The Chair of the Victoria Climbie Foundation (VCF) has highlighted the level of safeguarding risks faced by families for whom English is not a first language.
Public health specialist Jane Cook told delegates at JFHC Live 2013 that safeguarding boards "need to think more about good working practise, excorism, forced marriages, female mutilation".
"When we’re looking at our culture, we often focus on our own set of values and this may influence our assessements," she explained. "We need to talk to communities and try to identify linking themes: trafficked children and ritual oaths, witchcraft and unaccompanied minors.
"It’s an awareness of divertisty and identities as human beings and developing good practice to be able to respond to cultural needs. This influences how we work in communities on a day-to-day basis; it’s not just a workshop - this sort of thinking needs to promoted across nursing and healthcare."
The Queen's nurse also highlighted the importance of multi-agency working and developing service plans that meet the needs of all children.
"Many people feel very alone when asylum seekers and it's important we establish several links in these communities," she added. "It's about working with communities around parenting: educating them on what is acceptable and not in this country; working with families about their rights; breaking down fears and myths and developing positive family engagement."
Impact of homelessness
Cook suggested that the 36% rise in homelessness seen in London over the past year was largely down to a lack of parenting support offered to BME communities.
"When I worked with homeless children they often walked out of the family as it was easier to walk away from a stressful family.
"Homelessness is on the increase, and things like capping universal credit are likely to see that trend continue. If you don’t get it right with children you will see them becoming homeless in the long term with all the negative consequences of that; so getting it right at a young age is crucial."
Our JFHC Live 2013 minisite contains all the highlights from the event; visit www.jfhc.co.uk/jfhc_live_2013.aspx to see videos, presentations, podcasts and more.
Posted 04/04/2013 by firstname.lastname@example.org