Engaging parents and/or carers from the very start of the safeguarding process is more likely to create an effective working relationship that leads to child-centred outcomes).
In the following circumstances the child must be seen the same day:
N.B. This is not an exhaustive list.
Where the child is not seen the same day the rationale and decisions for this must be recorded.
It is good practice for parents and children to be informed about a report by the report-maker and followed up by the report-taker, unless a decision is made that this would place the child at risk of harm.
Where there are reasons for not informing parents i.e. may put the child at risk; jeopardise any police investigation, then they should not be informed. The decision and the reasons for this must be recorded.
Normally a manager with responsibility for managing reports to social services will decide whether to inform the parents at the reporting stage.
The overriding concern must be safeguarding and promoting the safety and well-being of the child. Therefore, social services and police may decide not to inform the family if:
For example: the mother is suspected of sexually abusing her son and the mother may go into hiding if she is made aware of this report
For example: the parent has already been physically abusive towards the reporter when informed of the intended report and they have threatened to take the child away if the report is investigated
For example: a parent is likely to remove bedsheets etc. if alerted to a report about sexual abuse within the home
the child wishes that the parent is not made aware and the child is considered Gillick Competent to take that decision (definition of Gillick Competence)
For example: the child is anxious their parent will be violent towards them if they know that the child has agreed to disclose abuse or neglect
Following the initial decision:
the child and the family should always be informed of the outcome of any report irrespective of outcome;
it should be clearly agreed how they will be informed and who will undertake this, even if the decision is no further action;
the information should be confirmed in writing to the reporting agency and the family as appropriate;
consideration should be given to any communication, ethnicity or cultural factors that may affect the way in which the family are informed. For example, whether an interpreter may be required.
Families will require different information depending on the outcome of the initial checks.
If the decision is no further action:
If the decision is no further action the practitioner should, if appropriate, advise the family of relevant early help services
If the decision is that the child has care and support needs
If the decision is the child appears to have care and support needs, this should be explained to the family. The parents’ consent must be sought to initiate an assessment under Section 21, Part 3 of the Social Services & Well-being (Wales) Act 2014; duty to assess a child’s needs for care and support.
Information for the family, if there is reasonable cause to suspect the child is experiencing significant harm, should include:
any immediate protection and urgent action being taken;
any police investigation that will take place alongside s47 enquiries (if the situation allows for this);
the next steps: strategy meeting and assessment.