Traveller and Romani Advice and Information Network
Referrals to social services can happen in a number of ways. You can request help yourself by calling your local social services or referrals can be made by other professionals who are working with your family or children, including schools, GPs, health visitors, and more. If there are concerns that a child is being abused or neglected, professionals, family members or anyone else who is concerned can approach social services, the police or contact the NSPCC directly for advice.
If the social services department of your local authority (LA) consider you or your child are in need of additional help or your child may have been abused or neglected, they have a duty to talk with you and professionals and sometimes close relatives who know your child well, and to assess what actions should be taken to improve things for the family and protect your child from harm. There are many ways in which social services and their partner agencies can help you and your children so it is important to try and work alongside them and cooperate as best you can.
If they have been in touch to let you know that they are conducting a ‘safeguarding’ or a ‘child protection’ inquiry it is important not to panic. It is natural to feel anxious and frightened in this situation but you should be informed by social services what the process involves and be given leaflets about what you can do. Unless there are particular circumstances preventing them, they may call or write to you and let you know they are conducting an assessment. They should give you an idea of how long this assessment is likely to take, and if they don’t, make sure you ask them. In most cases these assessments result in them providing support and other services, with your agreement, in the family home.