ADCS comment following death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes
ADCS President Charlotte Ramsden said:
“The death of a child at the hands of those who should love and care for them is both heart-breaking and contemptible. Whilst ADCS does not comment on individual cases it is important to comment on the child protection system at this sad time. Significant strides have been made in recent decades to help improve our ability to safeguard children; the use of relationship based practice models, our knowledge of effective interventions and the embedding of multi-agency working have all played a role. The creation of the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel to support the sector to maintain a focus on learning and reflecting on lessons is vital, however there is always more learning to be done.
“As well as learning lessons and improving systems when things do not go as planned, children’s services need the ability to meet the needs of children and families as early as possible to avoid escalation. The commitment to family hubs and the Supporting Families Programme signals a growing recognition of the vital importance of early help systems which are central to identifying children who experience vulnerabilities and working with families to safeguard children.
“Over the course of the pandemic, local authorities and partners have continued to support all children and families, especially those with the most acute needs. The social restrictions introduced to protect wider public health unfortunately added a layer of extra complexity to what is already an incredibly complex and challenging area of work. Sadly, it is not possible to eliminate all risk.
“Any death of a child is tragic. In recent years, there have been advancements in the public debate surrounding such tragedies and increased public awareness of the impact of abuse and neglect. Whilst there is still a long way to go, this has led to stronger multi-agency working and a greater understanding of the complexities professionals face when deciding how and when to intervene in family life.
“The Care Review is grappling with many of these issues and as leaders of one part of the multi-agency safeguarding system, along with the police and health service, we continue to engage with the review to make sure any recommendations for systemic change best meet the needs of children and young people.”
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) Ltd is the professional leadership association for Directors of Children’s Services and their senior management teams in England.