'We Should Have Been Helped From Day One': A Unique Perspective from Children, Families and Practitioners

Claire Easton, Robert Smith, Emily Lamont, Helen Aston

26 September 2013

Executive summary

LARC5 looked at one of the pressing issues facing the children’s sector: neglect. We investigated how to effectively support families with different levels of need across the early intervention spectrum to engage with services within an overall framework of neglect. Nine authorities from across England carried out research into this topic, supported by the LARC researchers at NFER and RiP.

Key Findings

  • Practitioners and families felt that more help needs to be offered to families early on, before issues escalate. However, practitioners felt that most help was available when families encountered more complex difficulties, rather than offering them preventative advice and support through education or universal services.
  • Authorities’ and different practitioner groups’ responses to a child who may be at risk of neglect may vary slightly.

To overcome current gaps in provision and challenges to supporting families effectively, practitioners and families suggested:

  • promoting and advertising services more effectively to families and practitioners
  • simplifying processes (such as referral route times and the Common Assessment Framework process) and reducing waiting lists
  • improving multi-agency working and information sharing
  • improving families’ knowledge about children's social care to help remove the stigma associated with getting help and to allay commonly held misconceptions
  • considering opportunities for offering families peer to peer support within the community
  • undertaking whole family holistic assessments and putting support in place for the whole family
  • ensuring frontline staff have core skills to help develop and enhance relationships with families.

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