Dont have an account?Sign up here
10 February 2012
Home-Start UK chief executive Kay Bews says:
"The unprecedented numbers of children being taken into care is only one part of the developing picture of supporting families with complex needs.
"Volunteers such as Home-Start's are also now playing a bigger role, including working with families facing issues of domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health.
"The high levels of need and complexity which can lead to children being neglected and in some circumstances being taken into care is a situation recognised by Home-Start every day.
"In order to work effectively with vulnerable families, our volunteers require high levels of training and supervision. Their support for a family is supplemented by skilled professional Home-Start staff and through working closely with other agencies.
"If supported early enough, in a trusting relationship that is there for as long as it is needed, families' and children's lives can change. And last year more than 1000 children in families supported by Home-Start came off the child protection register. If we fail to provide earlier support and on-going help later on then more children will be taken into care."
"We know that families do need specialist and targeted help in relation to issues such as mental health needs, substance abuse and the protection of services such as refuges. And this experience is underpinned by recent research. However, in a climate where these services, including those of local Home-Starts, are being cut back or lost it is inevitable that more parents will not cope and that their children will suffer. This could result in further children being taken into care.
We know that multi-agency work can work for some of the most vulnerable families and for the children within them. But it must be resourced adequately. We are seeing change and reduction in so many of the local voluntary and statutory services that our communities need, including radical proposals for the NHS. To safeguard our children, the parents of tomorrow, we must ensure that the effectiveness of multi-agency working is not impeded further today.