Working Alongside Parents Seminar – 16th May 2017

Not even an unexploded World War 2 bomb near Spaghetti Junction could deter delegates getting to the venue for the Working Alongside Parents Seminar, even though it took some people hours and hours to get there, such was the determination to attend and actively contribute to a seminar dedicated to putting parents at the forefront.

The parents seminar day was a partnership between NWG, PACE, parents and organisations from across England representing a range of sectors .  There was also a presentation from Empower from Croydon.  Three parents from PACE narrated their powerful stories which for many was the most significant part of the day and challenged delegates to consider service practice. To have parents and professionals working side by side in the discussions was extremely positive and there was a real passion to listen to parent’s stories, hear about local practice and ways of working. As with all good forums the parents seminar ran out of time!

Some of the emerging themes from the day included:

Rapid response from services early on

  • Are we sharing the right information / joining up?
  • Work alongside family from the start.
  • Concerns to be listened to and acted on.

Information for parents

  • Have right information for parents at the right time.

Language

  • Blaming language and judgement still being used against families.

Consistent person

  • Importance of having a professional who listens, doesn’t judge, acts on decisions made and is a constant. Effective relationship building.

Awareness Raising

  • Schools are pivotal area to engage with parents but need to be more creative and flexible about how we reach parents and think outside box.
  • Need to build social capita within communities, grassroots up.
  • Need for work in rural areas/isolated

Training

  • Training for staff – not fit for purpose.  Parents voice and engagement to be part of this
  • Where is the parents voice and how are they enabled to do this?  Services to be aware of the voice of the perpetrator when a child is groomed or exploited.
  • Trauma informed work needed – Staff to be trained in this.

Integrated approach to include parents as active partners

  • Different approach needed. Cultural shift needed that moves away from traditional Child Protection model and looks instead as the parent being part of the solution and integral to safeguarding.  Need to challenge language, behaviour and decision making that disempowers parents. Little support for parents.

Court Process – prior, during and afterwards

  • Court processes – parents and family need support during and afterwards especially as professionals drop off.

Parent Forums

  • There was interest to develop these as well as discussions around risk, safety and alleviating concerns. Balance of risk against benefits for parents.

Next Steps:

We are planning on organising a working group to look at what we can develop nationally that can assist Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards (LSCBs) in engaging with parents as an integral partner in tackling Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). This will also involve parents from the PACE Parent Action Group but we are also very keen to involve other professionals, parents and agencies who have valuable knowledge and skills to share in the working group.

If you are interested in being part of this vital work, especially if you have a CSE strategic role in your organisation or commissioning role, then please email maria@nwgnetwork.org or contact Maria on 01332 585 371