Classification of Child Protection Concernsby Social Work Services on Apr 25, 2012 • 9:14 am No Comments
In a broad sense interpretations of Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child apply. On a more specific level conditions and circumstances described by section 47 of the Children Act 1989 will be decisive. If in doubt, pages 2 and 3 of “What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused” (Department of Health 2003) will provide clarification.
Handling of inquiries and cases
Where conflict exists, the best interest of the child should always take precedence over those of other family members.
When an inquiry is received, the duty social worker will ascertain the seriousness and urgency of the referral. In cases where this seems appropriate, she or he will refer the inquirer directly to the police, a diplomatic representation, or other statutory agency in order to prevent (further) harm to the child. In urgent cases ISS staff will take immediate steps to alert an overseas unit of ISS or the relevant social services or police department.
The fact that a child’s name is placed on a Child Protection Register at a local authority in the United Kingdom might not in itself constitute a child protection case. Therefore, it is important to establish and to record the circumstances, which do or could lead to a situation of potential harm to the child. It should also be tried to establish factors likely to increase and decrease the risk of harm. The referrer should always be asked to specify her or his concern. Attention has to be paid to other children in the same household or to whom the abusive person has access to and whether these children are at risk of harm, too.
When appropriate, social workers of local authorities in the UK should be advised about differing child protection procedures and concepts outside the UK. The same applies vice versa for colleagues at branches, affiliated bureaux, and correspondents if the need should arise.
Upon receipt of a child protection notification or referral, the referrer should receive an acknowledgement of receipt in writing as soon as possible. The referrer should also be informed about intended action as well as being kept informed about further developments and progress in the matter.
It is important that all child protection matters are followed up unless evidence in the case file has been recorded that clearly demonstrates the child is no longer in a precarious situation and/or that relevant authorities have initiated appropriate action and protective measures. The timeframes for follow up action will depend on the individual circumstances of the child as well as on action initiated and taken by appropriate professionals and/or family members. It needs to be stressed that the responsibility of CFAB for a case does not end once a relevant authority has been notified about a child deemed to be at risk. It may be that those authorities, especially in other countries, will require further information, and for this reason, a file shall only be closed by agreement with the person who made the referral and once the case manager is satisfied that the child is no longer at risk or likely to be at risk of harm and that the best possible result has been obtained.
If a notification about a child being at risk of harm is passed on to another agency, including branches, affiliated bureaux, or correspondents, the term “child protection notification” should be included in the subject line.
Whilst cases might be discussed on the phone and action be initiated after discussing a child protection matter on the phone, confirmation of all communication should be sought in writing.
When a referral comes from an individual, the duty social worker or case manager of CFAB will seek to verify and confirm the circumstances of the case with the help of statutory agencies (police, social services, health, etc.), other professionals like solicitors, voluntary agencies, and/or relevant individuals. Copies of relevant documentation such as medical reports, court orders, etc. should be sought where available.
All records relating to child protection matters have to be kept in a secure place.
Every telephone conversation or meeting in person regarding a child protection matter should be recorded. The record should feature
- the name of the inquirer,
- contents of discussion, and
- advice given.
All notes have to be timed, dated, and legibly signed. The sources of information should be clearly identified. Furthermore it is important to record whether evidence is based on reports from carers or professionals, own observations, allegations, or opinion. Records should use clear, straightforward language, be concise and accurate. Own judgements and hypothesis should be clearly labelled as such. It should always be kept in mind that records are an essential source of evidence for investigations and inquiries, and it may be required that CFAB’s records be disclosed in court proceedings.
As a minimum, at the first point of contact the following details should be established and recorded:
- the full name of the child;
- the date of birth of the child;
- the current or last known address of the child;
- the names of the parents as well as
- the names of the primary carers if different from parents.
These details should be featured on every file cover sheet.
Further details that should be ascertained include:
- the child’s wishes and feelings towards his or her situation;
- the preferred language of the child;
- the child’s place, or at least country, of birth
- the nationality of the child and immigration status in respective country if applicable;
- whether the child has any special needs in terms of education, health, ability, etc.;
- involvement of other professionals; and
- are the parents and, if applicable, the primary carers aware of the situation and do they know about CFAB’s involvement.
This list is certainly not exclusive and depending on the circumstances and characteristics of the individual case it may well be necessary to establish additional details.
Source: Issu Download