Thousands of older teenagers facing serious risks because of a “cliff edge” in support

Thousands of older teenagers facing serious risks because of a “cliff edge” in support

Tens of thousands of older teenagers facing serious risks including child sexual exploitation and mental health issues are missing out on vital support because of a “cliff edge” in support, The Children’s Society has warned.  They said that because there is no statutory requirement for councils to support children in need when they turn 18 they are often left without any help even though they remain vulnerable.

It said that there are currently around 58,000 children and young people aged 16 to 17 designated as children in need, who are in need of support but fall below the threshold for care proceedings.

However, the charity’s report Crumbling Futures found that just three per cent of closed cases involving 16- and 17-year-old children in need are transferred to adult services for support.  Key areas of support, that drop off when they reach 18, cover issues such as child sexual exploitation (CSE), mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

The report states:

“Issues that young people referred to children’s services as 16- and 17-year-olds experience include domestic violence, mental ill health, drug or alcohol abuse and a risk of CSE, and often a combination of these issues”.

 

“In just over 50 per cent of cases of 16- and 17-year-olds referred to children’s services for support, these issues are deemed serious enough by local authorities and young people are assessed as ‘children in need’, recognising that without support from services the child’s health and development may be compromised.”

 

“Unfortunately, for many of these children the issues they struggle with are not going to improve or get resolved once they reach adulthood.”

The Children’s Society has called on government to broaden its review of children in need, which launched earlier this month, to include a focus on improving support into adulthood:

“While the review is focusing on improving how well children in need do in education, the charity wants it to look at all aspects of their lives where help is falling short”.

Other recommendations include ensuring that children in need and child protection plans for 16- and 17-year-olds last until the age of 18.  The charity’s report found that four in 10 child in need plans for the age group last for less than three months.

Councils should also be required to plan for young people’s transition from children’s services to adult services and take into account the possibility that support may be needed up to the age of 25.

Children’s Society chief executive Matthew Reed said:

“Approaching adulthood can be a difficult, awkward, time for many teenagers, but it can be even tougher if young people don’t get the help they need to deal with serious issues in their lives”

 

“Help for vulnerable 16- and 17-year-olds who are not in care too often falls short then disappears from the age of 18 as they continue to struggle with issues including mental health, sexual exploitation, poverty and homelessness.

 

“The Children’s Society wants to see better support for children in need as they prepare for adulthood and a comprehensive package of help after they turn 18 – with councils given the additional money they need to deliver this.

 

“Only then will more young people get the vital support they need to ensure problems arising from their childhood are addressed and do not blight their chances of thriving in the future.”

Klopp: Brewster will get all the support he needs

Jürgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool will offer Rhian Brewster ‘all the support he needs’ after the young striker this week spoke out about the racial abuse he has faced during his fledgling career.

In an interview with the Guardian published on Thursday, Brewster detailed instances where he has been targeted by fans and opponents while representing Chelsea, Liverpool and England at youth level.

Speaking in his pre-Leicester press conference on Friday, when asked about Brewster’s comments, Klopp said:

“He will get all the support he needs and wants and we can give.

“I’m really long in this sport and I’ve never faced a situation like that but obviously it happens all the time.

“I’m really happy that he is brave enough to do what he did. It’s such an important thing – I can’t believe people still have these thoughts in their minds.

“Obviously, we needed a 17-year-old boy to shout out, to say, ‘it’s still happening and it happens all the time – I need help, we need help and we have to stop that’.

“It’s not a situation that you want a 17-year-old boy (to be) in but, if it is like this, then he needs help and we will give it to him, of course.”

Top 10 Google searches of 2017

Google has released its Year in Search 2017 report which shows the top 10 most searched topics overall as well as the top 10 searches in 20+ categories.

Musicians and politicians featured heavily in last year’s top search terms, with both David Bowie and Prince appearing in the top 10 following their deaths. Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and the word election were also in the lower end of the top 10.

Actor Meghan Markle topped the top Google searches in the UK this year, followed by the iPhone 8 (second), Hurricane Irma (third) and the words fidget spinner (fourth), as the BBC reports. The term Manchester bombing was the fifth most searched term of the year, following the terror attack on an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

No musicians made it into the top UK Google searches, however Tom Petty and Chester Bennington were in the top 10 global searches. The Linkin Park frontman, who died in July, was the ninth most searched term worldwide, while Petty, who passed away in October, was the seventh.

Not only are the top 10 lists themselves interesting but there are also some things we can learn from them which can help bring more visitors to our websites.

Top 10 Searches Overall

  1. Meghan Markle
  2. iPhone 8
  3. Hurricane Irma
  4. Fidget Spinner
  5. Manchester bombing
  6. Grenfell Tower
  7. 13 Reasons Why
  8. Tara Palmer Tomkinson
  9. Shannon Matthews
  10. iPhone X

Some of the other top 10 lists Google provides include

  • Top10 people searched
  • Top 10 news stories searched
  • Top 10 consumer tech searches
  • Top 10 how to searches

You can see the rest of the lists in the Year in Search 2017.

Scarlett Moffatt has a selfie warning for young girls

Scarlett Moffatt, who came to fame through Gogglebox, is getting real about filtered pictures of women on social media.

The 2016 winner of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and now presenter of dating show Streetmate, posted two selfies side by side on Instagram showcasing two very different looks, along with a warning for young girls.

In one picture a natural-faced Scarlett smiles into the camera. The other shows the TV personality in full make-up with her features accentuated by a Snapchat filter.

She posted:

“To all all you young girls (and older ladies) out there don’t believe all you see on social media.  This goes to show what make-up and a filter can do. Love who you are and don’t compare yourself to anybody else. As Dr Seuss once said…. Today you are You, that is truer than true . There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

The 27-year-old’s post has been liked more than 180,000 times on Instagram with many praising her decision to share the photos.

“You are such a great role model for young women. I am a mum of 2 girls and think it’s great seeing this, thanks,” commented one Instagram user.

Another mum who also responded to Ms Moffatt’s Instagram post commented: “Brilliant post… I’ve shown my 13-year-old daughter this … so important for our young girls to know what real life looks like and not life through a filter. Thank you.”

On Twitter there was similar reaction when the image was posted to Ms Moffatt’s Twitter page where the post has been liked almost 2,000 times.

Another tweet read: “Thank you – my daughters confidence is so low due to pressure from peers & her idols as they look ‘perfect’ – just shown her your tweet to inspire her!”

Others who were also inspired by the post shared their own make-up free selfies.

It’s not the first time celebrities have shared images on social media of themselves without make-up.

Holly Willoughby, Susanna Reid, and Kirstie Allsopp are just some of the other TV presenters who have posted make-up free images on Instagram.

The trend to post natural images is also popular among artists in the US. Celebrities stateside posting unfiltered photos include Alicia Keys, Tyra Banks, and Cameron Diaz.

A popular hashtag often accompanying these make-up free images is #NoFilter, although model and TV presenter Tyra Banks warned in a post she shared in 2015 about the use of the term.

“You know how people say #nofilter but you know there’s a freakin’ filter on their pic? Or maybe there’s a smidge of retouching going on but they’re lying and saying it’s all raw & real? Well, this morn, I decided to give you a taste of the really real me,” she said in the post that has been liked more than 216,000 times.

Last year Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley also issued a warning about the pressure to look perfect on social media when she posted a photo and the words, “I woke up like this #nofilter #nomakeup” written on it.

She said: “Social media is great but also a bit scary ’cause what people post is the most filtered, most carefully chosen and cleverly edited moments of their lives.”

Christmas feel good story

In 2013 a teenager collected hundreds of supermarket vouchers to buy £600 worth of shopping for 4p so he could give the food to families:

Jordon Cox, 16, scoured endless websites and magazines and gathered hundreds of coupons for dozens of products.  After spending hours each day searching the internet for coupons, he managed to collect 470, which he took to his local supermarket, and filled three trolleys with food and household items.  The bill came to £572.16, but once the coupons were factored in the bill was reduced to just 4p – a saving of 99.81 per cent.  The teenager, of Brentwood in Essex, donated all his food to the charity Doorstep which gives food to disadvantaged families.

He said:

“I read an article that said a thousandth of the UK population are unable to eat this Christmas because they don’t have any money.  I decided wanted to help as many people as I can, and to also show that it’s possible to shop very cheaply, if you know how.  It’s not an exact science, so you can never really work out ahead of time how much the total is going to be. I was stunned when it came up as just 4p.”

He started his Christmas shopping project on December 1 and scoured hundreds of in-store magazines and websites for money off and cash back coupons.  His shop, at Tesco Brent Cross, ended with an hour stop at the checkout to unload his items which included 200 packets of biscuits and 60 packs of butter.

He said:

“The lady at the checkout had worked at Tesco for 19 years, and she said she’d never seen anything like it before. I had a big crowd. I felt like a celebrity.  My heart was pounding and the adrenaline was pumping when we got to the till. So much could have gone wrong.  I could have left some coupons at home, or not read the terms and conditions properly. Some of them might have expired too.”

Vicky Fox, who works at Doorstep, said families who he had helped out were overwhelmed by the donation. She said:

“I’d call his gift a great and generous act of a young man and what he did made a real difference.  He’s made a really difference to families who work with us to survive on extremely low incomes and do need the help.  He made such a different to people living on the breadline.”

He bought:

  • 20 packs of frozen Yorkshire puddings
  • 20 jam roly polys
  • 80 packs of butter
  • 23 packs of Quorn mince
  • Four Gressingham poussin.
  • 40 black puddings
  • 200 packets of biscuits
  • 23 blocks of hard cheese
  • 20 pots of Yeo Valley organic yoghurt
  • 19 bottles of fruit juice.
  • 10 boxes of Paxo stuffing
  • 40 bottles of Anchor whipped cream
  • 15 bags of frozen Brussels sprouts
  • 4 packs of After Eight mints
  • 15 Covent Garden Soups.
  • 10 bags of Florette Salad
  • 36 packs of Cauldron tofu, vegetarian sausages and falafel
  • Crumble mix
  • Haribo sweets

Safeguarding update from Hampshire Constabulary

Please be aware of the attached further update from Hampshire Constabulary

Dear Parents,

You may be aware of an explicit video involving two children which has been shared far and wide on social media and has been in the news this week.

Hampshire Constabulary has conducted a thorough investigation into these matters and a man has been charged with inciting a female aged 13-15 years to engage in sexual activity, making an indecent photograph of a child and distributing an indecent photograph of a child.

Both children, who are victims of serious crime, are being supported by specialist police officers and partner agencies. As these legal proceedings are ongoing, I would like to remind people not to speculate – especially on social media – as it may compromise the investigation.

The advice from the police remains the same, if children and young people receive this video on any social media platform, be it Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp or any other channel – they should delete it immediately and tell a trusted adult – a teacher or parent for example.

It’s really important that they understand that if they show this video to someone else or forward it on to other people, they could be committing a crime and we want to stop that happening. We have been clear that we do not want to criminalise children and that people won’t be in trouble if they’ve made a genuine mistake.

Sadly, we are seeing more offences where young people are being targeted by offenders who conceal their identities, and know where to go online to access and strike up false friendships with children and unfortunately, no one is immune to the dangers. Please discuss this with your children and encourage them to talk to you or another trusted adult if they have any worries or concerns. They can also call ChildLine if they really don’t feel comfortable talking to someone face-to-face.

If you have any concerns about the safety of your children online or would like to know more, there is further support and advice for children and parents available on the CEOP website http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/

Detective Superintendent Rachel Farrell Hampshire Constabulary

Hampshire detectives charge man following investigation into online sexual offences

Hampshire Constabulary have released a statement about a local investigation into online sexual offences:

Officers from the child abuse investigation team at Hampshire Constabulary have charged a man in connection with an investigation into online sexual offences.

Daniel Norton, from Cheadle, in Stockport, has been charged with the following –

  • Three counts of inciting a female aged 13-15 years to engage in sexual activity
  • Three counts of making an indecent photograph of a child
  • One count of distributing an indecent photograph of a child

The 25-year-old is due to appear at Southampton Magistrates Court later today (Wednesday, December 6).

If you are concerned that a child you know has been a victim of online child sexual abuse, report directly to CEOP via the ClickCEOP reporting button –www.ceop.police.uk. If you would like to understand more about keeping children safe from online sexual abuse, please visit CEOP’s Thinkuknow website  – www.thinkuknow.co.uk.

Additional support for children who don’t feel able to talk to a trusted adult is available from ChildLine on 0800 1111.

Hampshire Safeguarding update for parents of 5-11 year olds

Following the recent news, Hampshire Safeguarding Children Board emailed this letter to all primary schools:

 

Following liaison with the police we are sending this email to all primary schools. We would very much appreciate your co-operation in circulating this message to parents and re-enforcing the importance of online safety.

With the Christmas holidays approaching and the prospect of children perhaps receiving digital media as a gift in some shape or form – tablets and gaming consoles, for example – we thought it would be an appropriate time to remind you about the responsible use of such devices.

Following, the recent news stories relating to the Police’s increasing concerns about child exploitation through social media ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42224148 ), please do take the time to set up robust parental controls on devices and ensure that you set the passwords and codes so that only you know them.

There is some helpful advice relating to this on Hampshire County Council’s website:

https://www.hants.gov.uk/socialcareandhealth/childrenandfamilies/safeguardingchildren/ onlinesafety

If your children are likely to be using the internet, you may find it helpful for them to be aware and to have viewed this website: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/5_7/

Helpful advice is also available from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) website:

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/

Aside from the risk of exploitation and cyber bullying, it is unfortunate in this day and age that content exists on social media that would be inappropriate, and potentially harmful, for young children to view.

If you receive images or videos on Snapchat, Instagram, Whatsapp or via any other social media featuring people that are naked or are sexual in nature, these should be deleted immediately and reported to the Police on the non-emergency 101 telephone number. Many people are still unaware that showing or sharing such images or videos with others could mean they are committing a crime. However, if a genuine mistake is made, it would be treated as such by the Police.

Karen Nye
School Improvement Manager (Inclusion)

Hampshire County Council Children’s Services Department

 

How To Shop Online Safely

Action for Fraud have released a very helpful infographic on How To Shop Online Safely in the run up to the Christmas present buying season:

Check the web address

Always check you’re on the correct website. Criminals can set up fake websites that have a similar design and web address to the genuine site.

  

Is it a secure connection?

Web pages you enter personal or financial details into should display a locked padlock sign and have a web address that starts with https. This means your connection to the website is secure.

 

Phishing

Don’t click on links or attachments within unsolicited emails. The number of online shopping related phishing emails increases significantly during the holiday period.

 

Bank transfers
65% of Action Fraud reports during the 2016 Christmas period were linked to online auction sites. Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud.

Teddy was flown 200 miles to reunite with the little girl who lost him

Realising you’ve lost a beloved fluffy toy is an awful feeling. Luckily for one little girl, that toy flew 200 miles to be returned to her.

Four-year-old Summer lives on Orkney, an island off the tip of Scotland. Sadly, when travelling back to Orkney through Edinburgh airport she left poor teddy somewhere and didn’t realise it until after her plane had taken off.

Summer’s mum Donna put word out about the lost bear, contacting the airport lost-and-found as well as posting on a few Orkney-based social media groups.

Luckily Kirsty, one of the cabin crew at Logan Air and herself an Orcadian, spotted the appeal on social media. She asked her colleagues at Logan Air in Edinburgh to have a look for Teddy, and sure enough he was found in lost property.

“As soon as I spotted the plea on social media I thought it would be easy for the airline to try and help,” said Kirsty in an official statement. “It was a heart-warming moment to be there for Summer and Teddy’s reunion, it definitely brought a little tear to my eye.”

On Wednesday evening Teddy caught the 1750 flight on a 34 seat Saab-340 aircraft from Edinburgh to Kirkwall, where he was given his own seat and a complimentary caramel wafer.

And he even got to visit the cockpit.

Soon he was reunited with Summer, and they were very happy to see each other again.

“It was wonderful to see Teddy back in the company of Summer and we’re pleased to have played a role,” said Kay Ryan, Commercial Director at Loganair in an official statement.

We’re all very glad Teddy made it home safe.

Government must invest in children’s & youth services

Leading children’s charities and local councils have called on the Government to urgently close the funding gap facing children and young people’s services as new research reveals a sharp rise in families reaching “crisis point”.

An open letter signed by five major organisations warns that children’s social care is being pushed to breaking point, with a £2bn funding gap expected to open by 2020. It urges ministers to “step up” and use the Autumn Budget to invest in vital services in order to save youngsters from serious harm.

The signatories, which include Barnardo’s, Action for Children and the Local Government Association (LGA), state that between them they have “spent years warning successive governments that a failure to invest in these vital services will have long term consequences” for the UK’s children and families.

The letter, comes as a report by three leading children’s charities reveals “crippling” central government cuts have left councils with no option but to close services designed to detect early signs of child neglect and abuse – forcing them to direct to a “crisis” fire-fighting model.

Demand for crisis support for children has risen sharply as council spending on services that are designed to spot signs of neglect and abuse early has fallen by 40 per cent between 2010/11 and 2015/16, the report shows. Central government funding for children and young people’s services has seen a real terms decrease of £2.4bn in that period, while local authority allocations for these services has fallen by £1.6bn.

At the same time, there has been a 108 per cent increase in child protection investigations, as demand for council help soars.

The research, from The Children’s Society, Action for Children and the National Children’s Bureau, also reveals stark geographical discrepancies, with the most deprived councils in England having cut spending on children’s services by almost a quarter (23 per cent) – six times as much as the least deprived councils.

The open letter to ministers reads:

“Children’s social care is being pushed to breaking point, with an unprecedented surge in demand leaving services across the public, voluntary and community sector struggling to cope.

“We believe that all children deserve the chance of a bright future. That’s why we are uniting today to urge the Government to use the Autumn Budget to close the funding gap facing children’s services, which will reach at least £2bn by 2020.”

It states that the number of children needing child protection plans has nearly doubled over the past decade, and last year saw the largest annual increase in children in care since 2013. The organisations also highlight that local authorities overspent on children’s services by £365m in 2014/15 just to keep children safe, and a huge £605m the following year.

The letter adds:

“Our children and young people deserve better than the gradual decline of services – particularly those services that help children early – that have been shown to make a real difference to their lives”

“Councils and the voluntary sector are committed to getting the best for every child. Now we need the same commitment from our government, starting with urgent action through the Budget to give local services the resources they need to help children and families thrive.”

The number of young people subject to child protection enquires increased by 140 per cent – to 170,000 – in the past decade, according to research by the LGA earlier this year.

A separate study more recently revealed that benefit cuts and increased levels of poverty across the UK were the primary cause for this “unprecedented surge” in demand for children’s services, while a lack of resources to provide universal services like children’s centres and youth clubs also played a significant part.

 

 

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying tackled in new guidance for Church schools

Guidance for the Church of England’s 4,700 schools published today aims to prevent pupils from having their self-worth diminished or their ability to achieve impeded by being bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

The report makes 12 recommendations for schools including ensuring schools’ Christian ethos statements offer “an inclusive vision for education” where “every child should be revered and respected as members of a community where all are known and loved by God. ”

Clear anti-bullying policies should include HBT behaviours and language, policies on how to report incidences should be accessible, staff trained on recognising bullying, curriculum and collective worship should support the vision and the wider church ensure that schools are responding well to the guidance.

In the foreword of the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:

“All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.

“Central to Christian theology is the truth that every single one of us is made in the image of God. Every one of us is loved unconditionally by God.

“This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.”

The advice is an update on Valuing All God’s Children, guidance published in 2014 which tackled homophobic behaviour. This update covers a wider range of negative behaviours, incorporates the relevant legal and inspection frameworks and reflects the Church’s Vision for Education, whose four elements of wisdom, hope, community and dignity form the theological basis of the guidance.

 

Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, Nigel Genders, said:

“Providing an education to our 1 million children that will enable them to live life in all its fullness is a big responsibility.

“This practical and thoughtful advice is packed with templates and a comprehensive selection of resources for schools, teachers, families and young people. I hope that it will make a difference to our school communities and individual pupils too.”

The report acknowledges that it is likely that not all will agree on issues to do with human sexuality, marriage or gender identity. It goes on to say that:

“However, there needs to be a faithful and loving commitment to remain in relationship with the other and honour the dignity of their humanity without ‘back turning’, dismissing the other person, or claiming superiority.” 

The full report can be found here.