Professionals and volunteers
If you are a professional or volunteer
This part of the website applies to you if you are a professional, working with or caring for children and young people in an employed or voluntary capacity.
This includes people whose job brings them into contact with children infrequently or on an adhoc basis, such as members of the emergency services or clergy.
It also includes a wide variety of people in a caring capacity, such as foster carers, childminders or youth workers.
This section is about sharing information in order to help and assist professionals in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people.
We hope you will find the information useful.
A 'privately fostered' child is a child under the age of 16 (18 if disabled) who is cared for and accommodated by someone other than a parent or close relative* for more than 28 days.
* Close relatives are step-parents, grandparents, brothers/sisters or aunts/uncles.
There are a variety of reasons why a parent may be unable to care for their own child on a short or long term basis, and a private fostering arrangement can be a positive response from friends and the local community to a family in need of support. However, any child separated from their parents is potentially vulnerable and we all have responsibilities to ensure the alternative care they receive meets their welfare and safety needs.
Managing allegations and the role of the local authority designated officer (LADO)
Allegations against staff or volunteers who work with children may come to our attention under a different title, ie allegation, concern or complaint. Regardless of the route, any information or referral which suggests that a member of staff or volunteer has harmed, committed a possible offence or may be unsuitable to work with children, must be dealt with by the SSCB procedures, and discussed with the LADO.
The management of allegations should be seen in the wider context of safer employment practices, which has three essential elements:
- Safer recruitment and selection practices
- Safer working practices
- Management of allegations or concerns
The LADO role applies to paid and unpaid workers, volunteers, casual and agency workers or anyone self-employed, and they capture concerns, allegations or offences emanating from outside of work. The LADO is involved from the initial phase of the allegation through to the conclusion of the case. The 'Working Together' guidance 2013 (page 48) states that:
'An allegation may relate to a person who works with children who has:
- Behaved in a way that has harmed a child or may have harmed a child, or
- Possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, a child, or
- Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children'
All allegations that meet the criteria must be reported to the local authority designated officer (LADO).
Signs and symptoms
When to suspect child maltreatment
In July 2009 The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published a quick reference guide entitled 'When to suspect child maltreatment'. The guidance was updated in December 2009.
This quick reference guide is for all healthcare professionals working in the NHS who work with children and young people. It may also be of interest to people outside of the NHS who work with children and young people.
This guidance is available in an online 'web-enabled' version, or as a PDF file:
Self-harm is any deliberate, non-suicidal behaviour that inflicts physical harm on the body and is aimed at relieving emotional distress. Self-harm is a coping mechanism. An individual harms their physical self to deal with emotional pain, or to break feelings of numbness by arousing sensation.
'Compromised parenting' is a term used to describe situations when parents' capacity to safeguard and appropriately care for their child(ren) is limited, (or compromised), due to the following factors:
- Domestic abuse
- Substance misuse
- Parental mental ill health
Some of the key findings of the 293 Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) studied in detail from the Pathways to Harm, Pathways to Protection: a triennial analysis of serious case reviews 2011-2014 are:
- Domestic violence was present in 54% of cases
- Substance misuse was present in 47% of cases
- Mental ill health was present in 53% of cases
"Substance misuse, domestic violence and parental mental ill health pose significant risks factors for children. Previous reviews have emphasised that it is the combination of these factors which is particularly toxic". Brandon, Bailey & Belderson
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) and missing
“Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology”.
Children and young people who are sexually exploited are the victims of child sexual abuse, and their needs require careful assessment. Shropshire's Safeguarding Children Board has developed child sexual exploitation guidance for practitioners and a risk assessment tool that will help you assess the level of risk to a child and make a referral, if appropriate.
Providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years.
Early help can also prevent further problems arising, for example, if it's provided as part of a support plan where a child has returned home to their family from care.
Since April 2008 all Local Safeguarding Children Boards have had a statutory duty to hold a review whenever a child dies. There are two interrelated processes for reviewing child deaths (either of which can trigger a serious case review):
- Rapid response by a group of key professionals who come together for the purpose of enquiring into and evaluating each unexpected death of a child; and
- An overview of all child deaths (under 18 years) in the local safeguarding children board (LSCB) area(s), undertaken by a panel.
Child death overview panels (CDOPs) are responsible for reviewing information on all child deaths, and are accountable to the LSCB chair.
Notification of child deaths - contact details
If a child or young person (age 0-18 years) dies please notify as a matter of urgency the child death overview panel co-ordinator:
Tel: 01952 385684
- CDOP and SCR process flowchart
- West Midlands Best Practice Multi-Agency Protocol for the Management of Sudden Unexpected Deaths in Infants (SUDI)
The internet is often an integral part of children's lives. It opens up so many educational and social opportunities, giving them access to, quite literally, a world of information and experiences.
Whether on a computer at school, a laptop at home, a games console or mobile phone, children and young people are increasingly accessing the internet whenever they can and wherever they are.
E-Safety skills are skills for life. If a child understands the risks and can make sensible and informed choices online, they can get the most from the internet and stay safe whilst doing so - particularly from those people who might seek them out to harm them.
- See what we're telling children/young people on this website.
- See what we're telling parents and carers on this website.
Learning and improvement
'Working Together to Safeguard Children' 2015 states that 'Professionals and organisations protecting children need to reflect on the quality of their services and learn from their own practice and that of others. Good practice should be shared so that there is a growing understanding of what works well. Conversely, when things go wrong there needs to be a rigorous, objective analysis of what happened and why, so that important lessons can be learnt and services improved to reduce the risk of future harm to children.'
SSCB does this through the implementation of its Learning and Improvement Framework.
Multi-agency training and development for professionals and volunteers ensures their ability to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. The purpose of multi-agency training is to help practitioners achieve the following:
- Collaborate effectively with colleagues across organisational boundaries
- Understand each others’ roles and responsibilities
- Know what services are available locally for children and families
- Share knowledge and expertise
- Understand how different agencies operate
- Recognise the value of multi-disciplinary working in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
Useful links for professionals and volunteers
We have collected a selection of links and resources which may be useful to you.