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Dr Laura Davies University of Leeds

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1 Dr Laura Davies University of Leeds

2 Outline What is ‘vulnerability’? Understanding children’s needs Causes of vulnerability and how it may be assessed Responding to the needs of ‘vulnerable’ children Points for discussion

3 ‘Official’ definitions of vulnerability Children with additional needs Children with complex needs

4 “all children and young people are vulnerable by virtue of their age, immaturity and dependence on adults” (Munro, 2011: 135)

5 Three definitions: 1) children at risk of significant harm children at risk of ‘Significant Harm’ in relation to s47 investigations of child protection under the Children Act 1989, for example where the child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm in the form of physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect or an Emergency Protection Order has been used

6 2) Children in need ‘Children in Need’ of support under s17 of the Children Act 1989 which includes all children with disabilities

7 3) Needs of all children and, as outlined in Every Child Matters and the subsequent Children Act 2004, all children have needs in relation to the five key outcomes; Being Healthy; Staying Safe; Enjoying and Achieving; Making a Positive Contribution; Achieving Economic Well Being which should be addressed by universal services

8 Policy Review of Children and Young People (DfES, 2007) low income, or coming from a low socio-economic background low attainment poor social and emotional skills poor parenting low birth weight poor health poor parental mental health; and living in a deprived neighbourhood

9 Areas of need: Health general health, physical development and speech, language and communications development understanding, reasoning and problem solving, participation in learning, education and employment, progress and achievement, aspirations

10 Areas of need: Parents and carers Basic care, ensuring safety and protection Emotional warmth and stability Guidance, boundaries and stimulation

11 Areas of need: Family and environment Family history, functioning and well-being Wider family Housing, employment and financial considerations Social and community elements and resources, including education

12 Assessing vulnerability

13 New Learning from Serious Case Reviews

14 Early Intervention based on the principle that providing support and guidance early, can prevent the escalation of problems and difficulties later (eg: Allen, 2011; Field, 2010; Tickell, 2011) based on knowledge that inequalities interact with each other: poor health in early childhood can lead to poor educational outcomes which reduce chances in labour market and workless adults more likely to suffer ill health (Eisenstadt, 2011).

15 Family Nurse Partnership Research indicates that this early intervention can: Reduce smoking in pregnancy Lead to larger intervals between and fewer subsequent births Fewer accidents A reduction in child abuse and neglect Better language development in children Increases in employment Greater involvement of fathers

16 Inter-professional collaboration Legislation and policy guidance reiterates the importance of and duty to share information across professions The Children Act (1989) The Children Act (2006) Working Together to Safeguard Children (2012)

17 For discussion: How can services address needs? What are the opportunities? And the challenges? How can inter-agency working /integrated service models improve service delivery?


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