Define working in partnership in the context of safeguarding children. Identify the roles and responsibilities of different organisations that may be involved in partnership working. Working in partnership in the context of safeguarding children means that agencies and other professionals need to work together, it starts with government legislation right through to local working. Each professional or agency with have a different role of expertise so vulnerable children get coordinated help from health, education, children social care and the voluntary sector and often the justice services so it is important that there is good communication within all the different services available.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children depends on effective partnership working between agencies and professionals all people involved in the welfare of a child have a duty to safeguard them. Police, health, visitors, GP’s, child minders, nurseries, schools, after school club, leisure groups such as football, swimming, brownies, social workers, family, friends, neighbours and the local community are all responsible for safeguarding our children and young people and it is important we all work and communicate together.
The common assessment framework provides a way for early intervention for children before it reaches crisis point. It is a shared assessment and planning framework for all communication and that information is shared between different professionals and organisations. Some of the specific roles and responsibilities for some of the partners are listed below:
•Social Services – are concerned with the immediate care of a child and they ensure that they are safe from harm. They work in partnership with parents and other agencies to carry this out. In some cases, schools will contact social services directly when they have serious concerns about a parent or carer. They also provide support to vulnerable children and families.
•The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) – is a charity which works to protect children from harm. It is the only charity which has a statutory power to take action where there are cases of child abuse. The charity works with different organisations e.g. social services, the police, education and health services. They also provide support to children and families in situations such as domestic violence and also abuse. They provide help via a telephone helpline which can be used for example for home based child carers on whether to refer a situation to social services.
•Health Visitors – have crucial skills in protecting children from harm and abuse. They are trained to a high level to recognise any risks that a child might be in and subsequently they may be the first ones to recognise children who are likely to be abused or neglected. A health visitor plays a big part in all stage of child protection process including cases reviews. They support the health of babies and children under five, including carrying out their developmental checks. They have contact with multiple agencies and support the work of the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB). As they visit families in their homes, they are able to gather information such as signs and symptoms that will enable a health visitor to start the process of signs and concerns of abuse or neglect. They use their own judgement on when to share information with other agencies.
•Psychology services –provide support for children who have experienced abuse or harm. They may also be called to carry out an assessment of a child. They made recommendations and suggest a course of action appropriate to a specific child’s needs.
•School – the role of staff at school is to create and maintain a safe learning environment. They should: i) Be responsible for identifying any concerns and to acting upon this information. ii) Attend child protection and first aid courses. In cases of special schools staff should have appropriate training on medical issues on safeguarding all children. iii) Protect children from harm and abuse. (including bullying/cyber bullying) iv) Help meet the health needs of children with medical conditions and provide accurate information on the child’s educational needs. v) Designate a person that has had specific training to deal with child protection issues. vi) Have contact with multi agencies to support the child and attend case conferences. vii) Under the Children’s Act 1989 the school have a key role to play referring children and providing information to the police for future criminal proceedings that might take place under child protection issues. viii) Manage risks appropriately.