Child Protection Investigation for parents / carers
Once a concern is identified there will be a meeting, called a Initial-Referral Discussion (IRD), this meeting is between social work, the police and health to try and understand what might have happened and to decide what happens next.
They might decide that there is no action needed. They may decide that they need more information because they are concerned that your child isn't safe and will start a Child Protection Investigation.
If you aren't already aware that there are concerns about your child or unborn baby, social work will contact you and explain the concerns they have and what happens next.
Your child will be allocated a social worker and they will contact you to arrange a visit to meet with you and your child. They may also want to talk to other people around you and your family. To help identify people in your network your social worker will work with you to create a family tree/genogram these are people who may be able to offer you support.
A lot of information needs to be gathered this is called and assessment, the social worker will complete this within 10 days. During an assessment four key questions will be asked of you, your child, your wider family and anyone else who helps care for your child:
What are we worried about for your child?
What is working well for your family?
What needs to happen to make sure your child is safe and well in the future?
How safe is your child on a scale from 0 to 10?
The social worker will tell you what is happening and they will ask you what you want to happen. Your social worker will come to meet you and those in your network which maybe be your parents, extended family and school.
There are lots of different parts to a Child Protection Investigation. It may be that Police and social work interview your child together to understand what might be happening, this is called a Joint Investigative Interview , and undertaken by the Ayrshire SCIM Team. Your child might be examined by a doctor to carry out a medical if there are concerns that they have been injured or that they are in need of medical care.
Agencies involved with your family will be asked to share information about you - the information should be limited to whatever is needed to understand the risk that they are concerned about and to help the assessment process. You should be kept informed of what is happening at each stage of the process.
Child Protection Investigation might result in a number of possible outcomes:-
- Social work will examine all of the information provided and assess there to be no concerns for your child and decide to take no further action.
- They may think you need some help, support or guidance with a particular concern and be able to put some support in place for you through people you already know.
- If there are serious concerns for your child's safety, and the people involved think you might not be able to keep them safe or care for them, your child will be referred to a Reporter at the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration. A Reporter will arrange a Children's Hearing. The Children's Hearing has the power to make a Legal Order to make sure your child is cared for in a particular way.
- If there are concerns that your child is being harmed or might be harmed in the future you will be asked to attend a Child Protection Planning Meeting (CPPM), which is a meeting to look at how best to keep your child safe now and in the future.
If you and your child are involved in a Child Protection Investigation, you may be feeling worried or confused. It may be useful to speak to someone such as the social worker, head teacher or health visitor. People are there to try and make sure your child is safe and support you to do this.