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What to do if you are worried about a child

What does it mean if I have a social worker

What is a child protection enquiry?

A child protection enquiry is what we need to do to make sure that children are okay. Sometimes adults or other young people hurt children, make them feel bad or afraid. This shouldn't happen. If it happens to you, tell us. It's our job to listen to you.

Don't worry - we're here to help you

An enquiry into your safety may be upsetting but please remember that everyone involved will do their best for you and your family.

What happens next?

We will talk to other people including you and your family. We need to find out what happened and why. Please remember that you have done nothing wrong. You're not in trouble. We just want to help you.

When we've spoken to everyone we will decide what should happen next. It might be that nothing needs to happen. We might offer your family some additional support and advice or we might need to have a meeting called a 'Child Protection Conference'.

What is a Child Protection Conference?

A Child Protection Conference is a meeting that takes place when an enquiry has shown that there are concerns about your safety, or a member of your family. The meeting decides whether or not there is a risk to your safety. The meeting will give everyone, including you, a chance to express their views, so that careful decisions are made about how you and your family can be helped.

  • If the meeting decides that there is a serious risk to your safety, a Plan will be put in place to ensure you are safe and properly cared for.

  • If the meeting decides there is not a serious risk to your safety, and that your family needs some support they could make a 'Child in Need Plan'. The Plan will be agreed by your parents/carers and all the professionals involved. This will ensure that everyone knows what they have to do to keep you safe. You will be given a copy of the Plan.

Who will be at the Child Protection Conference?

  • You - Your views are really important, if you are old enough you can participate in the meeting. You can bring an adult friend or advisor with you if you like. Your social worker will also talk to you about this.

  • Your parents/carers will be invited and they can bring a friend or legal representative with them if they wish.

  • Social Workers

  • Teacher/Nursery staff

  • Health Workers such as Health Visitor, GP, Hospital Doctor, School Nurse etc.

  • Police Officer

  • Other important people in your life, e.g. Youth Worker, Connexions Advisor

  • Chair Person - The Chair Person will lead the meeting and they will ensure that everyone is treated with respect and able to give their opinions without interruptions. The Chair Person will talk to you in private before the meeting and explain what will happen, they will also discuss any worries you may have.

  • People at the meeting will have written reports about you and your family. You will be given parts of these reports which relate to you so that you have time to read them and think about what they say.

What is a Child Protection Plan?

The plans will say:

  • What's needed to ensure your safety and care.

  • What Social Care and all other agencies will do to help you and your family.

  • What you and your family can do to improve the situation.

  • That a smaller group of people (known as a 'Core Group') will meet regularly to make sure everyone does what they should to keep you safe. If a 'Child in Need Plan' is made you can be involved in these meetings.  

Advice and support

You may find it comforting to talk to a trusted friend, or to talk to one of the following:

Childline - Telephone: 0800 11 11

Coram Children's Legal Centre (free legal advice) - Telephone: 08088 020 008

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) - Telephone: 0808 800 5000

National Youth Advocacy Service Telephone: 0800 61 61 01

Kidscape For parents, guardians or concerned relatives and friends of bullied children

Alateen For young people (aged twelve to twenty) affected by a problem drinker

National Drugs Helpline (Talk to Frank) -Advice and information is available to drug users, family, friends of drug users

Sexwise - Advice line on sex, relationships and contraception for young people aged 18+under

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