Safeguarding teams are being set up to protect county’s children

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New safeguarding teams are being formed across the county to protect our little ones from harm.

The project - the first of its kind - has been made possible thanks to a £4.86million grant from the central government’s children’s social care innovation programme to Herts County Council at the start of the year.

It is funding a ground breaking change in the way that the council and its partners approach child protection through new safeguarding teams.

Once these teams are complete, for the first time they will include not just social workers, but mental health professionals, substance misuse specialists and domestic abuse experts.

This ensures any risks are comprehensively assessed as quickly as possible and vulnerable families have immediate access to a range of support and expertise.

Five of these teams have been in operation since April, with six starting in June and the remaining 11 are due to begin at the end of September – thanks to a successful recruitment campaign that has seen 40 social workers and 17 other professionals start work so far.

Councillor Richard Roberts, who oversees children’s services, said: “This new way of working represents a great hope for the future, which is why the government placed its faith in us and why so many social workers are keen to work in Hertfordshire and be part of this exciting venture.

“No other local authority in the country is providing this level of extensive support to families in need, giving hundreds of children a better start in life. We hope it will become a model for other areas of the country to follow.”

Liz Wood, safeguarding service manager for East Herts, Broxbourne and Hatfield, said: “Having the professionals in adult care is enabling children’s social workers to identify the issues within families at a much earlier stage and better tailor support to meet individual needs within the family. We can put in place a programme of support where, for example, someone is speaking to the child, someone else is working with a parent on substance misuse, and someone else is assessing the risks of domestic violence. We are working more in partnership with parents, with simpler plans that they are engaging with better. The feedback from families is that they are finding it much more helpful.”

There are still vacancies for mental health professionals within the teams including psychiatric nurses, junior psychologists, psychological social workers and psychological occupational therapists. If you are interested in applying, please contact Stacey Brewer, Herts HR Resourcing Team, on 01992 556439 or email Stacey.brewer@hertfordshire.gov.uk