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26 January 2022 - 26 January 2022

4:00PM - 5:00PM

This will be a hybrid event. The room location will be confirmed once registered. Online via Zoom.

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Professor Carlene Firmin delivers the seminar 'Green lights, speed bumps and cul-de-sacs: the road to Contextual Safeguarding'

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Professor Carlene Firmin

The concept of ‘Contextual Safeguarding’ was introduced into the UK’s child protection landscape in 2015 to communicate what was required of safeguarding, and specifically social work, systems that had been charged with protecting young people at risk of significant harm in their peer groups, schools and neighbourhoods. Since coining the term ‘Contextual Safeguarding’, Carlene Firmin has overseen a research programme to convert the concept into a framework, and then track it’s translation into a working approach to change child protection systems in England, Wales and Scotland. In this inaugural professorial lecture, Carlene will chart the journey to developing and implementing Contextual Safeguarding. She will outline where progress has been swift; revisions to national policy, buy-in from individual practitioners and local authority test sites; and the introduction of social work activities to assess the welfare of children in the extra-familial contexts where they spend their time. Carlene will also share the features of implementation that have proved most challenging: the development of contextual outcome measures, the introduction of plans that target the social conditions of harm, and the debates about whether abuse that is extra-familial is a child protection or community safety issue. Finally, she will reflect on the times where she, and her colleagues, have needed to pause and reassess what is meant by Contextual Safeguarding; being clear on what a child-welfare approach entails, foregrounding the ethical basis of the work, and grappling with how to address the relationship between structural and contextual drivers of harm. In highlighting these green lights, speed bumps and cul-de-sacs on the road to implementing Contextual Safeguarding, Carlene will identify the ways that that approach rewrites the rules of child protection while also reaffirming the values of social work. She will conclude by identifying what this body of work suggests about the role of social work in safeguarding adolescents from the harm they face beyond their family homes, and will highlight critical issues that require resolution for the approach to be sustained in the UK and beyond.

This session will take place in-person and online, however, there are only a limited number of in-person tickets available.

Please note: last minute changes in regulations may require the event to move to online only. Any change of circumstance will be communicated at the earliest opportunity.

Bookings will close on 26th January, 12pm (unless we reach capacity beforehand).