Safeguarding concerns

Ofsted has warned there are 'shortcomings' in the safeguarding of children under the age of one...

There are ‘shortcomings’ in the safeguarding of children under the age of one, Ofsted has warned in a report published at the end of October last year. Ages of Concern: learning lessons from serious case reviews identifies a worrying number of serious incidents in which very young children were involved, and also highlights failings both in the timeliness and quality of pre-birth assessments.

Ofsted picks out the role of parents - including the support they receive, their relationship with agencies and the involvement of fathers - as crucial factors in the safeguarding of babies, and suggests that agencies have been guilty of repeatedly underestimating the risks posed by parents’ background and lifestyle. It also notes that on occasion the needs of mothers have been put before those of their children, and comments on the inadequate support available for teenage parents.

In the case of babies, the report goes on to say, health agencies are sometimes the only agency involved with families; its recommendation is for better coordination between the different aspects of provision involved in the safeguarding of suchchildren, and for improvements to the assessment process, so that all sources of information are considered.