The Referral Process
As you would expect, the Local Authority (Children’s Social Care) takes all reports or ‘referrals’ of abuse seriously. This summarises the procedures that will be followed if Children’s Social Care receive a referral that a child may suffer or has suffered abuse:
All enquiries to Children and Young People’s Services are initially dealt with via staff from the Families Information Service who decide whether the enquiry is a general or a specific enquiry and whether it relates to an open case or is a new case. The team will establish where the enquiry should be directed based on the details given. If the case is not already open to a social work team and is a request for social work service the call will be directed to the social work Duty and Assessment Team, (DAT). . A Social Care Advisor will then take the call and collate information and undertake background checks where appropriate.
If it looks like abuse has happened or might happen, the social worker and others, like teachers or the Police, will hold a meeting called a Strategy Discussion to decide whether a Child Protection Enquiry is necessary (see the next stage).
Child protection enquiry
If a Child Protection Enquiry is started, this will involve a social worker and the Police assessing the concerns or allegations. The child(ren) and parents will be involved in this process.
Initial child protection conference
At the end of the Child Protection Enquiry, an Initial Child Protection Conference will be conducted, chaired by an independent manager. You might be invited to this meeting.
You have the rights too…
If you are unhappy about any aspect of the meeting, you should talk to the chair of the meeting to discuss your views. If you feel you haven’t been properly informed or involved, seek advice from a solicitor, Warrington Citizens Advice Bureau or you can make a complaint.