Worried about a child?

Everybody has a responsibility to keep children safe in Wakefield.

The information below aims to provide you with guidance as to what steps you can take to help keep a child safe and where to go to access support.

If you work or volunteer with a child go straight to the 'What steps should I take' section.

If you are a member of the general public and you think a child is immediate danger, you must call 999. For any other concerns please read the information below.

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Do you know the signs?

Would you be able to spot if a child was at risk?

Here are some common signs that there might be something concerning going on in a child’s life:

  • a change in their behaviour or personality
  • they have become secretive, demanding or aggressive
  • they are more withdrawn or anxious
  • poor social skills
  • poor relationship with a parent or carer
  • they know about things that are inappropriate for their age, such as adult issues
  • they have run away from home, gone missing or are frequently absent from school
  • they always wear clothes that cover their body
  • they have unexplained gifts or possessions

The NSPCC website has information on different types of child abuse and what you can do to help keep children safe.

Learn more about busting the myths around child abuse here

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What steps should I take?

Where there is an emergency about the safety of a child and they are in immediate danger the police should be contacted on 999 without delay.

Everybody has a responsibility to share concerns about a child when it is believed or suspected they:

  • Have suffered significant harm and/or;
  • Are likely to suffer significant harm and/or;
  • Have developmental and welfare needs which are likely only to be met through the provision of family support services (with agreement of the child’s parent(s)

If you believe the situation is urgent but there is no immediate danger, please call 0345 8503 503 in the first instance to speak to the Integrated Front Door.

As part of this discussion the Integrated Front Door will advise on the next steps to take and as to whether a Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF) should be completed and submitted to social_care_direct_children@wakefield.gov.uk.

Should your call be outside of business hours (Monday – Thursday, 8.30am – 5pm and Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm) please still call 0345 8503 503 to speak to the Emergency Duty Team. Please note, the Emergency Duty Team operate an emergency only service, non-emergency contacts will need to be made on the next working day.

  • What's the Integrated Front Door?
    Show details

    The Integrated Front Door provides advice and signposting as well as allocating referrals to Children’s Social Care and Children First Hubs (Wakefield’s Early Help Service). The Integrated Front Door records and screens contacts made so that decisions on how best to support a child and family are made in a timely way and the nature of help needed is appropriate to the level of need.

  • What's the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)?
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    The MASH is the multi-agency arrangement which supports the Integrated Front Door and is made up by a range of services such as the police, Children’s Social Care, Child First Hubs (Wakefield’s Early Help Service), and health agencies. This is so the range of information relating to a child and family can be understood to help determine the correct level of support is provided.

    Not all contacts made to the Integrated Front Door will be screened by the MASH, only those which require a range of information from different services.

Do I need consent from a family before sharing information?

It most instances it is appropriate and good practice to seek consent from parents or carers to share information with the Integrated Front Door.

Consent is always required for referrals to services such as Children First Hubs (Wakefield’s Early Help Service), without it, the services available to the family may be limited.

Consent is not required should you believe informing the parents or carers would place a child at further risk of harm.

When making contact with the Integrated Front Door, you will be asked as to whether consent has been obtained from the family. It is important referrers take the steps to discuss concerns with parents or carers. Where decisions have been made to contact the Integrated Front Door without consent, a management decision must be recorded with a clear reason for doing so.

Further Guidance

For further guidance on what you need to do if you are concerned about the safety and welfare of a child please refer to:

  • Integrated Front Door (IFD) and Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) Operational Guidance
  • West Yorkshire Multi-Agency Referrals Procedure Referrals
  • Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF)
  • Continuum of Need: A framework to support decision making
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