British Journal of Social Work, 44(2) pp 384-400
This paper explores the concept of safeguarding children being ‘everybody’s business’ as it is experienced in one neighbourhood in south Wales, UK. Safeguarding is defined here as the protection of children and the enhancement of their well-being. A qualitative case study design engaged residents of all ages, community sector workers and statutory sector workers in discussions about children’s safeguarding in their neighbourhood. The analysis focuses on three overlapping spheres of safeguarding: the informal sphere, the community sphere and the formal sphere. Enablers and barriers to relationships between these spheres are identified. The findings explore attributes associated with proximity, time, biographies, style and scope. It is noted that, while these relationships are enacted within the specific social and geographical space of this neighbourhood, this case study provides a potential insight into broader relationships between the statutory services, community groups and neighbourhood residents. It is concluded that the community sector’s vital role should be recognised and enhanced and the formal sector encouraged to adopt some of its attributes. Above all, it is recommended that statutory children’s social workers be closely located within their local communities, socially and physically, to better understand children’s experiences and to work with interventions that recognise community strengths.