The pioneering programme emerged triumphant on Wednesday evening in three categories - Early Years, Family Support and Child Protection - at a gala ceremony at the Hurlingham Club on the banks of the Thames.
The service works with highly vulnerable families that have previously had children taken into care. It intervenes as early as 15 weeks into a pregnancy, to ensure newborns receive the best possible start. Forty per cent of birth parents have been able to take their baby home from hospital on the back of receiving parenting skills and ongoing support.
Other babies have gone on to be placed for adoption or in kinship care arrangements as a result of multi-agency planning meetings occurring early on between the family, social workers, health professionals and specialist adult services, building trust with parents whatever the outcome.
Our expert panel described the Pre-birth Intervention Service as “stand-out, high quality practice”.
“This is a carefully evaluated initiative that tackles an important need. If used nationally, it would yield huge savings,” they said.
Awards were presented in 21 categories in total. Redthread Youth also had an outstanding evening, winning both the Youth Work Award and the Children and Young People’s Charity Award. The London-based organisation places youth workers in A&E departments to support gun and knife crime victims to break free from a culture of violence.
Elsewhere, St John Ambulance and the Jimmy Mizen Foundation won the Partnership Working Award for their work targeting 10- and 11-year-old schoolchildren in areas where they might be at risk of being drawn into violent crime. Part of the project sees Margaret and Barry Mizen, whose son Jimmy was murdered a day after his 16th birthday, and Grace Idowu, whose 14-year-old son David was fatally stabbed, take it in turns to visit schools.
And care leaver Luke Rodgers, now a young people’s ambassador for the National Fostering Agency, won the Children’s Achievement award for his work with social work students in challenging perceptions of looked-after children and helping create new services for care leavers.
“We don’t hear nearly enough about the great work that is happening with children and families across our country,” said CYP Now editor-in-chief Ravi Chandiramani.
“Cases where children have been let down badly and tragically such as Daniel Pelka, Hamza Khan and Keanu Williams, tend to dominate the headlines and the national consciousness. The CYP Now Awards reward truly excellent practice – great ideas executed to great effect and proven impact.”
Minister for civil society Nick Hurd gave a keynote speech and spoke about his passion for play, giving young people a voice and helping them develop the skills required to succeed.
He also commended the finalists for the work they do with children and young people.
He said: “I think what you do is incredibly important, in fact I would say it’s more important than everything else.
“I think we know our children and young people are growing up in a world that is infinitely more complex than ever before.
“Evenings like this are really, really important because we are all incredibly lucky to be working with young people. We know that but there isn’t anyone in this room who has an easy job.
“Congratulations – thank you for you everything you are doing.”
Before presenting an award, former England footballer Mark Wright, ambassador for Core Assets, spoke briefly about his experiences as a foster carer.
He said: “At this moment in time, I do believe that I’m the only ex-footballer, or current footballer, that actually fosters.
“I have just started a new 10K campaign – the amount of foster carers we are short of in this country alone, which means a lot of children are floating about in the system that need all our help and our attention. I’m sure if I can do it, everybody can do it.
“I’d like to thank all the organisations here in this room for everything they do for young children. Surely we’ve got the same aim, which is to promote and protect vulnerable young children of this country and together I’m sure we can all make a big, big difference.”
Judges examined a total of 420 entries, while a panel of young judges scored those that were shortlisted. Their marks were added to those of the adult professional judges to help determine the overall winners.
- Health and Wellbeing Award Early Break for Holding Families
(Welsh Women’s Aid gets a High Commendation for Children Matter)
- Early Years Award Durham County Council for the Pre-birth Intervention Service
- Play Award RSPCA Mallydams Wood for Hastings Wild Things
(RAY Ceridigion’s Child’s Play Project gets a High Commendation)
- Youth Work Award (sponsored by National Youth Agency) Redthread Youth for King’s Youth Violence Project
(Children’s Society gets a High Commendation for SCARPA Squad)
- Early Intervention Award Compass for Compass Aspire
(Early Break gets a High Commendation for Holding Families)
- National Citizen Service Award Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade for Interfaith National Citizen Service Programme
- Advice and Guidance Award BHYP for Unlocking Potential
- Youth Justice Award County Durham Youth Offending Service for Intensive Employability Programme
- Children in Care Award (sponsored by Core Assets) London Borough of Lewisham for South East London to South Africa
(Sheffield City Council gets a High Commendation for Communicate Project, Children’s Involvement Award)
- Family Support Award Durham County Council for the Pre-birth Intervention Service
- Arts and Culture Award LOOSE for Access All Areas
(M6 Theatre Company gets a High Commendation for M6 Theatre Act Now Participatory Programme)
- Youth Volunteering Award The Co-operative StreetGames Young Volunteers Programme
- Learning Award Lifeline Projects for Lifeline Alternative Provision
(Achievement for All gets a High Commendation)
- Intergenerational Award Cartrefi Conwy Housing Association for Knitterbugs
- Child Protection Award Durham County Council for the Pre-birth Intervention Service
- Children and Young People’s Champion Jane Kemp from Gateshead Youth Offending Team
(Jane Bennett from LOOSE gets a High Commendation)
- Professional Development Award North Yorkshire County Council for Woodleigh Outdoor Adventure Project
- Local Authority Children’s Team Award London Borough of Barking and Dagenham for Pitstop
- Children and Young People’s Charity Award Redthread Youth Limited
(Beat and Family Links each gets a High Commendation)
- Partnership Working Award St John Ambulance and Jimmy Mizen Foundation
(Redthread Youth for King’s Youth Violence Project, and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation for RBKC Play Service, each gets a High Commendation)
- Children’s Achievement Award Luke Rodgers, young person’s ambassador at the National Fostering Agency
- Maggie Atkinson, children’s commissioner for England
- Michael Bracey, assistant director, children and families, Milton Keynes Council
- Denise Burke, director, United for All Ages, and the Good Care Guide
- Rose Collinson, interim director of children’s services, Walsall Council
- Kevin Gallagher, managing director, CPA Ltd
- Jean Gross, associate fellow, University of Warwick; former government communication champion
- Gareth Jones, chair, Association of Youth Offending Team Managers
- June O’Sullivan, chief executive, London Early Years Foundation
- Barbara Rayment, director, Youth Access
- Srabani Sen, chief executive, British Association of Adoption and Fostering
- Tony Sewell, chief executive, Generating Genius
- Enver Solomon, director of evidence and impact, National Children’s Burea
- Howard Williamson, Professor of European youth policy, University of South Wales
- Andrea Warman, social care consultant
- Diana Watson, impact director, National Foundation for Educational Research
- David Wright, chief executive, Confederation of Heads of Young People’s Services
- Rhammel Afflick, Campaign for Youth Social Action
- Caroline Bradley, Volunteer, National Youth Agency
- Marc Dataro, Chair, National Youth Agency
- Rebeka Dike, young mayor of Newham
- David Hall, Member of Youth Parliament for Greenwich
- Murwarid Laly, Wandsworth Youth Council
- Saadaf Mosvi, Deputy member of UK Youth Parliament for Ealing
- Yasmin Rufo, Young mayor of Ealing
- Paige Wellstead. Volunteer, National Youth Agency