After reporting a concern, practitioners in MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) will consider referral details, gather further information and analyse risk, working openly and transparently with children, young people and families to inform any transfer to our assessment team or signposting to community resources.
Our Assessment teams receive referrals from MASH and complete Children & Families assessments which recognise family strengths, identify support needs, concerns, and consider resources.
In Sefton, we have a Sefton Stronger Together model. Practitioners and managers recognise that it can be difficult for families to receive a contact from Children’s Services and try to work together with families in a positive way to achieve best outcomes.
After you have reported your concerns to children's social care by submitting a referral, a social worker will speak with you, then contact the parent or carer to discuss the information you have provided. They will check whether the family needs any help or support. They will also want to see the child and talk to the child alone if they are old enough to understand. Or, observe a younger child in their family's care.
Social workers may also speak with other services involved with the child or family, gaining the families consent to do this if support is required. If a social worker considers a child to be at risk of harm, they can speak with other professionals without consent from the family.
If the social worker thinks the child is at risk, they will discuss with the parents what will need to happen to make them safe. If, after speaking with others, the social worker considers that the child is at risk of abuse or neglect, they will organise a child protection conference and draw up a plan to keep the child safe. The plan will involve the professionals who know the child, the child’s parents, the child (if of sufficient understanding) and significant others within their family or community.
Our aim is to keep children within their own families. Some children need to live apart from their parents to be kept safe. When this happens all efforts are made to return children to their families care, providing their care and safety can be assured.
You can request that we do not tell the child’s parents who contacted us, unless you are a professional who works with children or adults. However, if we need to speak to you again for more information, we can only do this if we know your contact details.
We won’t share your details with anyone without your permission, but it is important for us to know who you are.
If the person who is raising concerns about a child is a professional person, like a doctor or a teacher, we will tell the parent or carer. Safeguarding is everybody's responsibility.
If it is thought that a crime has been committed against a child or young person, the police will also be involved.
They will work with the social worker and together decide the best way to keep the child/young person safe from harm, consulting with other agencies as appropriate. We will work together to protect children/young people in line with procedures and guidelines.
Find out more about our partner agencies on the Sefton Local Safeguarding Children Partnership website.