Safeguarding Children from Abuse Linked to Culture or Religion

09:30 – 12:30

This half day course will consider ‘honour’ based violence and other harmful traditional practices that affect children and young people, including female genital mutilation, forced/early marriage, ‘honour ‘ violence and abuse linked to the belief in witchcraft. The course will also touch on lesser known issues such as son preference, bride price, infanticide and traditional health practices that may be seen as harmful within a Western context.

Keeping Our Children Safe

15/09/2020 – 17/09/2020
09:30 – 12:30

JOIN US ONLINE: We are offering a selection of courses online via the Zoom or MS Teams app.

All children have the right to live lives free from abuse and neglect but recent events highlight, yet again, how difficult it can be for so many adults to recognise, and act on concerns about the safety or welfare of a child. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that all organisations concerned with children should work towards what’s best for each child.

DECIPHer Zoom forum with The Children’s Society

DECIPHer Zoom forum with Richard Crellin and Tom Davies, The Children’s Society

Latest findings from the Good Childhood Research Programme on children’s subjective well-being and exploring children’s well-being measurement across the UK

21 October 2020, 11am to 12pm

Notes on the forum:

In this session, The Children’s Society’s Richard Crellin, Policy Manager, and Tom Davies, Children and Families Policy Advisor for Wales, will discuss their research programme into children’s subjective well-being.

There will be a particular focus on measures of cognitive well-being (see, for example, Huebner, 1991) and the development of the Good Childhood Index (see The Children’s Society, 2010).

Then, using a range of research and practice case studies, they will explore how primary research into children’s subjective well-being has informed public policy debates and the organisation’s work with children and young people over the last decade and how well-being could continue to inform policy and practice in the coming decade.

To register for the Zoom forum, please email Nicola Trigg (

Please contact organiser Ed Janes with any queries (

Notes from The Children’s Society:

The Children’s Society supports vulnerable young people, from around 10 years old, who are living in complicated circumstances and often dealing with many different challenges. Through specialist services, we focus on improving well-being by listening closely to what young people tell us they need, and advocating with them to improve the situation. Our work covers a range of issues including going missing, exploitation, immigration issues, mental health, substance misuse and young carers.

Alongside our direct work to improve children’s lives we are also committed to changing the systems and structures that hinder young people getting the support they need and reaching their potential.
We do this through our research, policy work and public campaigning to improve children’s lives.

The children’s subjective well-being research is led by senior researcher Dr Louise Moore who is supported by researcher Dr Alex Turner. Charlotte Rainer is our policy officer, working closely with local and national decision makers to ensure our work has impact, with Tom Davies supporting us to do this in Wales. Richard Crellin leads the team.

Notes from DECIPHer:

DECIPHer brings together leading experts from a range of disciplines to tackle public health issues such as mental health and well-being, positive social relationships, diet and nutrition, physical activity and tobacco, alcohol and drugs, with a particular focus on developing and evaluating multi-level system approaches that will have an impact on the
health and well-being of children and young people.

DECIPHer is a member of SPARK | SBARC, Cardiff University’s Social Science Research Park.

Families First and Flying Start advice and guidance for COVID-19

We advise regularly checking this page for updates
Last updated: September 15, 2020

Recording and reporting virtual support sessions for Families First (FF)

We have received queries recently from Local Authorities about the recording and reporting of services provided virtually throughout the Covid outbreak. We recognise you will require some guidance in relation to this matter. Following discussions with policy and data colleagues, we have agreed the following approach in the first instance:

  • You should record any targeted activity conducted via alternative means during the Covid outbreak in the same way as you would have done previously. For example, any one-to-one or group service that was delivered virtually using Skype, WhatsApp, and similar platforms, etc. should be counted in the same way as you would have previously with face-to-face engagement.
  • You should also count any direct and targeted contacts you have had with families over the telephone and via social media (providing they were meaningful).
  • However, non-targeted support – such as generic messages or videos on social media or YouTube, should not be included, as open access support of this nature is not really within the scope of Families First provision and it will be difficult to know to what extent viewers have actively engaged with it.

If you have any further queries or have any additional information you feel we should be made aware of, please contact your account manager in the usual manner or direct your emails to

Guidance for Flying Start and Families First Services – COVID 19
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) presents unprecedented challenges to all of our families and services. This document provides guidance on the provision of Flying Start and Families First services during this period.

Please share this with your teams and provide assurance that we are working hard to ensure we provide guidance to support you in provision of services for children and families now and going forward as the situation develops.

Parenting tips
10 Top Tips to support parents and carers of babies and young children (suitable from birth – 4) at home.

Impact questionnaire (COVID-19)

In light of the outbreak of Covid-19, we are eager to explore the extent of the likely disruption to services provided by Flying Start, Families First and the proposed piloting work due to be undertaken by Pathfinder PSBs during 2019/20 and 2020/21.

To help us gather the information we need, we have prepared a short table and some additional questions in the below document. We appreciate that planning for the short term is difficult given the changing nature of the response to the outbreak but we’d be grateful if you would provide the most up to date information you have and return it to the Flying Start mailbox.

Guidance for the Children and Communities Grant (CCG) (COVID-19)

Should you have any further questions please email the Flexible Funding mailbox –

Flying Start childcare payments (COVID-19)

The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services has announced that both Childcare Offer and Flying Start childcare providers will continue to be paid should the service be disrupted as a result of Covid -19. More information can be found at the following website:

Urgent Minister of Education childcare update (COVID-19)

Please follow the link to a written statement issued by the Minister for Education and the Deputy Minister for Health & Social Services:

Please find a set of FAQs below that we have developed in response to the position set out in the published statement in the following link which will be updated on a regular basis.

COVID-19 childcare FAQ

Building a positive future for young people’s mental health

Date: 17 September 2020
Time: 17:30 – 18:00

This virtual event, hosted by Cardiff University, will explore research into anxiety and depression in young people. Professor Simon Murphy, Director of DECIPHer, will be speaking on the role of schools in supporting young people’s mental health.

The Brilliant Club: Working with parents & carers to make access to university fair for young people

In the UK today, there is an entrenched link between a pupil’s background and their access to higher education. The UCAS Equality measure shows that 1 in 4 of the most advantaged quintile of English 18-year olds enter highly selective universities, compared to only 1 in 50 pupils from the most disadvantaged quintile.

The Brilliant Club is a UK-wide charity that aims to make access to university fair for all young people. We work with schools and universities across the UK. The charity exists to increase the number of pupils from underrepresented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities.

On the 14th and 17th of September we will be hosting a free virtual event to talk with parents and carers about their thoughts, concerns, and experiences with supporting young people who are considering their post-school options. The events will involve a brief introduction to the charity and the work we currently do, before splitting up into smaller groups to have an informal discussion about support for parents and carers of school-aged students regarding making decisions about attending university. There are no requirements to discuss anything you are uncomfortable with, and no one will be put on the spot to answer specific questions.


If you are interested in attending, please register at Eventbrite.

Laura Johnstone
National Manager for The Scholars Programme

Find out more about The Brilliant Club:
Twitter: @BrilliantClub
Website: Brilliant Club

Identifying and responding to child neglect in schools: Messages for best practice

With the majority of children returning to schools, referrals to Children’s Services are expected to substantially rise. As recently reported in the Guardian, schools will play ‘a pivotal role in spotting neglect and abuse’.

After nearly six months away from the classroom, children who would have previously been identified as needing help and support have been invisible to staff in schools. According to the Department for Education, the number of referrals received by Children’s Services since schools closed due to the Covid19 outbreak has seen a dramatic reduction of 18% (compared to the last three years).

Schools are the second largest referrer to statutory services, and vital partners in the safeguarding and protection of our children. Staff in schools have the opportunity to observe children in a range of settings, inside and outside of the classroom. Teachers and other school staff can monitor children’s behaviour daily, over an extended period of schooling, whilst observing their interactions with peers and members of their families. They are uniquely positioned to detect concerns at an early point and share information which ensures children receive the support they need at the right time.

It is therefore essential that school staff are fully supported to recognise children who are in need of additional support, and be ready to respond to those who have been living with abuse or neglect, and are in need of protection.

A new policy report by Dr Vicky Sharley (University of Bristol) highlights findings from a recent study funded by Welsh Government through Health and Care Research Wales. The report looks at how school staff identify and respond to children they suspect are living with neglect (the most common reason for a child to be on a child protection plan in England). The report sets out key recommendations for best practice across schools and child protection services, and calls for policymakers to support schools and social workers in their unique but closely related roles within the safeguarding system.

The report also outlines a new approach for the development of effective inter-agency relationships to improve safeguarding outcomes. It is essential for children’s welfare that any concerns are raised at the earliest point possible. This requires more support for school staff and social workers to develop close working relationships and excellent communication channels. Recommendations are particularly pertinent at a time when children are returning to the classroom, having been ‘hidden’ from services for more than five months, and referrals are expected to soar.

You can read the full report on Policy Bristol. The key recommendations include the following:

  • Head Teachers should be supported to establish effective learning communities within their schools so staff develop context-specific knowledge and expertise on how to respond to child neglect effectively within a school setting.
  • Schools should recruit strategic staff who demonstrate commitment to developing expertise in child neglect to promote children’s wellbeing within the school setting.
  • School staff who know the local community well should have opportunities to provide insights into the lives of children who are suspected of living with neglect.
  • Social workers should routinely provide feedback to schools on the outcome of referrals made to child protection services and the rationale for their decision not to intervene.
  • Social workers should ensure that Child Protection Conferences are not planned during school holidays, and that information is shared with new schools where children are transitioning to secondary education.
  • Informal and formal opportunities should be made available to all staff to spend time in partner agencies to support development of knowledge and expertise about service provision.
  • The local authority’s threshold guidance document should be used as a tool for reflective discussion across services, to inform professional decision-making and foster a ‘shared language’, so that school staff can more effectively articulate concerns in their referrals.
  • The role of the School Social Worker responds to many interprofessional barriers between schools and child protection services and should be established in all local authorities.

This study forms the basis of Dr Sharley’s ongoing research investigating interprofessional safeguarding practices across the United Kingdom. She would be happy to answer any questions about this study or discuss her ongoing and future work in this area.

Dr Sharley, University of Bristol

This blog was first published by PolicyBristol.

How to adapt participatory arts activities in lockdown

The Covid-19 pandemic has posed serious questions to arts and cultural organisations across the country. One of the biggest has been: how do you continue to use the creative arts to empower the most vulnerable in society during lockdown? Nicky Goulder, Founding Chief Executive of Create, tells us how Create Live! enabled them to do this and what they’ve learnt.

Create Live! participants

On 24 March, all our projects, which rely on face-to-face interactions, ground to a halt.

At Create, we use the creative arts to empower lives and enhance wellbeing. We bring together primary school children in areas of deprivation with disabled adults. We offer young and adult carers vital time away from their responsibilities. We take workshops into prisons and adolescent mental-health units. We work with older people experiencing loneliness. Reducing isolation for these people is central to our mission. But how do you achieve that when everyone has to isolate?

We knew we had to find a way and researched, piloted and launched Create Live!, a new method of digital delivery, in just 14 days. We have now rolled out photography, music, art, drama and dance projects with vulnerable participants across the UK. An emergency response grant from Arts Council England is enabling us to extend this work further.

We had to adapt – fast – to move from in-person to digital workshops. So what have we learnt?

Navigating technology

Getting creative virtually can be a challenge. The key is taking what might seem a limitation and using it to open up new possibilities. We decided to celebrate the home.

Photographer and Create artist Alejandra Carles-Tolra responded by asking young carers to photograph the personal things around them, to look at their homes with new eyes and find inspiration in everyday objects. Exploring their homes and then returning to the screen to collaborate with others provided a creative outlet for self-expression and an opportunity to connect with other young carers.

“Collaboration is always at the centre of my work,” Alejandra says, “and during this period of increased isolation it felt essential that the young carers could collaborate and share their creative work and ideas with each other. It doesn’t matter what tools you have, it’s a way of looking at the world.”

“It doesn’t matter what tools you have, it’s a way of looking at the world.”
Alejandra Carles-Tolra

Safety and comfort

Ensuring participants are safe and comfortable is crucial. We updated our Safeguarding Policy after detailed research; and focus on the smallest details to help them feel calm and relaxed. We ensure, for example that participants names – but only first names – are correctly displayed.

Theatre maker/writer and Create artist James Baldwin explains, “Making a group connection is tricky when you’re disconnected physically, so it’s important to prioritise things that might seem small but make the participants feel comfortable. It’s about being able to embrace the technology to achieve your aim: to have fun and make the participants feel valued.”

A group of young people. All but one of them have their hands raised above their heads.

Innovating when there’s no IT access

Lack of access to computers or the Internet can pose a real barrier to running our projects. So we adapted Create Live! and ran music workshops with our older participants over the phone.

“[The workshop] made a hell of a difference to me,” said one participant. “I was on the phone for three hours! It has woken me up. I was beginning to get tired with nothing to do, no one to talk to. I really enjoyed it today. I will sleep tonight.”

Feedback across our Create Live! projects from participants, parents, community partners and artists has highlighted how important creativity is for wellbeing in these strange times. We are continuing to adapt and increase the number of workshops being delivered through Create Live! in order to reach as many isolated, vulnerable people as possible during this lockdown period and beyond.

“[The workshop] made a hell of a difference to me…I was beginning to get tired with nothing to do, no one to talk to. I really enjoyed it today.”

This blog was originally published by Arts Council England on July 10th 2020.

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