Establishing strong bonds of common partnership working and training are some of the key elements to establishing a successful MASH project, said Marisa de Jager, a safeguarding expert.
De Jager, one of the MASH project managers for the London Borough of Lewisham, explained how sharing the language of all the different agencies involved in a MASH project is vital to quickly establishing a common language and professional jargon for the specialist team.
She added that the improved analysis facilitated by MASH enables quick decisions to be made so that “Every multi-agency safeguarding enquiry will have an outcome.” However she was keen to add the caveat that although every CAF referred to the MASH team is investigated, not every MASH case warrants further investigation.
However one recent successful MASH case involved a three year old being identified as being at risk within the borough. According to de Jager her parents were separated and her mother raised a concern that she felt her child was at risk of abuse while staying at her father’s due to many frequent male visitors. While a conventional safeguarding investigation might have resulted in the case being dismissed as the normal domestic haggling which occurs during a hostile separation, a MASH enquiry established the father’s place of residence as being the centre of an established paedophile ring. The child was removed from the place of risk and taken into temporary foster care.
The Lewisham MASH project is comprised of seven safeguarding nurses, nine police officers, five early intervention workers, five referral and assessment team managers and two probation officers. De Jager herself has a social work background.