When a referral is made to children’s social care due to concerns of abuse or neglect the Local Authority has a responsibility to investigate.
The local authority (Children’s Social Care) must take all reports (or Referrals) seriously. This summarises the procedures that will be followed.
All Referrals will be considered by a Social Worker in Children’s Services If it is unclear what the concerns are the case may be ‘MASHED’ where information is sought from other agencies, with your consent to help social workers make a decision about the right course of action for your child. The referral may be Triaged – where advice and support is offered, including step down to a early help assessment. Your child may be allocated social worker to complete a child and family assessment. It may be necessary to take immediate action to protect you or the child(ren) involved, in the extreme, this can result in children being temporarily cared for by a Foster Carer. Please click here for more information on the MASH team.
Strategy Discussion If it looks like abuse has happened or might happen, the social workers and others, like teachers or the Police, will hold a meeting called a strategy discussion to decide whether a Child Protection Enquiry is necessary.
Child Protection Enquiry If a child protection enquiry is started, this will involve a Social Worker and the Police assessing the concerns that have been referred. This will usually include speaking to you and your child, speaking to the other professionals who know your family and making a decision as to whether it is believed that the child is at risk of “significant harm”
Initial Child Protection Conference At the end of the Child Protection Inquiry, an initial child protection conference will be conducted, chaired by an Independent Chair. Parents will be invited to this meeting. Please see attached leaflets for more information about this process.
If you are unhappy about any aspect of the process, you should talk to your child’s social worker, their manager, or chair of the Child protection case conference. If you feel you haven’t been properly informed or involved, you can seek advice from a Solicitor or ask your social worker to explain the complaint process.
More information about the safeguarding process can be found on the NSPCC website