Social worker assessment 

We have a duty to look into any concerns or allegations about a child or young person. 

If we find that the child or young person may need protection, a social worker will be allocated to make a further assessment.

The parents and the child or young person will be seen by the social worker and interviewed. Depending upon the situation, this could include the police. 

The social worker will then seek consent to speak to other professionals, such as the childs:

  • school
  • GP 
  • health visitor

All of this information and the social workers comments are recorded in their assessment.

A copy of the assessment report is shared with the parents. 

The interview

To assess the child's needs, we meet with the parent and child to conduct interviews.  

Interviewing the child

We need the parents permission to speak to the child alone. They can refuse but they’ll need to provide a reason. 

We may then take legal advice to decide how to proceed.

Interviewing the parent

We speak to the parents to give them a chance to tell us what they’re going to do about the concerns. We can then discuss what happens next.  

We can provide interpreters for anyone who doesn’t speak English as their first language.

Referral and assessment services (RAS)

If there are safeguarding concerns, then the Children's First Contact Service (CFCS) refers this matter to the Referral and Assessment Service (RAS). 

The RAS will then ensure that the child is safeguarded against any current or future significant harm.

The manager in the RAS team follows procedures under the Children Act 1989 and arranges a strategy discussion or meeting to share concerns with partner agencies. Together they make an action plan to deal with the concerns in a timely manner.

These partner agencies could be:

  • Police
  • health
  • education
  • mental health 

This meeting could lead to different outcomes including:

  • a child protection investigation under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989, or 
  • a child and family single assessment to assess the risk and meet individual child’s needs in accordance with local protocol

The allocated social worker will:

  • provide the parents with feedback, or 
  • contact the parents again to gather further relevant information 

Medical assessment 

As part of the assessment a doctor or paediatrician (specialist in child health) may examine the child, to:

  • help identify what's happened
  • find injuries that need treatment
  • think about the explanation given for the injuries or concerns

Children can only be examined with parents permission, unless they need emergency treatment. If the parent doesn’t agree to this, social workers can get legal permission. 

Next steps

If the social workers think the concerns about the child are not true, or their injuries were accidental, things might not go any further.

If it looks like the child has suffered significant harm or neglect:

  • the enquiries will continue

  • the police may question anyone they suspect of harming the child

  • a child protection conference may be called 

We can make further enquiries about other children and family members. 

Sometimes we will  arrange for other children in the family to be medically examined, to ensure they haven’t been harmed.

Social services and the police may decide together to interview the child on video, to help as evidence in any potential criminal proceedings.

Sometimes Children’s Health and Social Care have to get court authority to protect the child and their welfare. If this means taking the child away from the parents, other family members are allowed to help.

Parent and child rights

The child’s welfare comes first. All of our teams are working to ensure that children are protected against harm. 

The parent has the right to:

  • seek legal advice
  • give or refuse permission for your child to have a medical examination
  • make a formal complaint to the employer of any of the workers involved, if you think they haven’t acted properly

We think it’s important for the child's protection that we all work together, but if the parents decide not to co-operate then the social workers may take them to court.

The child has the right to:

  • be protected from abuse and neglect
  • give or refuse permission for a medical examination, if they’re old enough to do this responsibly
  • be separately represented in any court hearings
  • make a formal complaint to the employer of any workers involved if they feel they haven’t acted properly