Support the #Respect4SocialWork campaign today and celebrate the social work profession.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Lords committee to investigate child vulnerability

The House of Lords Select Committee on Public Services has launched an inquiry into the role of public services in addressing child vulnerability.

The inquiry follows its first report, ‘A critical juncture for public services: lessons from COVID-19’, published in November which included a number of findings on children and public services and will focus on public services for children, parents, guardians and families in England.

It found a historical lack of support for early intervention and preventative services has widened the education attainment gap for disadvantaged children and led many families who were struggling with addiction, domestic violence and mental health to “crisis point”.
Inadequate integration between public services has meant that vulnerable children do not receive the support that they need. Many are “invisible” to public services. Public services working with children and families are often unwilling or unable to share data, and struggle to understand the legal basis for sharing information about vulnerable children.

During the COVID-19 pandemic the crisis in child vulnerability accelerated, and the number of vulnerable children “invisible” to services increased significantly.

The committee’s second inquiry into the role of public services in addressing child vulnerability will follow up on these concerns and ask whether reforming public services can address the growing problem of child vulnerability. The inquiry will cover how public services support mothers and families during pregnancy, and how they support children in their early years and school years.

“The inquiry will focus on public services for children, parents, guardians and families in England. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, responsibility for many public services rests with the devolved administrations, and it is the role of the devolved parliaments to scrutinise public services there. However, the Committee hopes to learn from best practice in the devolved jurisdictions, both to draw comparisons and apply lessons learnt,” said a statement from the committee.

The committee recognises that child vulnerability comes in many forms, and their focus includes, but is not limited to:

- Children with special educational needs, disabilities and poor mental or physical health

- Young carers

- Children at risk of or experiencing neglect or abuse

- Children at risk of or experiencing one or more components of the toxic trio – domestic abuse, substance misuse or parental mental ill health

- Children living in deprivation

- Children unable to access technology

- Children in care

- Children at risk of or experiencing criminal exploitation, such as gang involvement or county lines

- Children experiencing homelessness or poor housing conditions;

- Children at risk of any other serious harm.

The inquiry will consider public services in the broadest possible sense and will explore community-level initiatives and the role of the private, voluntary and charitable sectors in the delivery of services to children and families. The Committee is especially interested in collaboration, or lack thereof, between local authorities, social services, the voluntary sector, the NHS, the education sector, the police and other public services working with children and families.

The committee is making a call for evidence and is seeking views around the following questions:

How is child vulnerability best defined?

How well do public services address underlying causes of child vulnerability within families, such as domestic abuse, mental ill health and addiction?

How should central government coordinate public services to support vulnerable children to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic?

How well does central government coordinate the activities of the various government departments working with vulnerable children, parents, guardians and families?

How should central government work with public service providers to integrate public services to meet the needs of vulnerable children, parents, guardians and families?

Do vulnerable children, parents, guardians and families receive sufficient support from early intervention and preventative services? If not, how might such support be improved?

Can early intervention and prevention deliver more efficient and effective public services?

At the local level, where does responsibility rest for addressing cross-cutting issues that affect children’s vulnerability, such as parental mental health, addiction and domestic abuse issues?

At the local level, where does responsibility rest for addressing cross-cutting issues that affect children’s vulnerability, such as parental mental health, addiction and domestic abuse issues?

How are those who are responsible for such issues held to account, and how might such accountability be improved?

What practical steps can the government and providers of public services take to encourage different agencies – such as NHS bodies, councils, schools and the police – to share data that helps keep vulnerable children safe, and to support early intervention and preventative services?

How effectively do statutory services collaborate with the voluntary sector and community groups to support vulnerable children and their families? Could such collaboration be improved?

The government has stated its ambition to ‘level-up’ under-performing regions. How could the government’s ‘leveling-up’ agenda address regional and local disparities in children’s education, health and wellbeing outcomes?

The committee is interested in hearing about policy responses to the problems facing vulnerable children, parents, guardians and families. Please include practical solutions to the issues that you identify in your written evidence.

The questions are intended to provide a framework for those who wish to offer their views but respondents do not need to answer all of the questions, just those that are relevant.

Anyone wanting to respond can contact the committee team at HLPUBLICSERVICES@parliament.uk.


Working Together For Children

Make an enquiry

A multi-disciplinary organisation providing independent, high quality social work, psychological, psychiatric, therapeutic and family support services. Contact us with your requirements and speak to a member of our team who will help you today.
Make an Enquiry

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Specialist residential schools to be investigated by Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel

25/01/2022

Three specialist residential schools in Doncaster are to be investigated by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.

Annie Hudson

Fullerton House, Wilsic Hall and Wheatley House specialist, independent residential schools are to be subjected to a national investigation by the Panel following allegations of abuse.

Annie Hudson, Chair of the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, outlined plans [...]

Read Full Story

MPs: Draft Online Safety Bill is not clear or robust enough

25/01/2022

The government’s draft Online Safety Bill in its current form is neither clear nor robust enough to tackle certain types of illegal and harmful content on user-to-user and search services, MPs have warned.

The Digital, Culture Media and Sports committee is urging the government to address types of content that are technically legal by [...]

Read Full Story

Trauma Informed Care varies widely across children’s social care

24/01/2022

Trauma informed activities rarely lead to evidence-based treatments, a study by the Early Intervention Foundation has found.

Trauma Informed Care practice varied widely across children’s social care services, with no two teams offering the same components, or attending the same training. Furthermore, the study found that TIC activities rarely led to evidence-based treatments but were [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us
WP Quality Assured

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram