Worried about a child?
In an emergency, if you are worried about the immediate safety of a child, dial 999 and ask for the police.
If you are a professional and have concerns about a child or unborn baby, that do not need an immediate response, refer to the MASH (see links in the table below).
Shift the investigative question from 'is this a child protection case or not?' to 'does this child or young person need help and, if so, which service is appropriate?'
Everyone has an important part to play in preventing the abuse of children, and in responding to situations where they think that a child may be suffering, or at risk of suffering from serious harm. If you believe that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer serious harm an enquiry must be made to the MASH team.
If you are concerned about the welfare of a child or unborn baby you should consult with your manager or the designated person responsible for child protection in your organisation. If after discussion your concerns remain, you must make a referral to the MASH team.
If you do not think that the child is at risk of serious harm but feel that the child is in need of services (including those provided by another part of your same agency), you must make a referral to the MASH for consideration of a multi-agency response and allocation of a lead professional.
|Specific guidance about the process to be followed when a child has failed to be brought to a health appointment can be found at the bottom of the page.|
Getting in touch
To let us know you are worried about a child, please use the following procedure.
In an emergency where you are worried a child may be hurt, dial 999 and ask for the police.
|1.||If you are a member of the public||If you are worried about a child's safety call 01481 723182 or 725241 (out of office hours).|
|2.||If the child's needs are not clear, not known or not being met, and you think the risk is low but the child is vulnerable|
You should contact the Multi-Agency Support Hub
The Multi-Agency Support Hub is the single point of entry to multi-agency help for children in need and their families.
|3.||If you think there are complex needs likely to require a Social Work assessment, or where you are concerned a child may be at risk.||You should contact the Multi-Agency Support Hub|
|4.||Where you think a child is at imminent risk of significant harm||Phone the MASH Team on 723182.If you are unable to speak to someone and you have immediate concerns for a child, dial 999 and ask for the police.|
If you are unable to speak to someone and you have immediate concerns for a child, dial 999 and ask for the police.
|This page was added to the website on 2 July 2015Updated: 18 January 2016 to include referrals to MASH15 January 2017 amended to 'enquiries' to MASH|
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Discuss with the person
It is vital that you respond to and talk with the child or adult who tells you something is the matter, or if you see something wrong. You should not ask too many, or leading questions, but should find out enough information to make an enquiry to the MASH.Read more
Discuss with your manager
To decide what to do next, you should talk to your manager or the designated child protection lead within your own agency. They will be the person with child protection responsibility. Share your concerns and discuss any differences of opinion.Read more
Advice if you are unsure
Deciding whether or not to make an enquiry regarding concerns about the welfare of a child is often not easy. In some circumstances it is obvious that you must refer. Many situations are not so clear. A good guide is that if you are asking yourself if you should refer, at the very least, you should be consulting and seeking advice.Read more
In order to protect the child, each agency must share information with the other agencies. This will include information on the child and adults who have involvement with them, where this relates to the safety of the child. This will include information about other children who may be at risk. It is not acceptable to withhold potentially relevant information in cases where a child may be at risk.Read more
Any sharing of information should be done with consent unless a person is at significant risk of harm. This page considers what is meant by consent.Read more
This section assumes that you are concerned enough about a child to want to make enquiries about additional support to enable them to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development.Read more
Taking an enquiry
All enquiries alleging that a child has been abused or is at risk of serious harm must be regarded as serious and actions taken immediately, according to the level of risk presented.Read more
What happens next
When a referral is accepted by the MASH, they will carry out an assessment of the information received. If this assessment indicates a low level of concern, the case might be referred to a single agency to help the family. Where the child is in need of services from more than one agency a lead professional will be identified.In cases of child protection the lead professional will be a social worker.Read more
Team Around the Child (TAC)
When the MASH assessment indicates a low level of concern, but the child would benefit from support of two or more agencies, a Lead Professional and a Team Around the Child (TAC) will be identified to coordinate a plan for early help.Read more
Referral to Child Protection Conference Flowchart
Flowchart setting out the process following a referral to Children and Family Community Services for a child protection conference.Read more
- Worried about a child?
- Case Conference
- After the Initial Case Conference
- Supplementary Guidance