Emergency action to protect a child

Emergency action to protect a child

Key points

Where the life of a child is at risk or there is a likelihood of serious immediate harm, Children’s Social Care the police or the NSPCC must act quickly to secure the immediate safety of the child. Emergency action may be necessary as soon as a referral is received, or at any point during involvement with children and families. The need for emergency action may become apparent only over time, as more is learned about the circumstances. Neglect as well as abuse can pose such a risk of significant harm to a child that urgent protective action is needed. 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.

How to do it

It is a good idea to go through the suggestions under practitioner has concerns about child's welfare as this will ensure that more than one person is involved in the decision. Remember that all workers should balance the need to take immediate action with the aim of building a good 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 workers will build with them and their parents.

Practitioners need to take into account the ten common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

If parents refuse permission for the social worker to see the child, consider the guidance under initial assessment.

If it is decided that emergency action is necessary, there are the following possibilities: