Vulnerable children are being left in danger because a system designed to get them help quickly is not working…Schools in England must fill in a 16-page form to report concerns about a child’s welfare or safety.
The form in question is the CAF, mentioned many times before on this blog. In particular, we’ve always been concerned that it would become a barrier to children’s fast access to child protection services.
Most of the examples that the NAHT cite are pretty clear examples of neglect that reaches the threshold for intervention under s47 Children Act 1989 – a child at risk of significant harm from abuse or neglect. They should not even be going through the CAF process, which is for children in need of services under s17 Children Act. you might want to compare and contrast these two sections.
A child in the care of a passed-out, alcoholic parent needs emergency protection right now, not ‘services’ in a month’s time. Forget filling in forms. We hope that tonight’s Panorama (BBC1 at 8.30) might show something of the chaos that the ‘Every Child Matters’ agenda has brought to child protection. As we have repeatedly said (banging our heads on a brick wall) it is dangerous to confuse child protection with the more general – and often unrelated – category of child welfare.