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Young child protection champions win the London Safeguarding Children Award

Released on 11 December 2012

A project led by young people to raise awareness among their peers about issues which threaten their safety has won the prestigious London Safeguarding Children Award.

Youth Shield, which was nominated by Barnet Safeguarding Children Board, scooped the accolade for their work to give young people a stronger voice on the issues which affect them.

Led by young people from Barnet, Youth Shield have carried out research with hundreds of children and young people to build a detailed picture of child safeguarding in the borough. Youth Shield now act as formal advisers to the local safeguarding children board, highlighting the key issues that currently concern young people - such as peer to peer violence and sexual exploitation.

This information was used to inform the content of training sessions for youth clubs, delivered by members of Youth Shield to help 16-25-year-olds spot early warning signs of abuse, such as controlling behaviour. The young people plan to expand this work into local schools next year, and have also developed advice for their peers on reporting inappropriate behaviour or abuse.

The pioneering London Safeguarding Children Award scheme, which is in its second year, is run by the London Safeguarding Children Board. It highlights innovative ideas and good practice to improve the safeguarding of children across the capital.

The judges were Rosemary Bennett, Social Affairs correspondent at The Times; Amanda Edwards, Deputy Chief Executive at the Social Care Institute for Excellence and chair of the London Safeguarding Children Board, Cheryl Coppell.

Cheryl Coppell said: “The very high standard of entries made it incredibly difficult to choose a winner. The London Safeguarding Children Award is the only accolade of its kind recognising the innovative ideas and teamwork between safeguarding children boards and all the agencies they work with.

“Safeguarding children is a complex and challenging area of work. Social workers and their partners in health, the police and across the voluntary sector do an incredibly difficult job and this award highlights their achievements.

“I would like to congratulate all of the shortlisted nominees and hope their work inspires other child protection teams. Most of all, I would like to congratulate the young people of Youth Shield for their victory in this year’s award. The work they are doing to make sure that the views of children and young people are central to the services that work with them is outstanding, and Barnet should be proud of the achievements of this exceptional group of young people.”

ENDS

The three runners up for the London Safeguarding Children Award are:

  • Moving Parents and Children Together (MPACT) is an eight week programme run in Tower Hamlets to support the families of people who misuse alcohol or drugs. The project looks at how the whole family is affected by a parent’s addiction. It provides a safe place for children to speak openly about the impact that their mum or dad’s alcohol or substance misuse has had on them. The initiative brings groups of families together to share their experiences and support each other as they try and rebuild their relationships.
  • Involved by Right was set up by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in partnership with Barnardo’s and the National Children’s Bureau. It has aims to improve the way children aged seven and above are safeguarded by enabling more of them to participate in child protection conferences. The child is accompanied by an advocate who makes sure young person is kept informed about what is happening and ensures their views are taken into account when decisions are made about their future.
  • The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) in Haringey brings frontline workers from organisations including Haringey council, the police and the NHS together in one room. They pool different pieces of information held by each agency about every child who has been referred. This builds up a bigger picture of the family’s situation and enables them to quickly spot children who are at greater risk of harm than was originally thought and take appropriate action to keep them safe.

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