Concerned about a child?

1. Concerned about a child?

Contact us

Tel: 01296 383 962
Out of hours contact: 08009 997 677 
Email: secure-cypfirstresponse@buckscc.gov.uk

Making a referral

Referrals are assessed to check the seriousness and urgency to establish if children's social care need to be involved.

This may be in the form of:

  • support for a child, (Section 17 of the Children Act 1989)
  • where there are child protection issues (Section 47 of the Children Act 1989)

Where concerns do not need intervention from Children's Social Care, families or professionals may be directed to universal services and/or other specialist services.

We can also provide advice and consultation to family members or to professionals where there is concern for a child.

Referred children

If anyone is worried about a child and refers them to children's social care, children's social care will consider this information.

If we believe children's social care to become involved, we must act on it and make enquiries. A social worker will contact the parents to make enquiries about the family and hear the families' views. They will need to speak directly with the child.

We will also contact anyone who shares parental responsibility and speak with other professionals who know the child, to let them know what is happening.

Concerns about the safety of a child 

If a family finds itself involved in child protection issues children's social care will offer support and work directly with the family and child.

We can do this best by:

  • involving them as much as possible
  • understanding their views about the family
  • Help them to understand exactly what concerns the professionals have and what will be happening.

Child protection procedures give instruction to all professionals working with children, of what they must do if they are seriously concerned about a child's welfare. Professionals who have concerns about a child should also let families know that they are making a referral. Unless after consultation with children's social care it is agreed that by doing this it will place the child at greater risk.

During an investigation, visits will be made to the family home by children's social care and/or by the police. Families have the right to refuse entry, unless the police have a warrant. In the interests of a child, the parents, carers, friends or relatives should help and cooperate with the investigation. If there is serious concern about the welfare of a child, the police can apply for a warrant to come into the family home and see a child. It may also be required that the child needs to be medically examined by a children's doctor at the local hospital.

Social workers and police officers will try to cause as little distress to a child and family as possible. They will investigate together to reduce the number of times a child has to repeat what has happened to them.

Fair processing

Children's social care process referrals within the framework in the, Buckinghamshire Multi-Agency Information Sharing for Children, Young People & Families. (Code of Practice for sharing personal information). The Code of Practice provides the framework for partner agencies in Buckinghamshire to share information on children, young people and adults.

If we receive a referral on a child we may gather and share information which we consider relevant to our enquiries. The objective of this is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of a child in line with the requirements of the Children Act 2004.

National enquiries have highlighted the importance of agencies sharing information, where concerns for a child have been raised. It is the responsibility and duty of the referrer to explain to a family why a referral is being made. This information may be sought and shared with other agencies, unless to do so would place a person at significant risk of harm.

2. Child sexual exploitation

What is it?

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is when a child or young person is tricked or forced into doing something sexual in return for things like attention, gifts, money, drugs or alcohol.

It's a form of abuse and it is against the law, although young people might not always see it that way, because they are groomed by their abusers. Gradually the abuser manipulates the child to do things they are ashamed of and by the time the child realises there is something wrong, they can feel trapped and are too scared or ashamed to tell anyone.

Grooming and sexual exploitation does happen in real life and online. In fact, online contact often plays a big part in exploitation.


(Video reproduced with kind permission of NSPCC.)

Spot the signs of CSE

Sometimes things that seem like normal teenage behaviour could be a sign a young person is being sexually exploited. Signs to watch out for:

  • Becoming withdrawn, clingy or moody
  • Unexplained changes in personality, mood swings and seeming insecure
  • Nightmares or sleeping problems
  • Running away, staying out overnight, missing school
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Talk of a new, older friend, boyfriend or girlfriend and unexplained money or gifts
  • Spending a lot of time online
  • Losing contact with family and friends or becoming secretive
  • Physical signs such as unexplained soreness or bruises around private areas
  • Or you may just be worried about unsafe sexual behaviour

Any one sign doesn't mean that a young person is being sexually abused, but the presence of any sign or change in behaviour suggests that you should begin to ask questions and consider seeking help.

Working together in Buckinghamshire to protect children

Partners in Buckinghamshire work together as part of the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children and young people in the county.

4. Allegations against Staff or Volunteers (LADO)

The Buckinghamshire Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) is responsible for overseeing the management of all allegations against people in a position of trust who work with children in Buckinghamshire on either a paid or voluntary basis.

For further information about Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) please visit the website www.bucks-lscb.org.uk/parents-carers/allegations-against-staff-or-volunteers-lado.