Supported by COPDEND (The Committee of Postgraduate Dental Deans and Directors), the educational website www.cpdt.co.uk has been a valuable resource for child maltreatment. The website was relaunched in June 2013 following a full update and makeover.
Jenny Harris, consultant in Community Paediatric Dentistry in Sheffield, who has led the Department of Health-funded project since its inception, says: 'When this was first published we knew that dental teams had a bit of catching up to do, but it is admirable how our profession has risen to the challenge.
The new website has been designed with improved navigation and a fresh ‘look and feel’. In line with recent developments in safeguarding services throughout the country, updates include greater emphasis on early intervention rather than waiting for a crisis to develop.
The impact of wider family issues on children, such as parental mental and general health issues and domestic violence, also receive more attention. Guidance on dental neglect has been revised, reflecting the profession’s increased confidence in recognising and managing this problem. Dental teams are prompted to find out about their own local arrangements for referring low level concerns, including use of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) and Multi-agency Support Teams (MAST) for children and families.
When first published in 2006, 'Child protection and the dental team' was hailed by the Editor of the British Dental Journal as: ‘… guidance that should have a home in every dental practice in the land.’ The document brought the concept of ‘safeguarding’ children to a wider dental audience: not just referring children when abuse was suspected but taking initiative to minimise the risks of harm to children and to promote their wellbeing.
A list highlighting the 2013 updates, downloadable in PDF format, is provided for users who still prefer to use the handbook version of this educational resource, a copy of which was circulated to all NHS dental practices in England and Scotland in 2006 (and in Wales and Northern Ireland under differing arrangements). The 2009 reprint of the booklet is still available for purchase from www.shancocksltd.com with an optional verifiable CPD question set.