How our social workers and therapists work

We work to give family support and to safeguard children and young people. Our teams are made up of social workers and family therapists who offer a service to children and families with complex needs.

We aim to have services that work together - meaning that ideally, when you contact us with a concern, you will only have to deal with one person rather than several different services.

The underlying principles of our work are based around early intervention and effective prevention. Whenever possible we want children to remain with their families and support is offered to reduce the risk of family breakdown.

Our website provides further advice and documents detailing our policies and aims - visit the Local Safeguarding Children Board website

The step-by step process

When someone first tells us that they are worried about a child we have to make sure that that child is safe. This is the purpose of a Child Protection Enquiry.

During the enquiry we will gather information from people who have contact with the child and their family, for example teachers and doctors.

Child protection enquiry

First a social worker will visit you to talk about the enquiry and get your views. After this we may not need to contact you again.

If there are concerns about the welfare of your child a formal 'Child Protection Enquiry' will take place. During this your child will be interviewed by workers who are specially trained to reduce any fears or anxieties that they may have. They may also require a medical examination, for which the parent or carer's permission will be sought.

After all checks have been completed and everyone involved spoken to, we will involve you in deciding the next step.

It may be felt that a 'child protection plan' is needed for you and your child. This may involve more than one organisation working together to help improve your situation. In this event a case conference will be arranged.

If a protection plan is not needed but both the child and family are in need of support, we will provide information, advice and practical support or by asking other agencies to help your family perhaps with mediation, counselling or workshops.

Child protection case conference

A Child Protection Case Conference is a meeting to talk about a child and their safety and welfare. Attending at the meeting will be:

  • Parents or carers of the child
  • Any workers involved with the family such as teachers, doctors, school nurses, social workers and health visitors.
  • The child may attend if it is felt appropriate
  • The Chair who will direct the meeting and meet you prior to the conference to explain the process

At the meeting  we will share information about the child and any other information about the family that has been gathered during the Child Protection Enquiry. None of the information presented should be a surprise to you.

We will then collectively decide if the child needs a child protection plan.

A child protection plan

A Child Protection Plan explains what needs to happen and who will be responsible for these actions in order to keep your child safe. You will be given a written copy.

What happens next?

There will be regular meetings called Core Group Meetings to make sure that the work is being completed. It is very important that you are involved in the meetings and that you work with the agencies to ensure your child's wellbeing.

After three months (and then every six months if needed) a Review Child Protection Conference will be arranged. If the agencies think that your child is no longer at risk then there will be no need for a further child protection plan, although you may still receive support from us and other agencies.

What if I don't want a service?

You may think there is no need for a social worker to be involved with you and your family. However while we are our committed to working in partnership and respect your views where there are child protection concerns about your child, we have a legal duty to try and work with you and your family. For some families it may be that the social worker and other professionals (health visitors, teachers etc) think that without help things may get worse.