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. 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 MASH Team on 0151 443 2600 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 Merseyside Police on 101 (24 hour non-emergency number). In an emergency always dial 999. It is the Police’s job to protect you from harm and stop crimes being committed against you or other children.
- Contact Childline. Child Line is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of 19. You can contact a Child Line counsellor about anything -no problem is too big or too small. Call free on 0800 1111, have a 1-2-1 chat online or send an email.
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 MASH Team (see below) on 0151 443 2600 and choose from one of the options provided.
- Contact Merseyside Police on 101 (24-hour non-emergency number).
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 (www.knowsleyscp.org.uk) provides more information about your responsibilities and how to report concerns.
Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
Is part of Knowsley Borough Council’s Children and Families Service.
The MASH provides a ‘first point of contact’ for Early Help and Children’s Social Care (CSC) enabling members of the public and professionals to raise concerns about the safety and welfare of Children. This may include Children identified as potentially being in need of support or as being at risk of suffering abuse.
Operates between 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday and can be contacted via email or by dialling 0151 443 2600. Members of the public should always make contact by telephone.
MASH is a multi-agency Team that work together in the same building. Some of the agencies represented in the MASH are Adult Social Care, Children’s Social Care, Health, Housing and the Police. Agencies work together with the Early Help Team and Children’s Social Care to provide information around cases and help make the best decisions around a child’s welfare and safety.
Professionals who work with children and who need to raise a concern should use the MARF (Multi-agency Referral Form) link to document. The form should be emailed to the MASH team when it is completed. If there is any sense of urgency in respect of the concern being raised the form should be sent followed by a phone call to MASH in order to highlight the urgency of the case. If you need help in respect of filling in the form you can also give the MASH a call for advice.
If you contact MASH by telephone you will be asked as series of questions when making a referral to MASH, this is to ensure as much information as possible can be gained to support what level of need is identified and action required by whom. If you are a practitioner or other professional that works with children you will also be asked to complete a MARF (Multi-agency Referral Form). Members of the public should not use this form and should always make contact by telephone.
There is no pre-requisite to complete a Common Assessment Framework (CAF) or Early Help Assessment (EHA) before referring to Children’s Social Care. If a CAF/EHA has been completed at the point of referral this should be sent with the MARF or sent separately if the referral is received via a telephone call.
At all other times the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) acts as the ‘first point of contact’ for Children’s Social Care. EDT can be contacted using the same number as the MASH – 0151 443 2600. EDT will only respond to Emergencies that cannot wait until the next working day. This is usually circumstances where there are immediate concerns regarding the welfare or safety of Children or there is a risk of family breakdown and the Child are being placed in ‘care’.
Please note if you believe a child or young person is at immediate risk of harm, you should contact the police urgently, CALL 999 EMERGENCY.