‘Unpacking’ the Principle and why it matters

Recognising the expertise of parents and carers offers valuable potential gains for safeguarding partnerships, enhancing agencies’ abilities to support and protect individual children, young people and whole communities. Parents and carers can hold invaluable information about their child and the contexts of their lives, and can also hold important information about exploiters, unsafe places and community strengths and challenges.

This Principle requires professionals at all levels to model a mind-set that sees parents and carers first and foremost as sources of protection, support and love for children and young people, unless there is evidence to indicate otherwise. It requires them to recognise the care, protection and support parents and carers bring. It means seeing them as an asset, respecting their contribution and being sensitive to the distress they are likely to be experiencing. Critical to this approach is a welfare-oriented lens that builds an understanding of the child or young person’s needs as part of their family network.

This approach does not mean applying a ‘one size fits all’ solution; circumstances will differ between families. However, approaching parents and carers as partners in safeguarding should always be the starting point.

I am included in decisions about involving my parents and carers. Supporting my parents and / or carers to understand what has happened to me can help improve family relationships and the support I receive.

How it should feel for a child / young person being supported