The problem the NFGMC is addressing is the prevalence of hidden forms of child abuse in England known as female genital mutilation (FGM), abuse linked to faith or belief, and breast ironing/flattening. The project will scale and spread the NFGMC’s work to date, transferring the learning to high prevalence areas and new harmful practices (HPs). It will implement its new delivery model in social work enabling local authorities (LAs) to provide specialist services to children and families. Social workers, managed by NFGMC, will be located in local authorities’ safeguarding teams with delegated authority or duties. They will intervene early with families, working with teachers and health professionals, to develop long-term safeguarding plans for children at risk, including using FGM protection orders (FGMPOs). The outcomes it is working towards include:
- Reduction of number of children at risk of HPs through the development of effective long term safeguarding plans where parents take an active role;
- Increased identification of hidden forms of abuse by children’s services through delegated authority to voluntary sector provider;
- A skilled specialist model delivers a cost effective service cross-local authority to prevent HPs;
- Increased understanding for parents of the risks of HPs for their children.
Learning to date includes:
- Work by NFGMC workers with families below statutory thresholds uncovered risk and led to safeguarding measures being implemented;
- NFGMC social workers with full delegated authority were able to take responsibility for all aspects of high risk cases and enable local authority (LA) social workers to be allocated to other cases;
- Effective community engagement resulted in NFGMC workers reaching members of potentially-affected communities who might otherwise not have come to the attention of LAs.
This project is an expansion of the National FGM Centre, established in 2015 with Round One Innovation Programme funding, and it is now part funded to 2020.
DfE funded independent evaluation will be published in 2020.