Safeguarding advice for parents and carers
We know that parenting is one of the hardest jobs that there is. Our children are all individual and unique; we all approach parenting in different ways - so many variables in life, but we all seek the same goals: to help our children (your children) to grow and flourish so that they are prepared for adulthood.
Supporting parents and carers is a key part of our approach to safeguarding. When we were young, we faced very different to challenges that our own children face today. To that end, we have identified a range of resources to support you - a library of tools that may be of assistance from time to time.
Mental Health support
In the first instance mental health support is triaged and signposted by our safeguarding team, though it is important to understand that Social, Emotional and Mental Health is one of the four broad areas of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and that, as a result, the support could be moved to fall under our SEN team in school.
Staffordshire County Council has created this road map to outline the support that is available for children and young people who live in the county - much of this support is available to those educated in the county who may live in Stoke or in Cheshire East.
Outside of school, social media is increasingly an area of concern for parents. Online safety is so very important, but this is an area of risk that many of us did not experience as young people ourselves. The images below can all be downloaded, if you feel they would be helpful. Remember to have open conversations with your child about their use of the internet.
There are very strong links between the use of social media and poor emotional wellbeing - if you are concerned, ask questions and/or talk to school.
The images below are shared with us by Staffordshire Police as part of their programme to raise awareness about County Lines, exploitation and gangs across the county. As agents of change, we are keen to empower parents and carers with this information in order to help you to be alert for any concerns.
The term County Lines describes gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into other areas of the country, often smaller areas, using dedicated mobile phone lines known as ‘deal lines.’ Dealers will take orders from drug users through mobile phones and exploit children and vulnerable people to move and store drugs and money. Often they do this through blackmail, intimidation and violence.
How are children being exploited?
Children and vulnerable people can be groomed online or face-to-face by a stranger or someone they know. They can receive money, mobiles, credit, expensive clothing, jewellery, or other items/gifts in exchange for a specified task.
Common signs to look out for which could indicate that a person is involved in County Lines and possible drug dealing:
- Change in emotional wellbeing (e.g. secretive, withdrawn, aggressive, emotional)
- An increase in anti-social behaviour
- Missing episodes from home or school
- Receiving more texts or calls than usual
- Substance misuse and/or drug paraphernalia
- Unexplained, sometimes unaffordable new things (e.g clothes, jewellery, cash)
- Isolation from peers
- May be carrying a weapon
- Unexplained injuries