A ground-breaking initiative to place social workers in schools to help keep children safe from exploitation has started in Taunton.
Somerset County Council successfully secured £400,000 from the Department for Education (DfE) as part of the Social Workers in Schools (SWIS) programme. Social workers are now working in secondary schools across Somerset and Tone News understands that two of the schools are here in Taunton.
This is a new way of working to ensure children and young people identified as at risk of exploitation receive effective support from the right people. Social workers will work collaboratively with school colleagues including Designated Safeguarding Leads to support children, young people and their families.
Work will include identifying issues and strengthening our partnership response to exploitation.
Councillor Frances Nicholson, Lead Member for Children’s Services at Somerset County Council, has told Tone News:
I’m delighted that Somerset has been selected for this innovative pilot programme. Through it, children’s social care teams are working with eight identified schools to build good relationships with children and their families to understand their needs and develop effective support and plans.
This way of working provides an opportunity for social care teams and schools to learn more about each other’s roles, and improve the way they work together to ensure there is effective support for the children and young people who need it.
The social workers will support schools to gain confidence in spotting signs of exploitation and responding to safeguarding issues. The programme fits very well indeed with the Council’s existing ways of working with families to improve lives, and I look forward to seeing how it progresses.
More information can be found here on the Somerset County Council website.