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The four domains of Contextual Safeguarding (CS) have provided the framework for what we are doing to respond to extra-familial harm (EFH). The evidence in this book indicates that they may not always provide enough of a framework to protect against problematic practice within child protection. In response, the five values of CS provide guidance on how we can do CS. Drawing on bell hooks’s (2001) love ethic, this chapter explores the five values of CS: collaboration, ecological, rights-based, strengths-based and evidence-informed, arguing that CS aims to create societies where children can know love. Drawing on findings from each chapter, it explores the need for love to be shown towards children impacted by EFH and practitioners working to protect them.

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How do we respond to harm faced by young people beyond their front doors? Can practitioners keep young people safe at school, in their neighbourhoods or with their friends when social care systems are designed to work with families?

The Contextual Safeguarding approach has transformed how policy makers, social care leaders, practitioners and researchers understand harm that happens to young people in their communities and what is required to respond. Since 2015 it has been tested across the UK and internationally. This book shares stories from child sexual exploitation, child criminal exploitation and peer violence about what has been learnt on this journey.

For anyone interested in how we safeguard young people beyond their front doors, this book shows how much we have achieved and raises big questions about what more we need to do to ensure young people are safe – whatever the context.

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Contextual Safeguarding (CS) has been shaped and primarily implemented in England and Wales, yet the issues it confronts are not unique to the UK. The CS team have begun to explore the applicability of the CS frameworks through their international research programmes. Drawing on a literature-scoping review, this chapter outlines some of the key challenges and opportunities of responding to extra-familial harm (EFH) in European contexts. It begins by describing the context of EFH in Europe and the challenges of responding, including the child protection system, partnership working and care provisions. The chapter finishes by outlining some of the ways that a CS framework could be beneficial within European jurisdictions.

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As an increasing number of children’s services departments and voluntary sector organisations adopt Contextual Safeguarding (CS), efforts to evaluate its impact are developing. In this chapter, we will outline three different approaches taken to evaluating contextually oriented systems and interventions and reflect upon the cultural as well as practical changes that have been required to accurately capture the different impacts of this new framework.

We draw on three projects for this exploration, discussing the reasons for taking the particular approach on each occasion and some of the complexities encountered. The first study attempted to evaluate a whole-systems pilot of CS within a children’s social care department, combining standardised evaluation tools, outcome measures and qualitative inquiry to establish the extent of implementation and its impact on young people. The second sought to track the process of implementing CS and its impact on system capability (rather than on individual young people) via a system review method trialled in ten children’s services departments. The third reviewed and revised outcome measures being used by a youth justice prevention service which had been tasked with creating safety in peer groups, schools and public places associated with serious youth violence.

Drawing on themes shared across these three studies, we propose core components for measuring contextual practices in the future in ways that are meaningful as well as feasible. We surface the further work that is still required, particularly in collaboration with young people, parents and their wider communities, to agree definitions and measurements for contextual safety. We close the chapter by arguing that until these developments are realised, organisations and systems will continue to struggle to implement the fourth domain of the CS framework.

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In this chapter, we contextualise children’s social care within wider historical oppressive processes and systems built on legacies of colonialism and imperialism. As Contextual Safeguarding (CS) gains international attention, it is important that we speak to the ongoing impact of these legacies, how they inform historical and contemporary social care practice and what this means for CS as an approach that seeks to achieve reform in this area. We explore the opportunities within a CS approach for challenging these harmful legacies through its values, outlining why it is important our practice is shaped by these principles and values when we ‘do’ CS. In doing so, we raise important questions about the future implementation of CS, and outline an ‘ethics of care’ that must underpin this work if we are to avoid replicating the harmful legacies observed in traditional forms of family social work. To encourage this resistance and help grasp these principles in practice, we finish the chapter asking a series of reflective questions that prompt ongoing conversation in our journeys to embed CS, ultimately holding us to ask, how can we care for system change in an ethical way?

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How do you measure if a context is safer? What does it mean to change the social conditions of abuse? And how would you measure such changes? Children’s social care services are under increasing pressure to be able to demonstrate and evidence the outcomes of their work. Practitioners developing Contextual Safeguarding (CS) approaches are not immune from these pressures. This chapter outlines what a CS outcomes framework would be required to do – in theory – and discusses the challenges and realities of doing so – in practice. Drawing on experiences of developing a CS outcomes framework in one local authority, the authors reflect on the current challenges and steps needed to create an outcomes framework.

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Since its introduction in 2015, the concept of Contextual Safeguarding (CS) has been used to better understand, and respond, to extra-familial contexts and relationships where young people come to harm. Rapid take-up of the idea among children’s services and policy makers might suggest that CS is well understood. Yet, much of what has been learnt about the approach is yet to be published, and those involved in studying and testing the concept still have many questions about its ethical implementation. This edited collection charts the latest thinking on CS by researchers involved in developing the work – in the UK and internationally. Many draw upon insights from young people, families and practitioners who have participated in local pilots to reflect upon whether efforts at implementation have aligned with the CS framework and reflect the values which underpin it. In the process, their contributions evidence the challenges and opportunities that come with trying to build protective social conditions using systems designed to fix families and young people instead of the conditions in which they live. For anyone interested in improving how we safeguard young people beyond their front doors, this book illustrates how much we have achieved and what more we need to do to ensure young people are safe – whatever the context.

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Since its introduction in 2015, the concept of Contextual Safeguarding (CS) has been used to better understand, and respond, to extra-familial contexts and relationships where young people come to harm. Rapid take-up of the idea among children’s services and policy makers might suggest that CS is well understood. Yet, much of what has been learnt about the approach is yet to be published, and those involved in studying and testing the concept still have many questions about its ethical implementation. This edited collection charts the latest thinking on CS by researchers involved in developing the work – in the UK and internationally. Many draw upon insights from young people, families and practitioners who have participated in local pilots to reflect upon whether efforts at implementation have aligned with the CS framework and reflect the values which underpin it. In the process, their contributions evidence the challenges and opportunities that come with trying to build protective social conditions using systems designed to fix families and young people instead of the conditions in which they live. For anyone interested in improving how we safeguard young people beyond their front doors, this book illustrates how much we have achieved and what more we need to do to ensure young people are safe – whatever the context.

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Since its introduction in 2015, the concept of Contextual Safeguarding (CS) has been used to better understand, and respond, to extra-familial contexts and relationships where young people come to harm. Rapid take-up of the idea among children’s services and policy makers might suggest that CS is well understood. Yet, much of what has been learnt about the approach is yet to be published, and those involved in studying and testing the concept still have many questions about its ethical implementation. This edited collection charts the latest thinking on CS by researchers involved in developing the work – in the UK and internationally. Many draw upon insights from young people, families and practitioners who have participated in local pilots to reflect upon whether efforts at implementation have aligned with the CS framework and reflect the values which underpin it. In the process, their contributions evidence the challenges and opportunities that come with trying to build protective social conditions using systems designed to fix families and young people instead of the conditions in which they live. For anyone interested in improving how we safeguard young people beyond their front doors, this book illustrates how much we have achieved and what more we need to do to ensure young people are safe – whatever the context.

Restricted access

Since its introduction in 2015, the concept of Contextual Safeguarding (CS) has been used to better understand, and respond, to extra-familial contexts and relationships where young people come to harm. Rapid take-up of the idea among children’s services and policy makers might suggest that CS is well understood. Yet, much of what has been learnt about the approach is yet to be published, and those involved in studying and testing the concept still have many questions about its ethical implementation. This edited collection charts the latest thinking on CS by researchers involved in developing the work – in the UK and internationally. Many draw upon insights from young people, families and practitioners who have participated in local pilots to reflect upon whether efforts at implementation have aligned with the CS framework and reflect the values which underpin it. In the process, their contributions evidence the challenges and opportunities that come with trying to build protective social conditions using systems designed to fix families and young people instead of the conditions in which they live. For anyone interested in improving how we safeguard young people beyond their front doors, this book illustrates how much we have achieved and what more we need to do to ensure young people are safe – whatever the context.

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