Report a concern
You might suspect that a child is at risk of harm or neglect. You may know of a family who could benefit from some additional support and help to look after a child better. Here are some of the ways you can raise concerns about the welfare of a child:
Children who have concerns
If you are a child who is suffering from harm, neglect or abuse or are worried that another child may be suffering you can:
- Talk to someone outside your family that you trust like a teacher, school nurse, police officer or other person in authority.
- Contact the Sandwell Safeguarding Team on 0121 569 3100 and speak to someone from Social Care. A Social Worker works for the government and their job is to help you if you need to be protected from harm.
- Contact West Midlands Police on 101 (24 hour non-emergency number). In an emergency always dial 999. It is the job of the Police to protect you from harm and stop crimes being committed against you or other children.
- Contact Childline. Childline is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of 19. You can contact a Childline counsellor about anything -no problem is too big or too small. Call free on 0800 1111.
Members of the public with concerns
If you are worried a child may be suffering significant harm, or if you are concerned a child has suffered harm, neglect or abuse, please follow the advice below:
- If you believe a child or young person is at immediate risk of harm, you should contact the police by dialling 999.
If you have concerns about a child or young person but believe they are not at immediate risk you can:
- Discuss your concerns with a professional you trust such as a health visitor, teacher or GP
- Contact the Sandwell Safeguarding Team on 0121 569 3100
- Contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 (free service, lines open 24 hours a day). They will listen to your concerns, offer advice and support and can take action on your behalf if a child is in danger. You can also report concerns anonymously. For further information or to report your concerns online visit: www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/report-abuse/
If you have a concern about a member of staff working with children (in either a paid or voluntary capacity) please contact the Local Area Designated Officer (LADO) on 0121 569 4770.
Professional workers with concerns
For referrals and re-referrals where professionals have safeguarding or child protection concerns for children
If you have safeguarding or child protection concerns in relation to children please consult the SSCB Multi Agency Thresholds Document and if necessary make contact with Sandwell Children’s Services, including Early Help using the pathways and details below.
For information on the SSCB Multi Agency Thresholds document and guidance please see the links below:
If you believe that Early Help services will be able to assist the family through either yourself as the lead professional or through additional Early Help Services or via the Community Operating Groups (COGs) then refer via the e-caf system (training is available at the website address www.sandwell.gov.uk/integratedworking). Alternatively a paper Early Help Assessment obtained from the website can be sent in which should be e-mailed securely to email@example.com (please note that the email will only be secure if it is also coming from a secure email address i.e. gcsx/nhs.net/pnn.police/cjsm). For enquires or queries regarding new referrals/early help cases or advice and guidance please contact the Early help Desk on 0121 569 3100
If you believe that the risk is significant and is a child protection issue but the child is in no immediate danger you must complete a Multi Agency Referral Form (MARF) as soon as possible and within a maximum of 24 hours. Please send your completed MARF via secure e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on how to access and complete a MARF please see the links below:
If a child is at imminent significant risk of harm/immediate danger you should consider calling 999 in the first instance (for Police or Ambulance) and contacting Children’s Social Care by telephoning Sandwell’s Contact Centre on 0121 569 3100 (out of office hours is the same number). You will be expected to complete a MARF without delay.
MASH – Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub
The MASH has been formed to protect children and families who may be at risk of harm including domestic abuse. It is a co-located multi agency team which securely shares information between agencies. The information is used to understand the needs of a child or adult about whom concerns have been raised. The MASH identifies a full picture of the known risks affecting the children and their family and then ensures timely and relevant actions to address these issues.
The following documents provide guidance on when to make a referral:
Allegations about a Colleague/Professional
If your concerns or suspicions are about a colleague or professional/carer (including volunteers), you must report them. Please see the Management of Allegations page.
If you wish, you can browse the West Midlands Procedures Manual e.g. if you wish to obtain information about Confidentiality, how Child Protection Enquiries will be undertaken or about Information Sharing.
You can also download general guidance ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’.