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Integrated local children's services

Discussion paper | July 2011

This short paper on the importance of integrating local children`s services represents the personal view of Professor Keith Moultrie but draws on more than 15 years of research by the Institute of Public Care (IPC). Its central argument is that in the current climate schools and partner organisations in areas such as social care and community health must redouble their efforts to jointly build better support for the most vulnerable families in their area, both in terms of early help to prevent complex problems developing and intensive, focused intervention where such problems already exist.

Identifying a danger that support to vulnerable children will diminish given limited financial resources and current government policy towards greater school autonomy on how those resources are spent, Professor Moultrie warns of a ‘vicious circle’ comprising “separate agendas, referral on, exclusion and blame between agencies”. The paper then sets out the conditions for a contrasting ‘virtuous circle’, built round “mature and constructive relationships between key professionals”. It identifies key factors, such as:

  • Commitment by schools and other universal community services to support as many children as possible
  • Commitment by local agencies to work together to identify families with emerging problems
  • Commitment by specialist services such as social work and mental health to provide accessible support to schools

Finally, the paper sets out some of the characteristics of effective intervention, the importance of a sound evidence base for them, and examples of successful local initiatives identified by the IPC.

For further information please contact Keith Moultrie at IPC


Tel: 01225 484088