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Child Protection - I am a Parent or Carer

It is everyone's job to protect children and young people and to promote their wellbeing.  As a parent or carer, you have a particularly important role to play in helping your child to grow and develop.  For the most part, parents and carers do act in their child's best interests and the majority of children grow up in environments which are safe and with people who love and care for them.

Unfortunately that isn't the case for all children and young people.  There are many issues which can mean parents aren't able to care for their children in the way they would like or sometimes circumstances get in the way of parents meeting their children's needs.  We also know that there is a small minority of parents who purposely hurt their children, which may be referred to as child abuse.

Parenting is a hard job, at the best of times it can be challenging to know the right thing to do for your child and every child is different!  We know that parents often want what is best for their children however, there are situations and circumstances that can significantly impact a parent's ability to care for their child - often referred to as parenting capacity.  These might include:-

  • lack of family or social support
  • poverty
  • trauma
  • parenting
  • having had poor experiences of being parented yourself
  • living with domestic abuse
  • significant mental health concerns
  • substance misuse e.g. drugs, alcohol

Very often different agencies, like health, education or voluntary organisations can offer support to help parents care for their child and that is enough to get things back on track.  However, at times parents can struggle so much that professionals have concern that their child or children can't be kept safe.  When professionals have serious concerns about the safety of children and young people, they will contact social work services to start a Child Protection Investigation.  The threshold for a Child Protection Investigation is that people in your child's life think they might be at risk of significant harm or have experienced harm already.

In this section of our website, we have tried to answer the questions that parents and carers often have about the child protection process however, if you have specific concerns or questions that aren't answered here please speak to your social worker, or contact us directly.