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Working together for children’s welfare

In 1984 Jasmine Beckford was killed by her stepfather while she was in the care of Brent Social Services Department. The Committee of Inquiry into her death re-emphasised the need for better co-operation between professionals supporting children. The Michael Sieff Foundation took up this challenge by organising meetings of people in a position to act on the inquiry – to recommend and ensure lasting improvements.

Impressive progress has been made in child protection, although the recent deaths of six-year-old Lauren Wright and eight-year-old Victoria Climbié are tragic reminders of the need for further improvements.

Issues examined at Foundation conferences include:

  • specialised training for all involved with children’s welfare
  • ensuring all children complete full schooling and training for jobs
  • communication failure between education and social services
  • children as victims of violence between parents
  • difficulties in residential care for children
  • child sexual exploitation
  • cross-border paedophile activity
  • reform of the youth justice system

New challenges confront the Foundation

The UK imprisons more teenagers than almost any Western European country – often for lack of a stable home or the education and training to get jobs. Three-quarters of imprisoned young men re-offend within two years of release. The recommendations of five consecutive conferences, on preventing offending and other improvements to the criminal justice system, are being vigorously followed up.