New app helps care workers navigate child protection concerns in England
Everyone who works with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe. They must know how to report concerns about physical, emotional or sexual abuse; neglect; trafficking or exploitation so that those concerns can be addressed quickly and appropriately.
According to UK child protection data from National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) one in five children today have experienced serious abuse at some point in their lifetime.
The recent Department for Education guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ states, “Children are best protected when professionals are clear about what is required of them individually, and how they need to work together.”
While safeguarding is familiar territory for those working directly in child protection roles, for others it can be confusing and potentially stressful. For example, registered childminders are often working alone without a designated safeguarding colleague to turn to. The challenge is increased by the fact that arrangements for making a referral often differ slightly between local authorities.
A new mobile app, ‘the Child Protection and Safeguarding App’, uses simple flow diagrams to help professionals in England, without specific child protection expertise, to understand what a child protection concern is, when to report a child protection concern to Children’s Social Care, how to report a concern and what happens after a concern is reported. The app also includes a Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) finder.
Mobile apps can be particularly useful to those in caring professions who often work away from their employer’s primary location without immediate access to other resources and with short bursts of time in which to increase their knowledge.
The app was developed by sector skills council, Skills for Care and Development with co-investment from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills through the Employer Investment Fund.
Development was supported by sector employers and associations including The British Association of Social Workers (BASW), Essex County Council, CareTech Community Services; National Day Nurseries Association; Pre-school Learning Alliance, Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) and Safe Network. The app includes information from the NSPCC and is informed by Working Together to Safeguard Children.
The smartphone app is available now from the Apple App Store and at Playstore.