What happens when you contact Children's Services

A senior social worker will look at what you’ve said, check records and make any more enquiries they need to. Within one working day, they’ll decide if the child’s at risk and what service is best to help and protect the child.

In most cases, the social worker will contact the family and talk through what’s happened, giving them an opportunity to share their views.

Then one of three things will happen:

A. The social worker decides the child isn’t at risk of serious harm, but the family could do with support. They’ll give advice to the family (or professional working with the family, if that’s who the report came from) and might refer them to the Family Wellbeing Service.

B. They decide the child could be ‘in need’ and direct the family to Children’s Social Care. A social worker will assess them and put together a support plan.

C. They believe the child has been harmed or is at serious risk, and hold a child protection strategy meeting. A social worker will carry out an enquiry, and if a crime has been committed the police will be involved. If the enquiry finds that the child is still at risk, there’ll be a child protection conference, a child protection social worker will be assigned and a safety plan will be put in place to protect the child.

Read more about London Child Protection Procedures

Making a report doesn’t mean we’ll take a child away

Wherever possible, we’ll work to keep a child with their family. We’ll only remove a child from their parents’ care if we think they’re in immediate danger, or if the child protection safety plan isn’t working and there’s no other safe option. A social worker will discuss every step of the process with the family, and will encourage them to seek legal advice. 

For that to happen, either the parents have to agree, or we’ll seek a legal order for shared parental responsibility. That means a child becomes ‘looked after’.

Read more about looked after children in Bexley.

Get independent information about your family’s rights from Family Rights Group.