On Wednesday I had the pleasure of participating in the launch of the Missing Children Response Self-Assessment Tool. With it came the opportunity to say a big ‘thank you’ to the Children’s Society for hosting the launch and for all those who attended and to all the presenters.
A special ‘thank you’ must go to Iryna Pona, Hannah Chetwynd from the Children’s Society, Hannah who has been so intrinsically involved in the development of this tool along with our own Steve Baguley from the NWG and for their commitment to ensuring this tool was developed.
I would especially like to thank the local children’s partnerships who participated in the Pilots of the Tool and who provided such valuable feedback to inform its development and make it more effective and know the Children’s Society would agree they manage to portray the tool in a way that showed its value to challenging ourselves to see if we can improve our responses.
We were lucky to hear from Alex Bridges, from Southend on Sea talking through their local authority approach and Lynne College from a policing perspective. I felt it was really important to hear the perceptions of both social care and policing, and how it was used to cover issues of both urban and rural areas. The feedback has been very positive and demonstrates the tool acts as a critical friend and asks you questions that you do not always ask yourselves.
Like all self-assessments, the tool will only be as good as the honesty that goes into the discussions and gradings.
Dipping into just parts of the tool will not give you the overall support it has been developed for and the pilot areas as Hannah and Steve observed certainly created some robust, open and challenging discussions which identified some key actions to further enhance local missing responses and for this reason, alone I would encourage all local strategic partnership missing groups to use the tool and go through the process.
If you have any questions/queries/feedback about the Tool there are two email addresses from the Children’s Society and NWG that you can use.
You can sign up to the membership to access many of our resources that NWG host to support the work in tackling the issues of all aspects of exploitation including the missing agenda on the NWG website and take advantage of the different forums you are able to join. I know Hannah and her team have also put a range of resources that might help.
When a child goes missing it is important to recognise that there is something wrong and the missing incident is likely to be a symptom of a cause, being professional curious about the cause when responding to missing episodes is vital in how we safeguard and support children and young people.
As with both the The Children’s Society and NWG Networks focus is always the ultimate beneficiary, therefore the Missing Children Response Self-Assessment Tool is designed to support the enhancement of local responses, challenge ourselves to see if we can improve our responses and ultimately assist vulnerable children and young people to reach their full potential.
Sheila Taylor MBE CEO NWG Network