Helping local authority safeguarding services engage with men in families

22 May 2012

Mark Osborn writes: Working with the Family Rights Group, we are funded through the DfE’s Voluntary and Community Sector grant to support local authority safeguarding services to engage more effectively with fathers and other men in families.

This work will address a need referenced in the Munro Review Final Report (2011), and build on the growing knowledge base and understanding about how to engage better with fathers where there are child welfare and safety concerns.

What’s needed is a cultural shift, which must happen within a complex structure – so we need a multilayered, systemic approach engaging at strategic, managerial and practitioner levels.

With this in mind, we’re working with six local authorities to audit existing policy and practice and then develop and test a broad package of sustainable resources, consultancy and training (including an e-learning package), aimed at building stronger local safeguarding strategies, policies, procedures and practice for engaging with, assessing and supporting men both as risks and resources in the lives of their children.

Our work and the resources we’re producing have been developed to include a multi-agency perspective. The project is supported and steered by a Project Advisory Group including expert practitioners, representatives from participating authorities and academic advisors.

About the e-learning package

The e-learning training package has 3 specific audiences: senior/strategic managers, managers and team leaders and practitioners. It encourages a reflective approach, allowing practitioners to audit their own practice, and aims to enhance understanding of the need to engage more effectively with fathers and other men in child protection work. It will also enable learners to identify and develop strategies for embedding effective work with men in mainstream practice; it may potentially feature a community platform through which to share evolving practice.

So as to support a learning culture beyond the training, we aim to create the appropriate environment to support this at local authority level – including through supervision, team meetings, performance management, data collection and peer support through action learning sets.

To find out more, email Mark Osborn or call on 07920 428 139.




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