Conducting the investigation – general

Key points

Adequate background information should be obtained so that a relatively complete picture of the family situation is acquired. Consideration should be given to obtaining the following information throughout the course of the investigation:

  • full names and dates of birth of family members
  • present and previous addresses
  • details of the alleged harm (witnesses, times locations, type of injury, circumstances)
  • parents’ account or explanation of the alleged abuse
  • child’s account of their circumstances
  • child’s account of any abuse
  • background family information
  • household conditions
  • any substance abuse issues
  • name and address of general practitioner and any known health issues
  • information from the educational establishment the child attends
  • details of any other children who may be at risk
  • Only in exceptional circumstances would a home visit not be done.


How to do it

Social workers undertaking interviews of children in the course of a child protection investigation should have completed the required child protection course. If a Joint Investigative Interview is required, the Social Worker must have completed the Joint Investigative Interview Training.

All relevant adults and children should be interviewed. This may include staff from other agencies or any other people deemed appropriate.

The Social Worker will have 10 working days from the point of the child protection investigation being initiated to complete a CP1.  The CP1 should be complete, quality assured by a Team Leader and sent to the Service Manager on the 10th working day from the point of Child Protection Procedures being initiated.

The purpose of the CP1 is to undertake an “initial assessment” of the child’s and family’s circumstances to determine if an Initial Child Protection Case Conference is required to consider if a multi-agency child protection plan may be needed. Where there is evidence to indicate that a child may be at immediate risk of harm then consideration should be given to the need for immediate child protection measures and should not be dependent on or await the completion of a CP1.

Engaging with the family and going over the content of the report is a key element of completing a Child Protection Investigation. The Social Work must ensure children and their families are prepared for attending an Initial Child Protection Case Conferences, where it is deemed necessary one should take place.

An Initial Child Protection Case Conference should take place no later than 21 calendar days from the point of the child protection investigation being initiated.