a child at risk.
    • Mobilise multi-agency early-help interventions where we identify a child or children at risk of experiencing familial violence, poverty, parental mental health or substance abuse or being excluded from school.
    • Ensure that practitioners and professionals have a good understanding of normal adolescent behaviours and the concept of ‘consent’.
  • An informed and skilled workforce will result in:
    • Practitioners and professionals across DCFP and SDP having relevant knowledge of risk and vulnerability factors relating to the exploitation of vulnerable adults.
    • Children and young people being recognised and supported as victims, a common understanding and language of exploitation and its impact on victims and their families.

More information about the Adolescent Safety Framework can be found here.

If you are concerned that a child is being abused please call

0345 155 1071

or email mashsecure@devon.gov.uk.

Professionals should complete the MASH contact form.

If it’s an emergency call 999


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