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Inter-agency joint protocols for safeguarding children in social care and adult mental-health agencies: a cross-sectional survey of practitioner experiences

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Publication details

JournalChild and Family Social Work
DateE-pub ahead of print - 7 Dec 2011
DatePublished (current) - May 2013
Issue number2
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)149-158
Early online date7/12/11
Original languageEnglish


Parental mental illness, substance misuse and domestic violence are common risk factors for the maltreatment and neglect of children. Safeguarding children is everyone's responsibility, including professionals working primarily with adults. In the UK, Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) were established to ensure that all agencies work together to safeguard children. Many LSCBs developed multi-agency joint protocols to enhance collaboration, but there is limited evidence of their effectiveness.

This paper reports findings from a cross-sectional survey of practitioner self-reported experiences of joint protocols, which was conducted in one inner London borough, to evaluate their impact on professional practice. A self-complete questionnaire administered to all professionals in adult mental-health and children's social care services in the borough yielded a response from 119 practitioners.

The survey found that the protocols had been widely disseminated and provided clear guidance to practitioners. Practitioners perceived that they had increased awareness of the risk factors for safeguarding children and some had used the protocols to help them gain access to services for their clients. Practitioners also perceived that they had improved inter-agency working between children's social care and adult mental-health services. However, respondents indicated that positive interpersonal contact with practitioners from other agencies was equally important in promoting joint working and inter-agency collaboration.

    Research areas

  • collaboration, joint protocol, safeguarding children, inter-agency working

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