Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Child and Family Research

Safeguarding & promoting the wellbeing of children in need

Development and feasibility study of a pre-birth assessment model for use where there are concerns that an unborn child is likely to suffer significant harm

The Centre for Child and Family Research, Loughborough University in collaboration with Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) with funding from the Department for Education have undertaken a programme of work in relation to pre-birth risk assessments.       

The Children Act 1989 places a duty on local authorities to promote and safeguard the welfare of children in need in their area.  The implementation of these duties requires that local authorities undertake assessments to provide a comprehensive understanding of a child’s circumstances and needs.  In cases where abuse and neglect are suspected, the local authority must make enquiries to establish whether there is a need for further action to protect the child’s welfare.  The findings of a number of recent Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) suggests that both death and injury to babies could have been prevented if a protection plan had been formulated prior to the birth, highlighting the importance of assessments pre-birth (Brandon et al., 2012; Hodson, 2011; Hart, 2001).  The implementation of these enquires during the pre-natal period using a pre-birth assessment therefore provides the opportunity to safeguard the welfare of a child during pregnancy and beyond.

The aim of this research was to:

 

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