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1 Strategies to better safeguard children in highly diverse communities Research undertaken for Tower Hamlets LSCB.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Strategies to better safeguard children in highly diverse communities Research undertaken for Tower Hamlets LSCB."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Strategies to better safeguard children in highly diverse communities Research undertaken for Tower Hamlets LSCB

2 2 The commission To review the approaches taken by LBTH in meeting the safeguarding needs of BME children and young people; and to identify possible developments for the future.

3 3 The concerns Possible under and over representation of children from some ethnic groups in referrals to social care, amongst those subject to a child protection plan and those in care. Are we doing the right things to safeguard all Tower Hamlets children equally well? Are we doing them well enough?

4 4 The research approach This was a 4 month research project in 2 phases: Initial intelligence gathering interviews, data analysis and a literature review Interviews with 31 informants from Childrens Services and the voluntary & community sector Research team from Coram and DMSS

5 5 The demographics The overall LBTH population is 51% white, 34% Bangladeshi and 15% other ethnic groups GLA Projections for 2009 estimate that in the under 19 population – 60% are Bangladeshi – 23% are white – 17% are from other ethnic groups

6 6 The statistics Problematic due to: Population data Small numbers Some poor recording of ethnic group Therefore tentative conclusion: Bangladeshi children are slightly under-represented in referrals, those subject to a CP plan and in care. White children are over-represented in care and slightly under-represented in referrals. But what does this mean?

7 7 The evidence base Possible factors contributing to the differential representation of BME children within the child protection system: Poverty and social exclusion Discrimination and institutional racism Theoretical perspectives within social work Denial of some forms of harm (e.g. sexual abuse, domestic violence) Cultural variations in child rearing practices

8 8 Findings 1 What works in Tower Hamlets Established commitment and cultural competence The development of the Muslim Safeguarding Children Coordinator and the African Families Service Strong links with faith organisations Progress towards a workforce that reflects the community Progress on domestic violence services, private fostering, and some harmful traditional practices Inter-departmental cooperation Systematic use of ethnic monitoring data

9 9 Lessons from the work of the Muslim Childrens Safeguarding Coordinator and the African Families Service Whats worked? Building relationships with Imams and Pastors: working through mosques and churches Community seminars and conferences Case consultation Support from senior management Collaborative, committed coordinator Future needs Outreach directly to Muslim women both within the Bangladeshi and Somali communities Providing more basic safeguarding information More culturally aware parenting support Attention to structure, strategy and remit

10 10 Findings 2 Barriers - especially for smaller/newer communities Fears and anxieties Legal status Language Workforce representation Use of the voluntary sector

11 11 Findings 3 Issues and unmet needs Domestic violence (identified in 58% of safeguarding cases) Gender, generation, identity and culture Children in care (75% placed out-of-borough) Abusive practices linked to beliefs

12 12 Recommendations - 1 1.A more integrated approach to meeting the needs of all BME communities: With additional resources to: Achieve greater involvement of Muslim women Reach Somali, Chinese and Vietnamese communities, and smaller and newer Reach out through other routes than faith organisations

13 13 Recommendations - 2 2.The development of a joint strategy for domestic violence work. 3.Ensuring a joined up approach between safeguarding and parenting support to BME families 4.Improving data collection

14 14 Recommendations - 3 LBTH should also consider: Training for new staff on BME issues Improving interpreting provision - especially access to interpreting in emergency situations Employing staff from a wider range of communities Better mental health provision for children and young people in care – especially asylum seekers. Sustain good progress on private foster care Wider dialogue with BME communities about why children go into care and what happens to them there. Recruit and support more foster and adoptive parents from different communities

15 15 The conclusion Strategies to better safeguard children in highly diverse communities need to Draw on reliable evidence Develop formal & informal networks Think ethnicity, faith, gender & generation Ensure support from the top Aim for a workforce reflecting the community Design an an integrated strategy to address diverse communities – while working with individual communities

16 16 Thank you for listening For further information, please contact: or

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