Thresholds and safeguarding
Bournemouth and Poole LSCB
Susannah Bowyer
research in practice
Prompt topic briefings
2010 Prompt 7 Thresholds for Children's Social Care
2009 Prompt 6 Parent and baby assessment placements
2009: Prompt 5 The Path to Independence: supporting
young people move towards emotional, financial and
practical independence
2008: Prompt 4 Effective targeting
2008: Prompt 3 Multi-professional working: distinct
professional identities in multi-professional teams
2007: Prompt 2 Children on the edge of care: Intensive
Family Preservation Services and Family Intervention
2007: Prompt 1 Improving educational outcomes for
looked after children
Safeguarding –’everyone’s
‘sustained tug of war between child protection
and child welfare’ (Tunstill 1996: 152)
Particular tensions between:
Top end of tier 2 and the bottom end of tier 3,
with operational definitions for S17 higher than
the top end of CAF’s definition of vulnerability’
Cases coming down from statutory involvement
Child protection ‘rarely comes
labelled as such’
The preoccupation with
Thresholds (Brandon et al 2008)
Other selected findings from
biennial analysis:
47% of the SCRs concerned children less than
one year old
‘The theme of older adolescents who were very
difficult to help emerged powerfully’ from the
Long term neglect cases rarely met the
threshold for formal child protection services
The ‘start again syndrome’ is a common feature
in long term neglect cases
There was a lack of parental cooperation in
more than two thirds of the 47 intensive sample
The challenge of neglect
Although 68% of children in cases subject to a
CPP are registered under the category of
neglect, many more cases do not meet the
threshold criteria for CP work
This situation is exacerbated by the ‘incident
focus’ of child protection decision making
The direction of travel of the last few years is
supported by research evidence as the right
one. Inevitably, more effective identification of
need and safeguarding concerns leads to
increased demand on services
Maltreated children in the looked
after system (Wade et al 2010)
Comparison study of those who went home and
those remaining lac
Outcomes for those remaining lac were better
in terms of stability and well-being
Especially marked for neglected and
emotionally abused children
Decisions to reunify should be
based on (Wade et al 2010):
Careful assessment including clear evidence of
sustained change in parenting capacity
Provision of support services often at quite high
intensities, will be needed to support successful
Where reunification failed, there were often
early signs. Speedy decision-making is needed
where home placements are in difficulty to
reduce likelihood of further harm
A preoccupation with thresholds is not
conducive to joined-up working across a
safeguarding continuum
The grey area between a NFA decision by
children’s social care and CAF working must be
clarified to address the issue of families
bouncing off the CSC threshold repeatedly until
they break through it
New and upcoming resources:
elearning on neglect (Spring 2011)
Partnership conference: Serious Case Reviews.
30th November London
Domestic Abuse: the impact on children and
young people. 15th March Manchester
Research messages workshop: Neglect:
Recognition and response. 4th November
Safeguarding in the 21st Century (Barlow and
Scott 2010)
DfE neglect resources (Spring 2010)
contact details:
Bournemouth Link Officer
Lin McCormack
[email protected]
[email protected]

- Bournemouth & Poole LSCB