What to do if you are concerned about a child:
If you are worried about a child or a young person under the age of 18 you should contact Somerset Children’s Social Care on 0300 123 2224
If the child or young person is in danger and immediate action is required, you should call 999 and ask for the Police
You can find out more about safeguarding children at these related websites:
The Early Help Assessment (EHA) aims to capture all of an unborn baby / child and their family’s needs at the earliest opportunity. It is a shared tool which can be used by all agencies in Somerset who are delivering early help in a coordinated way so that they understand and respond to the needs of unborn babies / children and their families.
Complex Early Help / Level 3 (Child in need of support)
If there is a clear rationale for targeted provision for children with multiple issues or complex needs where a coordinated multi agency response is needed you can request the involvement and support of the Family Intervention Services (FIS), by completing the Early Help Assessment and Child Protection form (EHA) and sending it to FISRequests@somerset.gov.uk. It essential that consent is gained from the family as this process is about all agencies working together with the family.
Child Protection / Acute /Level 4 (Child in need of protection)
If you are worried about a child or young person who could be in immediate danger or are suffering or at immediate risk of significant harm, please contact:
- Children’s Social Care on 0300 123 2224. Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.
- or the police. In an emergency always contact the police by dialling 999.
If you have identified a child protection / Level 4 concern about an unborn baby / child and their family, whereby there is no immediate danger but there is clear rationale for statutory intervention of Children Social Care, please also call 0300 123 2224 (until 26.02.2024). An EHA is not required. After this date, for non-urgent concerns please complete the following referral form: Early Help Assessment (EHA) and Child Protection form and send it securely to SDInputters@somerset.gov.uk
Seeking consent for a child protection/level 4 referral is good practice, but not essential if you have evidenced significant harm in your referral, and why you think level 4 criteria has been met.
Out of Hours Children’s Social Care (CSC)
If you would like to speak to a social worker outside of office hours (6pm to 8.30am, Monday to Friday, weekends and bank holidays) please phone the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) on 0300 123 23 27
You can use the Effective support for children and families guidance to verify the level of need for the child and family, and whether or not you need to:
- Signpost the family to advice and support available from other services
- Request the involvement of the Family Intervention Service
- Request the statutory intervention of children social care if you have identified a child protection referral / level 4 concern.
If you require any advice or support with completing an Early Help Assessment, please contact The Family Front Door on 0300 123 3078
Links to Somerset Safeguarding Children Guidance:
Southwest Child Protection Procedures https://swcpp-somerset.trixonline.co.uk/
The southwest child protection procedures are based on current legislation and the latest edition of statutory guidance (Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2018). Somerset is part of the Southwest consortium who are signatories to the procedures as our local guidance.
This guidance aims to assist professional assessment around the provision of effective support for children and families in Somerset. It covers unborn babies, children and young people aged 0 -19 years, (up to age 25 with special educational needs and disability) and should be used alongside statutory guidance for each agency.
Family Strengths and Needs Toolkit - Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership (Recognising and responding to neglect)
A toolkit to assist with the identification of neglect of a child or young person.
This protocol describes the application of step-up and step-down mechanisms across Somerset to ensure a seamless journey for children, young people and their families across all services. It also describes processes where services may step into families lives as their needs change.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is a responsibility shared by all agencies. If you feel that a professional or an agency is not acting in the best interests of the child, young person or family, you have a responsibility to respectfully challenge the professional or agency. This Resolving Professional Differences (RPD) protocol is applicable to all staff in Somerset agencies who work with children and families. This includes the statutory, voluntary, community and faith sectors. There are many different aspects to safeguarding children and scenarios where professionals working together may find themselves with differing views on the best course of action to effectively safeguard the child.
The Pre-Birth Planning Toolkit is designed for practitioners working with pregnant women
and their families. Work carried out in the antenatal period can help minimise any potential harm if there is early assessment, intervention and support
This protocol was developed to support children who are suspected or observed displaying sexualised behaviour that may be harmful to themselves or others, and those professionals working with them.
When assessing a child or young person’s vulnerability, exploitation should always be considered. Often a hidden crime, it is crucial that practitioners understand signs of exploitation when working through a plan for effective support and protection.
Every missing episode should be robustly responded to. Agencies and professionals in Somerset must work together to ensure a consistent and effective response is given to the child upon their return. This muti agency protocol aims to support this and highlight how all agencies working with children in Somerset must work together to reduce risk and ensure children are safeguarded.
The procedures relating to Allegations Management should be followed when it is alleged that a member of staff or volunteer has:
- behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
- possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child;
- behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children; or behaved, or may have behaved, in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children.
Somerset multi-agency guide to Team Around the Family (TAF) meetings. Find out answers to: What are the responsibilities of a TAF member? What are the responsibilities of the Lead Practitioner? How can people positively participate in a TAF meeting? And top tips for running a TAF meeting.
Whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm there should be a strategy discussion involving local authority children’s social care (including the residential or fostering service, if the child is looked-after), the police, health and other involved agencies such as the referring agency. This is a useful guide outlining the roles and responsibilities of attendees.
Gillick competency and Fraser guidelines help people who work with children to balance the need to listen to children’s wishes with the responsibility to keep them safe.
Information relating to domestic abuse and the services available across Somerset. Including Somerset Council's locally based confidential service, offering a range of specialist support to anyone who needs advice and help on domestic abuse.
Referrals can be made by agencies working with those that cause harm, their families or victims. Explicit consent must be obtained from the individual before a referral can be made.
Addressing Risks Outside the Family or home is an approach to understanding, and responding to, young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their families. It recognises that the different relationships that young people form in their neighbourhoods, schools and online can feature violence and abuse.
This guidance aims to assist practitioners to:
- Understand the importance of bruising in babies and children as an indicator of physical abuse;
- Clarify the arrangements between health and social care colleagues in relation to the investigation of bruising in children and young people.
Where a child is suspected of having experienced FGM or is at risk of FGM then CSC must always be notified. The above guidance supports practitioners to assess and respond to information regarding FGM including mandatory NHS data sharing responsibilities.
At any stage in the process of working with children and their families, the parents and/or the child/children may move from one household to another, on either a permanent or temporary basis. This could result in a change of address possibly to another local authority area. This guidance supports practitioners to recognise their safeguarding responsibilities when this occurs.
These procedures apply if a child in the following circumstances goes missing or cannot be traced or to adults whose whereabouts become unknown in the following circumstances:
- A pregnant woman when there are concerns about the welfare of the child following birth;
- A family where there are concerns about the welfare of the child because of the presence of an individual who poses a risk to children or another person suspected of previously harming a child.
This guidance provides a procedure for agencies about the investigation of complex and organised abuse and information about what action they should take if they suspect such abuse.
Contacting our Safeguarding Children Team
Tel: 01935 381999
The team are contactable 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays).
The team provide advice and support to primary care staff in relation to safeguarding concerns they may have about a child / family, where they’re unclear what action to take to safeguard the child, or where they’ve completed a referral and need some support in escalating the response they’ve had.