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Introduction

information

The Safeguarding, Care and Quality Assurance team consists of:

  • Independent Reviewing Officers for Children Looked After
  • Child Protection Chairs  – known as CP chairs
  • Children’s Advocacy service

In Somerset, Independent Reviewing Officers and Child Protection Chairs are referred to as Independent Safeguarding Reviewing Officers (ISROs). ISROs and advocates are committed to achieving the best outcomes for all children and young people in Somerset. They do this through participation, support, review and challenge.

Our service covers:

  • chairing Children’s Child Protection Conferences and Independent review of Child Protection planning for children
  • chairing review meetings and independent review of planning for Children Looked After
  • advocating for children’s rights
  • independent advocates for children
  • independent visitors for Children Looked After
  • attendance at relevant meetings to support good planning for children
  • advice and guidance to children, parents, carers and professionals
  • facilitating multi-agency child protection safeguarding training
  • facilitating advocacy training for children’s advocates and independent visitors

Our vision and values

Our vision is to promote, and support child centred, high-quality social work practice, that ensures the best possible outcomes for children.

We will achieve this by:

  • building and maintaining positive working relationships with children, families and other professionals
  • the rigorous scrutiny of practice and care planning
  • promoting best practices through positive feedback and challenge

As a team, we will make the best use of resources and technology for maximum impact and value.

In all aspects of our work, we will promote and adhere to the following values:

  • put the child at the centre of what we do
  • support parents to take responsibility for their future and the future of their children
  • take our role as corporate parents seriously
  • work with our children in care as though they are our own, and constantly ask ‘Would this be good enough for my child?’
  • act with professional generosity to our colleagues within Children’s Social Care and to our external partners
  • share our knowledge and experience freely
  • be honest with colleagues and each other about the quality of social work practice that we encounter

All our Practice Standards are underpinned by a value base which promotes care and respect for children, young people, families and colleagues.

Child Protection

 Child Protection Conference

A Child Protection Conference is not about taking children away from their parents. It is a meeting that is held when one of the following believes the child is at risk of significant harm:

  • social worker
  • teacher
  • health visitor
  • a nurse
  • the police
  • any other professional who knows a child

They may feel that extra support is needed for the child and family to make sure the child’s is safe.

The meeting will be chaired by someone called a child protection chair. Their job is to make sure that any decisions reached, or plans made at the child protection conference is done fairly and that everyone, including the child, has a chance to have their say.

The purpose of the conference is to make sure that everyone fully understands the worries for the child and is clear about the things that are going well.

Who attends the meeting

Children who have some understanding of the worries are able to attend their meetings if they want to.

If children want to come to their meetings, they will be able to attend some or all of the meetings. It is important that people know how children and young people feel about what is happening in their life. Children and young people will be offered an advocate who will meet with them to understand their views and who will attend the conference on their behalf or with them.

Parents and carers who look after the children will come to the conference. Anyone involved in a child’s care will be invited.

Any people working with the child and family will be invited. Professionals such as the police and doctor will also be invited, even if they have not directly worked with the child or family.

What happens at the meeting

Before the meeting starts, the child protection chair will meet the young person if they attend and will meet with parents or carers. The Child protection chair will go through how the conference will be run.

You can ask any questions about the meeting and let the child protection chair know if you need any support so you can attend and take part in all of the meetings.

All the information shared at the meeting will be recorded on a whiteboard:

  • what we are worried about now, including the impact on the child
  • complicating factors
  • what’s going well
  • signs of safety
  • what needs to happen – The Plan

The meeting will decide what needs to happen to keep the children safe.

What happens after the meeting

After the meeting, there will be regular meetings with Children’s Social Care to look at any other help that the child and their family may need.

The child’s social worker and the child protection chair will explain the purpose of these meetings and agree on the dates with you and other professionals at the end of the conference.

Route1 Advocacy – Child Protection and Children Looked After

Route1 offers advocacy services to all children and young people who are involved with Somerset Children’s Services. Its purpose is to enable and empower them to have a voice and participate in any decision-making process.

Route1 work to ensure that the rights of children and young people receiving services from Somerset Children’s Services are upheld in accordance with the Children Act 1989, Children Leaving Care Act 2000, The Care standards Act 2001, The Adoption and Children Act 2002, Children Act 2004, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1991 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

Advocates

  • can help any child aged 4 years and above to share their wishes and feelings at any meeting concerning child protection
  • their role is to enable and empower children and young people to have a voice when meetings are taking place concerning their care
  • is independent of children services and they can only present the child’s or young person’s views
  • have no say in any decision-making
  • will listen carefully and make sure that people who make decisions about the child or young person’s life listen to what the child or young person has to say
  • work for children and young people and no one else

Advocacy services apply to

  • Initial Child Protection conferences
  • Child Protection reviews
  • Child in Need meetings
  • Core group meetings
  • Children Looked After reviews
  • Disruption meetings
  • Transfer conferences
  • Family Group conferences
  • Advice and assistance
  • Complaints

Your social worker should ask you whether an advocate is required or you can email Route1advocacy@somerset.gov.uk or phone 01749 822801.

To find out more, visit Route1 Advocacy.

Last reviewed: March 15, 2024 by Neil

Next review due: September 15, 2024

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