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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.

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Private fostering

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.

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Safer working

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 SSCP 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).

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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:

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Suicide Prevention and Self-harm

Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life. It is sometimes a way for people to escape pain or suffering.  

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.

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Compromised parenting

'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

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Child exploitation and missing

Shropshire Safeguarding Community Partnership (SSCP) have agreed the following overarching definition of exploitation:

Exploitation is a form of abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child, young person or adult (including those with care and support needs) into: into any activity that results in financial or other advantage for the perpetrator or facilitator. Activity includes arranging or facilitating the involvement or travel (trafficking) of a child, young person or adult (including those with care and support needs)

Specific types of exploitation include:

  • Modern Slavery (including human trafficking)
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Criminal Exploitation
  • Financial Exploitation
  • Any other Exploitation that enables services or benefits of any kind, including:Forced marriage
  • Illegal adoption
  • Removal of organs

The victim may still be exploited even if the activities that they are engaging in appear consensual.

Multiple types of exploitation can occur alongside or as part of other forms of abuse.

Children and young people who are exploited are the victims of child abuse, and their needs require careful assessment. Shropshire's Safeguarding Partnership has developed child exploitation guidance for practitioners and an initial assessment tool that will help you assess the level of risk to a child and make a referral, if appropriate.

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Early help

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.


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Child deaths

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):

  1. 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
  2. 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

Relevant documents

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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.

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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.

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Safeguarding training

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

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Useful links for professionals and volunteers

We have collected a selection of links and resources which may be useful to you.

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