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Comment on safeguarding babies and infants

ADCS President Jenny Coles said:

“For local authorities, protecting children and young people from harm is our most important role and we work with a range of partners to do this including health, schools, the police and the voluntary sector. Much of our work with families is to support them to overcome challenges and thrive. Where safeguarding concerns arise about babies and very young children, their inability to tell us what has happened to them and how they feel adds an extra layer of complexity. Given that they are not seen on a regular basis by those in education settings, as is the case with older children, this can make them a particularly vulnerable group. Where we have serious concerns it is necessary to undertake statutory Section 47 investigations by social workers. The input of advice from medical practitioners is also critical in these situations. While this will not always result in a formal child protection plan, this does not mean that support for the child and our work with the family will cease. Rightly, there are very clear thresholds set out in law about state intervention into family life and when the medical evidence indicates that the baby should be brought into care such decisions are overseen by the Courts. Our focus is always on the safety and welfare of the child.

“It is vital that local authorities and their partners are able to do all they can to support families to stay together and prevention services play a vital part in providing help at an early stage. However, reductions in local authority funding has made this increasingly difficult. We need greater government investment in services that support families with the challenges they face.”


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