Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association

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Summary of the CPHVA Response to 'Working Together to Safeguard Children'

 

July 1998

The CPHVA welcome the review as an opportunity to re-look at the interaction between agencies involved in child protection. The Association sees this issue as one to which every agency who is involved with children or their families has a role to play

The current culture within this society does not appear to consider children as an important group in the population who are valued as the potential for the nation. We welcome the new government's stated commitment to improve education, and their intention to focus on help for parents, but believe that there needs to be willingness from the nation to support families in the difficult task of bringing up their children to become responsible citizens. The national aim must be for every child to reach its full potential.

The Association was disappointed that the document did not appear to have recognised the importance of the early intervention and anticipatory guidance given to families in the early stages of the child's development.

Much of the work done by health visitors is to help parents gain confidence in managing their parenting skills. There is great importance in building a good relationship with those parents who do not have access to other sources of support so that when they have difficulties within the family, they have someone to turn to.

Health visitors are recognised by the general population as being available for everyone and therefore there is no stigma attached to asking for help and advice. This is one of the reasons why a universal service is so important. At a later stage, parents and children can access the school nurse in the same way.

When the problem is complex, these professionals have knowledge of the network of different agencies available in the area to which they can refer families. It is the view of our members that this area of work provided by health visitors and school nurses is not recognised by all Health Authorities, Trusts and even some GPs.

The CPHVA recommends that the early intervention work must be recognised, valued and funded. Resources in the NHS should be reorganised so that public health funding is separate from the resources used to reduce waiting lists.

The document addresses both child protection and children in need. There is a clear framework for the roles of the different professionals in child protection, but no clear framework if the issue is a child in need. This results in the purpose of the document being confused, which is not helpful if we are to safeguard children.

For further information contact:

Information Resources Department - Tel. 0171 939 7063

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