Worried about a child?

Key points

Child protection is everyone’s responsibility. If you are worried about a child’s safety you must make a telephone referral to social work services. These procedures help you to do that.


Share your concerns

Although it is important to share your worries and ask for advice you should not be dissuaded by other staff or a line manager if you remain concerned. Contact social work services or the police for advice immediately. Members of the public should also contact the social work department or the police.


If you remain concerned

If you are concerned about a child you must not hope that someone else makes a referral, you must follow these procedures.

As a professional you can also discuss your concerns with a social worker from Monday-Friday on a consultation basis whereby you discuss the child’s needs and circumstances, and advice will be given, (it may not be necessary to identify the child in question to do this).

If after discussion you agree that this is not an immediate child protection matter you require to assess the child using the GIRFEC practice model to determine how best to support the child and meet their wellbeing needs.


Action required

If at any point you believe the child is at risk of significant harm you should contact Social Work immediately and discuss your concerns with them. In an emergency contact the police.


How to do it

If you are worried or know of a child who could be at risk, you can talk to staff at one of the following numbers:


AYRSHIRE OUT OF HOURS – Out of hours evenings, weekends or public holidays – 0800 328 7758

POLICE SCOTLAND- Ayr police office – 101


Most children’s needs are met by universal services; such as Education and Health. If you believe that a child’s needs cannot be met by these universal services and they require protection, you should consult further.

Whatever the nature of your concern, it is important that you are open and honest with both the parents and the child. In general, you should discuss matters with them before taking any action, tell them what you plan to do and why, work with them and keep them informed. However, in the case of child protection concerns or investigations it may not be appropriate or safe for the child, to talk to the parents prior to discussing your concerns with a social worker who will advise you on how to go about informing the family.