Disclosure scheme [pdf document]
This section of the site provide useful information and guidance for parents and carers and will help you understand what happens if social workers say they are concerned about the care of your child, and are conducting a child protection enquiry to ensure your child is safe:
Child protection enquiries have to be started when someone believes a child is either suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm.
The child protection enquiry aims to find out what might have happened to your child, hoe to help your child and family to decide what should happen to protect the child.
In some circumstances, Children’s Social Care may make the decision not to talk to you first where they consider that may cause increase risk to a child or young person.
If an enquiry is underway about your child, or children you care for, you are bound to find this a very difficult and upsetting time. You may well be concerned that your child will be taken away. Most children who are the subject of an enquiry remain living with the family are relatives.
An enquiry is likely to cause anxiety for your family. Please always:
- Be aware of your child’s needs
- Be reassuring to your child
- Be patient
- Remain calm
- Be open and honest
The different stages of enquiries could be as follows:
- Collecting information
- Interviewing your child
- Interviewing you
- Medical Assessment
The Child Protection Plan outlines what needs to happen to reduce the risk of harm to your child. It gives an opportunity for you to work in partnership with professionals to make things better for you and your family.
If your child has a Child Protection Plan, it does not mean that it will stay in place forever. A review conference will be held within three months to consider whether you child’s Child Protection Plan should stay in place. If the decision is yes, then another review conference is held in about 6 months time.
Once it is felt your child is no longer at risk, their Child Protection Plan will end.
Can my children be taken away because they have a Child Protection Plan?
No. Social Workers cannot remove a child from home simply because the child has a Child Protection Plan. Children’s Social Care department may apply to the court, if they believe that it is no longer safe for your child to live at home.
Do families have to have a social worker?
Yes, Children Social Care department will arrange for a social worker, known as the ‘key worker’ to visit you regularly. He/she will be responsible also for keeping in touch with other professionals workers involved with you.
The Social Worker will collect information to help everyone involved understand you situation, so it is in your best interest to work closely with them.
Can I appeal against the decision to make my child subject to a Child Protection Plan?
If you are not satisfied that the decision reached you should discuss this with your social worker/ key worker, who will tell you about the complaints procedure.
The death of every child is a tragedy and since April 2008 there has been a legal requirements for every Local Safeguarding Children Board to review all child deaths to see whether we can learn lessons to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of children. This process applies to all children and involves professions who have been involved with a child’s care.
If you are looking after a child or children on someone else's behalf who is not a relative then this may be a private fostering arrangement. The law requires that you let us know.