Thousands of Sheffield children flagged up as needing help with serious family issues last year

Almost 9,000 Sheffield children have been flagged up as needing help with serious family issues.

Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 5:34 pm

Early help services support families and try to intervene as soon as possible.

Children who are referred include those who are missing school; at risk of going into, or back into, social care and those with challenging behaviour.

Families needing help include those with emotional and mental health issues, domestic abuse victims, those affected by alcohol and drugs and those at risk of homelessness or long term unemployment.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Almost 9,000 Sheffield children were flagged up as needing help with serious family issues last year.

Sheffield’s Multi Agency and Support Team (MAST) received 5,375 requests for a service between April 2018 and April 2019, to meet the needs of 8,878 children.

Schools and health services provide lots of support and families can receive help from a number of agencies working together.

Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board’s annual report said there had been “very positive” feedback from families who had been helped.

Keeping all children safe online was another issue highlighted by the report, with risks from sexual exploitation, radicalisation, bullying, addiction, criminal exploitation, cybercrime and health misinformation such as pro-suicide,

In a report, the board says: “Our most vulnerable young people online are those with SEND whose parents do not actively support their online lives.

“The eLearning service is currently seeking funding to develop SEND online safety resources which can be shared with mainstream and special schools and parents.”

The report says young people need to become confident and develop digital skills but also need to stay safe and understand what is shared about them online and how it can affect their future.

The report adds: “Consultants regularly ask children about their online activity to ascertain what works well, what concerns them and what help they need to be safe and this influences what they are taught.

“This year work is planned with young people about the dark web and online security.

“The online safety curriculum will be developed to cover relationships and sex education as well as how the online world influences all aspects of young people’s mental and physical wellbeing.”