Child Protection Investigations: A guide for families
What is a child protection investigation?
When people are worried that a child may be at risk of being harmed or is not being looked after properly they can contact the relevant Child Care Team using the contact details on this page. Doncaster Council has a duty to make sure that the child is safe and to see if a family need help.
The social worker will talk to the person who has told them about their worries about your child. Some referrals may be anonymous.
Before visiting you the social worker will talk, in confidence to other professional people who know your family, for example, teachers, health visitors, and doctors.
If the allegations are serious the social worker may discuss the concerns with the police.
The social worker will then ask your permission to talk to your child. If you do not give consent the social worker may need to ask the court for permission.
The social worker needs to find out what, if anything, has happened and needs you to help them. There may be a simple explanation.
It may be clear that your child is safe and nothing more needs to be done. If your child is not safe the social worker will talk to you about how your child can be made safe.
It may be that the social worker, or other professionals, can offer you some help or advice. Although the child is safe you may have some other problems, and this may be a good opportunity to seek some help.
What happens if there are still reasons for concern?
If your child has suffered harm or appears to have health problems, the social worker may ask your permission for a doctor to see your child to give a medical opinion. This is likely to be a pediatrician at the hospital or it may be your GP. If there is a possibility of sexual abuse, it is likely to be the police surgeon who examines your child, if a medical examination is required.
If it appears that an offence may have been committed the police have to be involved.
We visit many families and it is important for families to work with us. Sometimes families do not co-operate and refuse to give consent for the child to be seen or medically examined. If this happens the social worker may need to ask the court to intervene. This is because the social worker has a duty to safeguard the child's welfare.
In some cases the social worker may still feel your child is at risk and will arrange a Child Protection Conference. This conference must look at the concerns and consider whether a plan is needed to protect your child. If this happens you will usually be invited to the conference and you will have the opportunity to have your views heard.
It is important for you to remember that:
In all investigations, Social Workers and other agencies genuinely want to work with families.
What rights do I have if I disagree?
You have the right to see your own solicitor who will advise you on legal matters.
If you feel the social worker has acted wrongly you may use our Complaints Procedure.