If you are concerned about a child or you think a child may be at risk of abuse, you must report your concerns to your line manager immediately and consult with your own child protection co-ordinator. If there are possible child protection concerns then a referral should be made to Social Work Services or, in an emergency, to the police. This will either be made by your line manager or yourself depending on who is best to accurately share concerns. N.B. It is important that concerns are shared timeously in order that appropriate action can be taken. If there is any doubt or uncertainty whether concerns should be shared then this can be discussed with your line manager or directly with Social Work Services for advice.
Referrals should be made to the Social Work Services as soon as a problem, suspicion or concern becomes apparent. Referrals should be made to the Initial Response Team, during office hours (01292 267675) or in an emergency to the police, stating clearly that you want to make a child protection referral and then follow up the referral in writing using the reporting concern form.
The call will be diverted directly to Out of Hours Service from 01292 267675 contact number when the office is closed.
Wherever possible pass on the following information.
Don’t delay your referral though if you don’t know all of this.
Don’t delay referral and ensure you pass on the following information::
- Your name, contact details and agency and your involvement with the family
- The child’s full name, age, date of birth and address. The child’s current whereabouts and who they are with and what you are concerned about
- The name, age and address of the child’s main parents/carers?
- Any adults who have care of the child
- Who it is thought may have harmed the child or may pose a risk to them, and where and what may have happened?
- Is the child in imminent danger?
- Are any other children who may also be at risk? Do you have their names, DOB, address etc?
- The name, age and address of any other person known to have information on the alleged or suspected abuse?
- Whether there are any other agencies currently involved with the family (if known) e.g. health visitor, teacher, school nurse or any other health professional involved with the family, including the parents/carers?
- Whether there have been any previous concerns about this child or other children in the household?
- Whether the child has any disabilities or additional support needs?
- Whether there are any cultural or religious factors which need to be taken into account?
- Whether the parents are aware of the concerns and if so what is their reaction?
The name of the person receiving the referral in the relevant agency should always be requested and a record of this kept.
It is important that you make your referral as soon as you have decided that this is the appropriate course of action.
How will I be kept informed?
It is important that agencies are kept informed about what is happening and that feedback is given to the referrer on action taken. Social Work Services will send out a written response to the referrer acknowledging receipt of referral within five working days. Following initial assessment of the child’s needs immediate decisions will be taken within 24 hours as to the most appropriate course of action.
When a referral has been received by Social Work Services in line with eligibility criteria one of the following decisions will be made:
- Child protection procedures are invoked (triggers alert to register and tripartite referral)
- To convene an initial referral discussion (IRD) where further information sharing is required
- To offer an appointment to a child and their family where they are seeking services
- To undertake a home visit as part of a Girfec Initial Child Assessment
- Multi agency assessment using Girfec model
- No further action required
N.B. In all referrals to Social Work Services contact will be made with the named person universal services to collate information to contribute to the assessment of the child, in addition, previously known referral history will be fully considered.
Outcome of referrals
All agencies will be advised of assessment outcomes on shared concerns within five working days from the completion of the initial assessment.
It is the responsibility of each individual professional to ensure that their child protection concerns are taken seriously and followed through. Each individual is accountable for their own role in the child protection process and if a professional remains concerned about the child he or she should re-refer the child and consider bringing the matter to the immediate attention of the team leader with responsibility for the case or team leader for the initial response team. In all such situations, the professional’s own line manager should be informed.