Children’s Commissioner to sit on Child Protection Taskforce

| July 9, 2014

Children and Young People





By  Derren Hayes, July 2014

Children’s Commissioner for England Maggie Atkinson and the NSPCC’s director of strategy, policy and evidence Lisa Harker are to sit on an expert panel tasked with developing a new child protection system.

England children’s commissioner Maggie Atkinson is one of a panel of experts that will draw up a new child protection model. Atkinson and Harker are to be board members of the independent taskforce set up by charity Kids Company to come up with a new model of delivering services to vulnerable children and young people. The taskforce is a key element of the charity’s See the Child, MaggieChange the System campaign, launched last month, which aims to bring together children’s professionals, policymakers and the public to forge a groundswell of support for reforming social care and mental health services into what the charity calls a truly child-centred system. Others that have agreed to sit on the taskforce include Peter Fonagy, head of clinical, educational and health psychology at University College London, Dr Peter Green, consultant in child safeguarding for NHS Wandsworth and St Georges Hospital, and Bill Fulford, professor of psychiatry specialising in values-based practice.

The taskforce board will be chaired by Sir Keir Starmer QC, former director of public prosecutions and head of the Crown Prosecution Service, and will also include Derrick Anderson, chief executive of Lambeth Council, and Rowan Williams former Archbishop of Canterbury and current Master of Magdalene College Cambridge. It is envisaged that it will take 18 months for the board to finalise a child protection and social care model, which will then be piloted in one or two local authorities before being expanded.

Kids Company says the See the Child, Change the System campaign is needed because children’s services departments are failing to provide early support to many at-risk children, only intervening once a situation has reached crisis point. It has already received 15,000 signatories to its call for support. Its concerns were prompted by a Centre for Social Justice report that found “staggering” failings in case management by local authorities of 20 vulnerable children, many of who were deemed to be ineligible for support.

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