Safeguarding children is everyones business

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THE seventh Annual Milton Keynes Safeguarding Children Board Conference welcomed a special guest in keynote speaker and founder of Kids Company, Dr Camila Batmanghelidjh.

Over 300 professionals from organisations that work with children and young people in the city attended this year’s conference, including youth and social workers, healthcare specialists, faith groups, police representatives, schools and people from the voluntary sector.

The conference explored how professionals can continue to work together with children and young people to understand and meet their needs, providing them with the opportunity to discuss the current issues that are affecting them.

Information stalls also gave advice and support to attendees on services such as continuing education, parenting, adoption and fostering as well as advice from Milton Keynes Health Service, MK Act, Bucks Fire and Rescue and Thames Valley Police, amongst others.

Students from Milton Keynes College currently in the second year of their National Diploma in Travel and Tourism supported the MKSCB Team in running the conference on the day, including a photographer to capture the event. There was also a video presentation led by students from MK Academy, which highlighted the dangers to young people of online grooming.

Dr Camila Batmanghelidjh, who founded children’s charity Kids Company in 1996, which provides practical, emotional and educational support to 36,000 vulnerable inner-city children, addressed the conference with her thoughts on the future of safeguarding the most vulnerable.

She said: “Events such as these are a fantastic and important way of sharing our professional knowledge to inform and improve how we work with children and young people in the future.

“We must continue to work together to offer those children and young people whose parents or carers have struggled to care for them the opportunity to receive holistic re-parenting support. This can be achieved through constant, clinically-informed, multi-disciplinary care.”

Elaine Coleridge-Smith, MKSCB Independent Chairman, said: “It is wonderful to see more people attending the annual conference year-on-year. The event provides an opportunity for partner agencies to share their professional experiences, develop their understanding of safeguarding and explore new and effective ways of working.

“We were delighted to have Camila at the conference to share her expertise and I would like to thank all of the MK College students for their fantastic support in hosting the day and acting as advocates for the future of Milton Keynes.”

The day also included an introduction from Director of Children’s Services, Gail Tolley, who focused on the work young people are actively doing themselves in leading the agenda through platforms such as Youth Cabinet MK and ‘Today’s Children, Tomorrow’s Future’, a Children in Care forum.