Jenny Gray


This paper, drawing on UK and international experiences, suggests that the key components of an effective national system of services to safeguard children from being maltreated have to not only be in place but also functioning effectively in an integrated manner if they are to achieve their aims. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) provides a common international framework for all governments, organisations and professionals to work within. It should be incorporated into domestic legislation, which is supported by national frameworks and protocols that are underpinned by a commitment to multi-disciplinary, multi-agency working. Effective implementation of services that are based on the most up to date evidence requires the allocation of adequate resources, both human and financial. Organisations providing services to children and families require competent staff who have opportunities for training at all levels, including continuing professional development. All staff, no matter how senior, benefit from good quality, regular professional supervision and consultation. Effective data collection systems are required to collect information to support planning the allocation of adequate services to meet the needs of children and families both locally and nationally as well as the evaluation of these services. Research and ongoing evaluation are essential to enhance practitioners, managers and politicians understanding of whether the services being provided are preventing abuse and neglect and protecting children from further harm. The voices of children help keep key stakeholders fully informed about the quality of service provision, and their views provide the best indicators of how well the system is meeting their needs and upholding their rights. Above all it is important that all parts of the system work effectively together and maintain their focus on improving outcomes for children.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.