Safeguarding black and minority ethnic children: Development of safe practice

Funded by the DfE (formerly DfES) Children and Supporting Families grant, 2005–2008

Contact Ratna Dutt

What did the project hope to achieve?

The work supported frontline practitioners and supervisors/managers to develop better practice in safeguarding black and minority ethnic children.

Evidence has suggested that child protection support for black and minority ethnic families is frequently:

  • over-reactive, which can lead to over-representation of black and minority ethnic children for child protection referral
  • under-reactive, which can lead to poor outcomes for black and minority ethnic children, as in the case of the well-publicised deaths of Victoria Climbié (2000), Sukina Hammond (1991), Tyra Henry (1987) and Jasmine Beckford (1985).

Racism, over-reliance on cultural explanations of abuse, and practitioners’ own perceived limitations in working with black and minority ethnic families were identified as key factors that influenced practice in each of these cases.

This project had three aims:

  • To give frontline staff greater confidence and competence in working with a diverse range of children and families.
  • To develop managers’ competence in supporting and supervising frontline staff in the delivery of support.
  • To collect and collate the outcomes of this work and summarise the main findings.

How were these aims fulfilled?

Work was undertaken in six local authorities over a 3-year period, using ‘action learning sets’. These were made up of practitioners/managers from child protection as well as other children’s services and included participants from different ethnic and racial backgrounds.

Each set focused on a structured theme:

  • Frontline staff: The development of best practice to assess safety and welfare needs, and respond to the developmental needs of black and minority ethnic children and families.
  • Supervisors and managers: The development of monitoring triggers to help manage safe practice by frontline staff.

What we produced