Social workers who suspect abuse ‘should visit for six months’

family life

Social workers who suspect a child may be at risk of abuse or neglect should visit the family regularly for at least six months, the Department of Health has suggested.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) is a branch of the Department of Health which provides guidance on health and social care practice. In a new discussion document, Nice claims such repeat visits have been shown to be effective and that their routine introduction would not require extensive investment.

Entitled “Child abuse and neglect: recognising, assessing and responding to abuse and neglect of children and young people”, the draft guidance explores common symptoms and the most effective ways for social workers  and childcare professionals to respond. It outlines a programme for the repeated home visits, saying social workers must focus on helping struggling parents to deal with the problems they face and strengthening the relationship they have with their children. Those with drug, drink or mental health issues must receive appropriate support it states.

The document lists various behavioural issues that could suggest a child is experiencing abuse or neglect. These include nightmares, temper tantrums and desperation for attention.

Children who regularly come to school with injuries or who behave in an inappropriate sexual way should be the subject of serious concern Nice declares.

The Nice report is aimed at all professionals working with children outside hospitals and GP surgeries. It has been released for consultation and feedback until mid-April .

Professor Corinne May-Chahal is an expert in child protection and helped to draft the new guidance. She said:

“Our awareness of the different forms of child abuse and neglect is developing all the time but it is difficult for professionals to keep track of the best ways to assess abuse and intervene effectively. This guideline is important as it will help professionals spot the warning signs and then focus on what early help and interventions can be provided.”

Photo by Zooka Yung via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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4 comments

D - February 22, 2017 at 2:33pm

I think one of the aspects mentioned on Radio 4 this morning was that professionals should use judgements based on their experience, skill and not just use a checkbox approach. Positive potentially, but as I’m sure I’ve read here, expecting changes, improvements in social areas without stepping up with the resources and finance to support them isn’t right. How the change is defined is important.. so hopefully it doesn’t become a tick-box, targets driven approach.
This way must make it more likely the wrong, unjust, nightmare cases happen which then lead to unfortunate accusations against social work.

keith - February 22, 2017 at 2:34pm

Firstly this is probably one of the most sensible and life changing ideas put forward by professionals aimed at Social wokers to date.
the only problem is that they have overlooked one little detail, the very large and lucrative business of Adoption and Foster care feeding off this misery. where large sums of money are on offer Social workers and other connected professionals will continue to break the rules and children will continue to be unlawfully taken and lined up for the Adoption market.
its a big problem that needs serious and decisive action to dismantle it.

John Smith - February 22, 2017 at 4:46pm

Munro report and case reviews show cognative biases against helping children who really are in need. Family divorce courts were in favour of contact/residency switch to abusive fathers at any cost, until womens aid stepped in with their 19 [now 20] murdered children campaign. And a practice direction may be changed… In public law there are other isses going on but again abusers of both genders get away with it Unless concerend family and friends are allowed to get a truly independent social workers review [Im sure they would pay for it] this will keep on happening. Currently independet social workers wont review a case unless a court or social worker orders it. … going around in circles and children not helped

Debbie Hunter - February 22, 2017 at 6:07pm

I agree they should but even when they do visit they get it wrong many times.

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