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Cafcass submits good practice advice to Lord Laming

Date:14 JAN 2009

Following the tragic death of Baby P, Lord Laming was asked to prepare a progress report on how effectively children are being safeguarded and Cafcass was invited to submit a response.

Cafcass advised Lord Laming that where there are problems, this is not because of current systems, structures or procedures, but because of failures to implement these properly in some organisations due primarily to the complexity of the issues associated with successful implementation.

Anthony Douglas CBE, Chief Executive commented, "The death of Baby P was a tragic event which had a major impact on the general public. It is imperative in the public interest that all agencies take this opportunity to review their contribution to the safeguarding of our nation's children. Our response to Lord Laming's review is informed by some of the daily experiences of our 1500 social workers and senior frontline managers. We are also undertaking a stock take of our own front line safeguarding practice as our contribution to making sure services are as safe and effective as possible."

Some of the key points from the Cafcass submission, stating how good practice in safeguarding can be improved include:

  • Building on the concept of respectful uncertainty and improve the assessment skills of social workers across all agencies;
  • Improving services and support to children who witness or are at risk from domestic violence and those at risk from parental drug/alcohol misuse;
  • Promoting greater co-ordination between children's and adults services so that adults receive an assessment that reviews the impact of the adults' difficulties on their capacity to parent;
  • Providing clear guidance on thresholds of intervention by local authorities - the absence of which leads to inter-authority variation;
  • Improving ongoing professional training and the status of social work as a profession to boost public confidence, reduce turnover and reduce vacancy rates;
  • Imposing a statutory duty on Police to resource the timely delivery of information on adults involved in private law proceedings.

Cafcass has also announced that it is implementing a major practice improvement programme for 2008-09 to improve the quality and consistency of frontline practice.