N.B. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THE REFERENCES TO ‘HARM’, IN RELATION TO s47 ENQUIRIES, REFERRED TO IN HANDLING INDIVIDUAL CASES VOL 5, MEANS SIGNIFICANT HARM.
The concept applies to statutory duties on the local authority to investigate and make enquiries , provide emergency protection if necessary or initiate care proceedings under Parts IV and V of the Act.
Therefore, practitioners must:
Where the question of whether harm suffered by a child is significant turns on the child’s health or development, the child’s health or development is to be compared with that which could reasonably be expected of a similar child.
When making this decision, practitioners must keep in mind the definition of ‘harm’ included in the Social Services and Well-being Act (Wales) 2014: “harm” in relation to a child or children, means abuse or the impairment of —
What evidence of actual or likely significant harm have we obtained and from what sources?
Is there information in relation to previous concerns? How were they addressed?
Is the evidence corroborated by one or more practitioner, the child and/or family member?
What indication do we have either of future risk of significant harm or that the child is no longer at risk of such harm?
What has the child indicated about their lived experiences, wishes and feelings? Does this indicate possible significant harm, and/or identify care and support protection needs?
What have we learnt from family members about their lived experience, wishes and feelings? Does this information indicate possible future harm, care and support protection needs regarding the child/children?
Have we learnt anything about the carer/s ability and motivation to change and sustain change regarding concerning behaviours and attitudes?
What do we know about the child, their family and the current situation that is likely to:
increase risk of significant harm and what are the likely consequences?
reduce risk of significant harm and in what way?
act as protective factors to keep the child safe and ensure their care and support needs are met and what are these factors?
Where the child's circumstances are about to change the assessment must include an assessment of the safety of the new environment.
It is important to note, at this stage in the process, there may be limited evidence/information available to evaluate care and support protection needs. Therefore, if practitioners are not sure, based on the information obtained, that the child is safe from harm then a recommendation should be made for further assessment.