The child protection investigation
If a social worker receives information that makes them worried about the safety or welfare of your child, they should decide whether to do an assessment of your child's needs within one working day of receiving the information. They should tell you if they plan to do this.
- If the social worker thinks your child is safe but that you need extra help to make sure they are well cared for, they should draw up a child in need plan with you and your child setting out the help you will be offered and who will provide it. For further information on getting support read here. The FRG advice sheet on Family Support Services may also be helpful.
- However if the information gathered in the assessment suggests that your child is suffering (or likely to suffer) significant harm, a strategy discussion will be held between different professionals, and your child's social worker to share the information they have about your child's circumstances and to decide what action should be taken. Parents and other family members are not invited to this meeting.
- If the professionals at the strategy meeting are worried about your child's welfare and decide that your child's situation needs to be looked at more closely, then the social worker will carry out more investigations and further assessments. This will involve talking to you, your child and other people who are involved in your child's life, for example a teacher or health visitor to find out more about your child's circumstances in order to decide if they need further protection. Sometimes they involve a specialist police officer in these enquires as well if there is a possibility that a crime may have been committed. The enquiries may lead to a child protection conference being held and a child protection plan drawn up. For further information see FRG advice sheet on Child Protection.
- If they are concerned your child is at immediate risk of harm, the strategy meeting may decide to take action to remove your child from your care for example by applying to court for an emergency protection order (or interim care order) or by asking the police to remove your child into police protection. For further information see FRG advice sheet on Care (and related) proceedings.
You should be informed of any action they propose to take after the strategy meeting If you are not sure what to do or legal proceedings are being started you should take further advice immediately from a solicitor or FRG advice service (see getting early help section).