Raise concerns about the welfare of a child

Sometimes you might suspect that a child is at risk of harm or neglect. In other cases, you may know of a family who could benefit from some additional support and help to look after a child better.

If you believe a child or young person is at immediate risk, you should contact the police urgently as a 999 emergency.

If you have concerns about a child or young person but believe they are not at immediate risk you can either:

  • Contact Knowsley Children’s Social Care Social Work Teams on 0151 443 2600
  • MASH Team CSC contact numbers 0151 443 4918 / 443 4915 / 443 2887/ 443 2886 / 443 4957
  • MASH Team CSC are based in MASH Huyton Police Station, Latham road, Huyton, L369XU.
  • Contact Merseyside Police on 101
  • Discuss your concerns with a professional you trust such as a health visitor, teacher or GP

When you share your concerns, professionals have a responsibility to act in the interests of the child and are required to complete an assessment of risk to ensure the most appropriate support is given and the child is safeguarded.

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

The Common Assessment Framework for children and young people (CAF) is a shared assessment tool used across agencies in England. It can help professionals develop a shared understanding of a child’s needs, so they can be met more effectively. It will avoid children and families having to tell and re-tell their story.

The CAF is an important tool for early help. It has been designed specifically to help professionals assess needs at an earlier stage and then work with families, alongside other professionals and agencies, to meet them.

The underlying principles of CAF model are:

  • The child's needs must come first
  • The child's welfare is everyone's responsibility
  • All organisations must work together for the benefit of the child
  • The parents'/carers' rights must be considered and inform the process
  • The CAF should be ‘owned’ and driven  by the child and their parents/carers

What does the CAF consist of?

  • a pre-assessment checklist to help decide who would benefit from a common assessment
  • a process to enable practitioners in the children and young people’s workforce to undertake a common assessment and then act on the result
  • a standard form to record the assessment
  •  a delivery plan and review form

It is important that staff from all agencies and organisations across the Knowsley Partnership register CAFs with Knowsley’s CAF Team. The Team can then check if a CAF already exists for a child/young person and share Lead Practitioner details.

The CAF model in Knowsley sets out the Common Assessment Framework procedures operating in the borough, gives helpful case studies and sets out useful information on the role of the Lead Professional. For more information or support regarding Knowsley’s model, the process, the CAF document itself or CAF reviews, contact the CAF Team.

CAF/Early Help Team

When wanting to register a CAF, advise of any changes to an existing CAF including a change of Lead Practitioner, review dates, checks on whether a CAF is open and notify when a CAF is closed, contact the CAF Team at CAFTEAM@knowsley.gov.uk.

Caroline Mann (Early Help Assessment Manager) can be contacted for information, advice and guidance on 0151 443 4092/4707 or by email at CAFTEAM@knowsley.gov.uk.

Missing children

If you think a child is missing from home or local authority care, you should call Merseyside Police on 0151 709 6010 (24 hour line).

If the missing child is the subject of a care order, or is looked after by Knowsley Council, you should also inform the child’s social worker. If it is outside of normal office hours contact the council’s out of hours service on 07659 590 081.

If you are a parent you must inform the police, or where appropriate Children’s Social Care, when your child goes missing. Failure to do so could be considered a child protection issue.

Online abuse

If you are a young person, or a parent who is worried about something which has happened online, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) can help you. CEOP provides help and advice and the option to report any instance of sexual contact or harmful material.

If you are in immediate danger or want urgent help call 999 or contact your local police station.

Professional workers with concerns

If you are a professional or a volunteer who comes into contact with children as part of your work, you have a statutory duty to safeguard children and report any allegations or concerns about their welfare or safety. Similarly, if you have identified a child or young person who could benefit from a service or needs help and support, you have a responsibility to pass this information on to the relevant agency.

The Knowsley Safeguarding Children Board website provides more information about your responsibilities, and how to report concerns.

NSPCC helpline

If you are worried about a child’s safety or wellbeing you can also get help, advice and support by calling the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.