How social workers will decide whether or not your child is safe

1. The social workers should decide within one working day of receiving the information:

a)  whether to do an assessment;
b)  whether an assessment under family support legislation is enough or whether to start a formal child protection enquiry;
c)  if they decide on a child protection enquiry, whether they also need to take some emergency safeguarding action.

2. The full assessment should be completed within 45 working days

It will look at what your child needs and whether you are able to meet these needs; whether your child is suffering harm, and if your family needs support. You and your child will be involved in this assessment.

3. When carrying out the assessment, professionals should follow:

  1. national guidelines set out in the Government document Working Together 2015
  2. local child protection policies published by your local safeguarding children board; and
  3. local protocols about assessment published by your local council

4. If the assessment indicates to social workers that your child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, a meeting will be held between different agencies (including the police and your child’s social worker).

This meeting is called a strategy discussion and is for professionals only. Parents and other family members are not invited. People at the meeting will share the information they have about your child’s circumstances and will decide what happens next.

5. If the professionals at the strategy discussion decide that there are serious concerns about your child’s welfare and his/her situation needs to be looked at more closely, then the social worker and/or police will carry out more investigations.

These will include talking to you, your child and other people who are involved in your child’s life, for example his/her teacher. These investigations are called child protection enquiries.

6. If these child protection enquiries show that your child may be suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, an initial child protection conference will be organised.