Neglect

Working with families in which Neglect is a factor

The Cumbria Neglect Strategy has been developed to set out the strategic aims and objectives of Cumbria's approach to tackling neglect.  It identifies the key principles underpinning work with neglect and priority actions to improve the way we work. 

The LSCB wants to ensure that we are able to identify children and young people, whose needs may be neglected by their care givers, at the earliest point so that appropriate services can be provided to address this and prevent the need for statutory intervention.

Our Vision

There are varying experiences of neglect but long term exposure to neglect or serious neglect have long lasting effect on children.  Therefore, we need to have a proportionate response dependant on the seriousness.  Our vision for Cumbria is that fewer children will experience neglectful care and will be raised in a loving family environment.

The LSCB will soon be providing multi-agency workshops on using the tools in the guidance (see Training or email LSCB.Training@cumbria.gov.uk).

Further updates will also follow on this page and in the LSCB newsletter. If you would like to share your thoughts/feedback on the guidance, please email:

LSCB@cumbria.gov.uk

Research

Recommended reading by the Policy and Procedures sub group. This small scale study by Horwath and Tarr (2015) explores planning and social work practice in cases of child neglect with a focus on conferences and core groups in England and Wales, looking at active cases of chronic neglect where a child was subject to a child protection plan for two years or more because of neglect, or was on a plan, taken off it and subject to a further plan within a two-year period. The Child as Object of Neglectthis external link will open in a new window

 

Tools

The Graded Care Profilethis external link will open in a new window 

All professionals can play their part in identifying and responding to neglect. The use of the graded care profile isnít only relevant to those who will be taking a lead role in its completion when children are in need or on a child protection plan.  Here are some of the ways that the graded care profile can inform multi agency work and responses to neglect. 

Reflection: Perhaps you are a police officer or a universal health visitor and have visited a familyís home. Some things donít feel right. You can return from the visit and use the graded care profile to reflect on your observations and consider whether the grade descriptions reassure or help you to identify an area of concern. Managers from across the professions can use the graded care profile to support staff to reflect on what has been seen, why it is happening and what (if anything) needs to change.

Prevention:  Professionals in Cumbria have highlighted that some of the young mothers they work with have experienced neglectful care themselves as children and donít have confidence in knowing what good parenting looks like. The graded care profile can be used in positive and empowering ways to work alongside mothers and their partners to support them to develop their parenting skills and knowledge.

Early Help: We know that early responses to emerging signs of neglect are better than waiting until something is considered Ďpersistentí or Ďseriousí enough to warrant attention. The graded care profile can support parents and practitioners identify and focus in on a particular area of care that can be usefully addressed; perhaps around childrenís safety and supervision or supporting a parentís engagement with their child.

Targeted: Where there are concerns about neglect, for example, a child who has been identified as being in need or is on a child protection plan, then the full use of the graded care profile is indicated. If you are the lead professional completing the tool with a family, then you need the support of others to accurately grade areas of care and to work collaboratively with parents to make changes.  Observations and knowledge from other professionals including health visitors, education staff, GPs, dentists etc. will all help to build up a more holistic picture. Everyone has a part to play. 

Stuck: There are families where work has got stuck. Perhaps the graded care profile was completed a couple of years ago and things have fluctuated ever since with a period of improvement followed by raised concern. Over time, practitioners can become desensitised to home conditions and the impact of neglectful care on children. The work can lack focus and parents are not clear about what needs to change. Optimism about one area of care can result in other concerning aspects being overlooked. This may well be the time to revisit the graded care profile with a family and to ensure that the child remains the subject rather than the object of neglect. 

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Resources & Information

Much evidence suggests that attachment relationships with a parent or carer are the foundation for a childís experience of the world. This second edition briefing highlights emerging evidence on understanding and building attachment relationships pre-birth. It provides a fundamental grounding in attachment theory and different attachment behaviours, with a focus on identifying signs of parent-child interactions that may need further assessment. It also aims to build understanding of attachment and the appropriate application of the theory in direct work with children, young people and families. RiP Frontline Briefing Update 2016this external link will open in a new window (pdf)

Strategy

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10/01/2017 3248k


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