What happens when a parent is reported to social services? | The Sun

BEING reported to social services is a parent's worst nightmare.

Here, we explain what happens when someone is referred and what protocols are taken.

What happens when a parent is reported to social services?

Information about the parent is passed on to social services through a referral.

A social worker will then arrange a visit to the address to see if the information given is true and what they can do to help.

How long does it take social services to investigate?

Within one working day of a concern being reported, a social worker should make the decision about what sort of investigation is needed.

There are two types of investigation that a social worker can choose to implement in this situation, under the Children’s Act 1989.


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A ‘child in need‘ assessment under section 17 of the 1989 act will identify the needs of the child and ensure that the family are given the appropriate support in enabling them to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare.

A section 47 investigation is where reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. 

This type of investigation can be undertaken by the police, a social care worker, or both.

What can cause social services to remove a child from the home?

If a referral is made to social services, they have an obligation to safeguard any children at the heart of any referral and ensure their safety and wellbeing. 

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There is a fear for many parents that their children will be removed, but this isn't necessary unless they believe the child faces an immediate risk of harm.

How to contact social services in the UK

There are a number of different ways to contact social services in the UK.

The NHS website provides links to family action, and other ways of contacting social services include NSPCC and Childline.

There is also help on GOV.UK, in which someone can enter their details to apply for a care assessment from social services.

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