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How we assess the need for help or protection

You can make a referral yourself if you and your family need support or someone else can do this on your behalf.

Agencies can also make a referral about your child although they should discuss this with you first.

The only time that a referral should be made by another agency without your knowledge is if they feel that informing you would place someone at risk of harm.

How to make a referral

Contact The Children's Hub to make a referral:

Referral and assessment

When we receive a referral, we will decide whether an assessment should be carried out.

An assessment involves the collection and consideration of information provided by you, your child and from other people and agencies who may be involved with your family.

Any information given will be kept confidential. We will ask your permission to gather and share information from other people.

The only time that information will be gathered or shared without your permission is if we believe that it is necessary to protect your child. If this is the case, you will be told what your rights are.

After an assessment has been completed, a decision will be made about whether you and your family may benefit from additional support and services.

If this is the case, a care plan will be produced. Your care plan will set out what support and services will be provided and who will provide them.


Child protection

If we receive information which in our view indicates that your child may be at risk of harm we must follow our child protection procedures.

Strategy meeting

A strategy meeting is held when a social worker or the police suspects that a child or young person may be at risk of harm. The purpose of a strategy meeting is to share information and to decide if further action may be necessary to protect the child or young person. A social worker, their team manager and the police will attend a strategy meeting. Other people such as a health professional and a person from the child's school may also be asked to attend the meeting. The most important thing to those who attend the strategy meeting is keeping children and young people safe from harm.

Child protection enquiry

If the strategy meeting decides that a child may not be safe, a child protection enquiry will be carried out. The enquiry will be carried out by a social worker with support from the police if it is believed that a criminal offence may have been committed. The child protection enquiry will gather further information and will decide if any further action is required to keep the child or young person safe.

Child protection conference

If the child protection enquiry decides that there are still concerns that a child or young person may be at risk of harm, a child protection conference will be held. The child protection conference brings together family members (and the child or young person where appropriate) and the professionals most involved with the family to make decisions about the child or young person's future safety, health, and development. The conference will decide if the child or young person is at risk of harm and if a child protection plan is needed to coordinate support and services.

Child protection core group meeting

If a child protection plan is made at the conference, a smaller group called a core group will meet at least monthly to continue developing the child protection plan and to make sure it is followed.

The core group is usually made up of parents or carers, the social worker, a teacher and a health professional such as a school nurse or health visitor.