Child's immediate safety

Child's immediate safety

Key points

Where the life of a child is at risk or there is a likelihood of serious immediate harm the police should be contacted first and must act quickly to secure the immediate safety of the child, they will liaise with Children’s Social Care. Emergency action may be necessary as soon as a referral is received, or at any point during involvement with children and families. When deciding whether emergency action is required, workers should always consider whether action is also needed to protect other children in the same household (for example, siblings), in the household of an alleged perpetrator, or elsewhere.

If a social worker is concerned about the immediate safety of a child they will alert the team manager who will make a decision about what immediate protective steps need to be taken. In extreme circumstances Children’s Social Care may need to contact the police for a child or children to be taken in to police protection (needs to be linked to police protection). If circumstance allow the social worker should also check whether the child is subject to a child protection plan.

How to do it

Social workers must balance the need to take immediate action with the aim of building a reasonable working relationship with the parents and the child. It is best to consider several options for action and decide which one is best, taking into account

  • the needs of the child
  • the child’s views, and
  • the long term relationship that the social worker will build with them and their parents.