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Report puts spotlight on earlier detection of neglect in children

NSPCC report highlights need for clearer guidance on child neglect.

A charity has backed calls for clearer guidance to help nurses and midwives spot early signs of neglect in children.

The NSPCC took action after concerns over a lack of resources and training meant vital opportunities to help vulnerable youngsters were being missed.

Its report, Realising the Potential: Tackling Child Neglect in Universal Services, features evidence from 893 health visitors, school nurses, GPs, midwives, teachers and early years’ practitioners.

The report evidence highlights the need for clear role expectations, adequate resources, access to quality training and supervision, as well as funding issues.

It also found that for up to 94% of health practitioners, the only action they take is to refer straight to social workers, which puts undue strain on the system.

The report has the backing of various professional bodies including RCN professional lead in children and young people’s nursing Fiona Smith.

She said: ‘Nursing staff from health visitors to midwives are crucial in identifying and preventing child neglect.

‘The earlier children and their families receive help the better the long-term outcome, which is why this work is so important.

‘Front line practitioners need to have the confidence, knowledge and skills to deliver early help effectively.

‘Training and education is imperative so they can speak to children about these issues, provide support themselves and work with others to provide the best care possible to vulnerable children.’

School and Public Health Nurses Association professional officer Sharon White agreed, adding: ‘This report provides a greater understanding of what works and what we need to happen to enable us to successfully change and challenge the unacceptable levels of neglect experienced by many children, young people and families.’

The report has helped create a new framework called Thriving Communities, which identifies the three key areas as: relationship building, knowledge and awareness and evidence-based responses.

To read Realising the Potential: Tackling Child Neglect in Universal Services click here 

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