Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 2B: Approach to multi-agency assessment in child protection 79 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 2.255 The approach only works well if there is careful preparation; skilled independent co‑ordination; adherence to the principle of private family time; and commitment by services involved to support and follow up in partnership. The approach does not work well if the interface with other statutory and decision-making processes is not carefully considered and explained. Great care is needed in appropriate referral, preparation and conduct of meetings to prioritise the physical and emotional safety of participants before, during and after FGDM processes, taking in to account the potential for and impact of coercive control. 2.256 Leadership, training, supervision and resource are needed to ensure that the skills, values and distinctively effective elements within such approaches are understood and applied by the relevant workforce. 2.257 A practice insight on this topic has been drafted to illustrate and explain key practice considerations, offer a resource, prompt reflection and signpost selected sources. It can be found in the Practice Insights supporting document alongside this Guidance. 2.258 Context of harm. Child protection includes recognition, assessment and reduction of risk of harm from outside the family home where this is relevant. Understanding contextual harm or protective factors involves considering safety, risks and stresses within or faced by a family, especially from the child’s perspective. Contextual safeguarding 2.259 ‘Contextual safeguarding’ is an ecological approach which complements the use of the My World Triangle and the concept of resilience. There are principles and tools within this evolving approach which may add depth to understanding and response, particularly in relation to risks and harm young people face beyond the family home. This does not deflect from core child protection steps described in Part 3 of this Guidance. Contextual safeguarding emphasises: • exploration of the dynamic between a young person, their family, peers, school context, and areas in their neighbourhood where they spend time, when assessing their needs and developing plans to meet them • recognition of the increasing ‘weight of influence’ that peer relationships, and other extra-familial factors, may have during adolescence, and the relevance of this for young people’s experiences of harm and safety • a shift in focus towards the contexts in which young people make ‘choices’ or ‘behave’ – so that plans seek to create the conditions in which young people can make safer choices rather than simply focusing on changing young people’s behaviour in persistently harmful contexts • the development of interventions that address the social conditions/environmental drivers of extra-familial risk and harm. This can be combined with support to individual young people and families. Such an approach can create safety for those identified as being at risk of significant harm in extra-familial contexts alongside broader populations of young people who spend time in those contexts