In its work to promote the welfare and rights of children, AFRUCA is aware of the strong role that faith organisations play in the lives of many Africans. Hence, it has been making efforts to reach out and work in partnership with various faith based organisations to help strengthen their skills and knowledge of child protection and safeguarding. This is well evidenced by our work across the UK but mainly in the North and South of England where we have undertaken successful faith-based projects especially in London, Greater Manchester and across Yorkshire.
Working with faith organisations to safeguard children in the West Midlands is a project to promote increased knowledge of child safeguarding practices and child protection among faith and community organisations. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund for three years starting from December 2015 to December 2018.
- Child Protection training to equip BME parents and faith leaders. This involves training sessions engaging parents and carers organised in faith establishments and community settings.
- Faith Leaders’ Summit to allow key stakeholders (faith leaders, workers and statutory agency workers) to discuss progress on different elements of Safeguarding children in the place of worship. This involves organising stakeholders meeting tagged ‘Faith Leaders’ Summit’ targeting faith leaders, workers and statutory agency workers.
- Safeguarding training for children and young people to enlighten them about child protection issues. Bullying, positive attitudes, grooming for sexual exploitation and keeping safe (online and offline). This is a pilot project involving training session engaging children organised in schools, faith establishments and community settings.
- One to one advice sessions with parents/carers. This involves holding one to one advice sessions for parents or carers to support them on issues relating to safeguarding, child protection or engagement with the children services.
- Working with faith groups to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate child safeguarding policies and procedures. This involves intensive support for a selected number of faith organisations to help identify their specific safeguarding needs, develop their safeguarding policy, support the policy’s implementation, monitor and evaluate the policy’s effectiveness.
What we achieved
- BME parents and carers developed positive parenting skills and understanding of UK laws on safeguarding and child protection to enable them better protect children from harm
- Faith organisations, leaders, workers and families gained improved knowledge and capacity to ensure compliance with statutory requirements of keeping children safe from abuse and harm
- Improved communication and collaboration between statutory agencies and faith organisations and establishments.
- Children gained better knowledge to ensure they keep themselves safe from abuse and harm
- We supported BME families by investing in early intervention and prevention programmes to help reduce child abuse and the number of children entering the care system.
- BME families in the child protection system achieved better skills and knowledge enabling them to prevent children being removed from their care.
- BME families have a source of support and information readily available to them around child protection issues.
This Project is now completed.