Guidance on risk indicators released

The government has drawn up a list of risk factors that could alert
professionals to children that are in danger of developing social

The list is included in interim guidance to local authorities on
how to develop and implement local prevention strategies for
children and young people as part of a plan to improve
identification, referral and tracking of those who are at risk of
long-term “negative” outcomes.

It includes such indicators as truancy, bullying, poor educational
achievement, alcohol and drug use, low self-esteem, physical
illness, being socially isolated and smoking. Wider factors include
domestic violence, paternal family convictions, inadequate housing
and difficult economic conditions at home.

Children from families with more than four children, of lone
parents or whose mother is aged between 16 and 24 are also deemed
to be more at risk. Disadvantaged groups such as asylum seeker and
ethnic minority children, those in care, the disabled, and babies
born with low birth weights are also highlighted.

Local prevention strategies will focus on developing joint working
between all council departments and identify priority areas for
improvement so that early intervention and support can avoid
problems developing in later life. Service users, agencies that
work with children, and all council departments will be involved in
developing and agreeing the strategies by April 2003. 

– Interim guidance from website

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