To receive a presentation from the Senior Manager, Carlisle and Eden and MASH (copy enclosed).
Members received a presentation from the Senior Manager, Carlisle and Eden and MASH on Contextual Safeguarding which had been developed to inform policy and practice approaches to safeguard adolescents and understand and respond to young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their families. It was explained it also recognised that the different relationships which young people form in their neighbourhoods, schools and on?line can feature violence and abuse and that parents and carers have little influence over those contexts and that young people’s experiences of extra-familial abuse can undermine parent?child relationships.
The Committee was informed that the extra-familial harm could include a number of issues such as sexual or criminal exploitation, serious youth violence, teenage relationship abuse, radicalisation and bullying and social isolation.
Members noted that traditionally child protection systems address and respond to risks faced within a family/home but now a response needs to look beyond the parents’ capacity to safeguard. Therefore, to address those forms of harm there was a need to look at the context of risk and vulnerability.
The Committee received details of the Peer Challenge key finding which included Leadership and Management, Effective Practice and Impact on Outcomes and Understanding and Reducing Risk of Child Exploitation – Contextual Safeguarding.
In conclusion members were informed that there was a need for the implementation of the Child Exploitation Risk Assessment and Review (CERAR), changes to the MACE as part of the CERAR, develop a new Strategy, Philomena protocol, Miss from Home process review and the delivery of ‘It’s Not OK’ and associated learning and development offer.
Members raised questions surrounding placements which were not regulated by Ofsted. The Senior Manager for Carlisle and Eden explained that in Cumbria children under-16 were never put into unregulated accommodation and those over-16 were only put into unregulated placements when it was clearly part of a step forward plan to support them with semi-independent living. In this context it was seen as a positive step for many care leavers who would still receive a large amount of support. Members were assured that management oversight would always be retained and strict assessments would always be carried out so that the service could be confident of young people’s safety. It was added that the number of children in external provision had been drastically reduced and internal capacity had been increased with new facilities opening.
Members raised another area of concern regarding work with partners to ensure young people and care leavers were not criminalised but understood contextually. The Senior Manager replied by stating that a change of culture was very important and that presentations like this one were key practical steps towards raising awareness. She went on to explain the close working relationship between the Service and the Child Centred Policing Team to develop a better culture of understanding of children as potential victims instead of as criminals.
The Chair thanked the Senior Manager for Carlisle and Eden for the informative presentation and reiterated the importance of members raising awareness in the wider community of this important issue.