The project, proposed and delivered by NSPCC and Action for Children, will develop a stronger national approach to ensure neglected children get the help they need. This includes more timely identification, training for multi-disciplinary frontline professionals, adoption of evidence-based tools, and provision of effective responses to all children where there are concerns about neglect.
The project will build on existing knowledge, resources and expertise on child neglect and recommendations will be made to the Welsh Government on how to improve multi-agency responses to address child neglect in Wales.
Neglect accounts for almost half of children with a child protection plan in Wales. Responses to neglect need to be proportionate and a better understanding of the distinction between unintentional neglect, which often results from poor parenting skills, and wilful neglect which requires the involvement of social services, is required.
One of the key findings of research into neglect has been that most cases were referred to social services, but where cases were thought to be low priority (unintentional neglect) little support or intervention was provided. In many cases of unintentional neglect, especially those linked to poor parenting, better outcomes could be achieved by multi-agency action in early intervention programmes rather than referrals to social services.
Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Health and Social Services, said:
“Neglect continues to be the most common reason for a child protection referral in the UK and we must address this.
“This project by the NSPCC and Action for Children will complement the new structure of Safeguarding Children Boards to be established via the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill and will help strengthen multi-agency engagement and a more consistent approach.
“This project should link with the preventative work being delivered through other early intervention programmes which work with families, especially through Families First and Flying Start. This way, only critical cases are referred to social services, while other support can be provided to families when required.”