Back to Responding to a report of a child at risk of harm, abuse and/or neglect

Engaging the child and family during initial checks and discussions

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).

Seeing the child

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.

Informing the child and family of the report

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

Pointers for Practice: Managing Initial Parental Response to a Report

Informing the family of the initial decision

Following the initial decision:

Families will require different information depending on the outcome of the initial checks.

Informing the family of the initiation of s47 enquires under the Children Act

Information for the family, if there is reasonable cause to suspect the child is experiencing significant harm, should include:

Details of: