New safeguarding model piloted in Cambs a success, study finds

Screenshot of Cambridgeshire County Council safeguarding video

A new family safeguarding model has been piloted in Cambridgeshire. - Credit: Cambridgeshire County Council

A new approach to safeguarding piloted in Cambridgeshire has led to 60 per cent fewer children going through care proceedings.

A seven-month study explored the impact of a model where children were allowed to stay at home and their families supported by a team of experts.

And the results revealed the number of children in family safeguarding teams who were in care decreased from 233 to 88, almost 62 per cent.

Nicola Curley, the Assistant Director of Children’s Social Care at Cambridgeshire County Council, said putting specialists together helps a family solve its wider problems.

“[It] has been key to this approach and ultimately what keeps a child safe within their own family,” she said.

The Family Safeguarding model places a team of specialists around a vulnerable family.

The model takes into consideration that most children with social services have wider family problems such as mental health issues, substance abuse or domestic violence.

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This way of working was also shown to improve best practice, with staff able to provide more timely and targeted support.

They are also able to spend more time with families instead of having to take time dealing with the legal aspects involved with care proceedings.

Cambridgeshire is one of six local authorities in the country delivering this model of social care was allocated £4.1m from the Department of Education in 2019 to test the scheme.

The study also found the number of children in Family Safeguarding teams that needed the less intense “child in need” plans also decreased from 712 in October 2019 to 369 in July 2020.

During the same period, children being reviewed for child protection plans went down by 54 per cent from 519 to 239.

The final report has been published by What Works for Children’s Social Care and through these findings, recommendations are being made for other local authorities considering the model.

Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee, said: “This is a meticulously researched and well-informed report which brings together the very best practice in family safeguarding.

"I am delighted that Cambridgeshire was chosen for the pilot study and that learning from our pilot will be used to protect and support other vulnerable children nationally.”