West Midlands chosen for government pilot

ParentWise, which will run for 6 weeks, aims to educate parents and guardians about some of the things their children might face growing up. It was designed to help them spot the signs that something is wrong and to empower and reassure them to take action if they are worried.

Parents and guardians in the region will have access to a dedicated resource with links to help and support, as well as advice on what to do when they see a change in a child’s behavior .

The website, which has been developed in conjunction with partner organizations including the NSPCC, ParentZone and the Ben Kinsella Trust, provides support and advice on a number of issues.

These include:

  • alcohol and drugs
  • harassment
  • criminal child exploitation and “county lines” (a term used to describe the criminal exploitation of children for the purpose of selling drugs)
  • sexual abuse and exploitation of children
  • exploitation by extremist or radical influences
  • knife wound
  • online security
  • sex and relationships

Including Birmingham, the second largest city in the UK, the West Midlands was selected for this pilot project because of its population size which allows us to compare the results to other parts of the UK.

The findings will inform the government’s approach to helping parents and guardians keep children safe. Birmingham will also benefit from targeted educational support as part of the deployment of 10 ‘SAFE’ (Support, Attend, Fulfil, Exceed) task forces to ‘hotspot’ areas, where incidents of serious youth violence are most students. This task force will be led by local schools, bringing together school leaders to support vulnerable young people and prevent them from becoming involved in county lines and criminal activity.

Safeguard Minister Rachel Maclean said:

It is essential that parents know who to turn to if they think their child is in danger.

I am pleased that the West Midlands has been chosen to pilot this new resource, which I hope will serve as a model for bringing together support and advice for parents and carers across the country.

Sue Harrison, Director of Children’s Services for Birmingham City Council, said:

We are delighted that Birmingham has been chosen to lead this very important campaign. We know parents and guardians have concerns about understanding what their children are watching online and where they are going.

It is vital that we all work together to support families and I encourage people to use the ParentWise website where there is a wealth of resources and advice.

The government invests and funds programs to divert young people from a life of crime. This includes £20million for additional early intervention and prevention programs to support young people at high risk of becoming involved in serious violence.

The government has also provided £200million over 10 years to the Youth Endowment Foundation, which funds projects to support children and young people at risk of violence and exploitation and to keep them away from crime.

This financial year we are investing up to £1m to provide specialist support to under 25s and their families in London, West Midlands and Merseyside who are being criminally exploited across county borders, to help them safely reduce and end their involvement.

We also fund Missing People’s SafeCall service which provides confidential, expert advice and support to young people and their families/caregivers who are affected by county line operations.

In January, the government launched the Stop Abuse Together campaign. This campaign aims to empower parents and guardians to take action to help protect children from sexual abuse. The campaign website allows parents to learn about potential signs of abuse, build trust by talking to their children regularly, and find additional support.

The ParentWise campaign will run through March 31, 2022 with ads running across social media, local radio, digital audio, outdoor and digital signage. If successful, the government will consider rolling out to parents and guardians nationwide.

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