Worried about a child?
Concerned about a child or young person
If you are worried that a child may be suffering significant harm, or if you are concerned that a child has suffered harm, neglect or abuse, please follow the advice below.
Members of the public can:
- Call 0345 140 0845 between 8am and 6pm (minicom 0151 934 4657).
- Contact the emergency duty team on 0151 934 3555 for urgent advice outside of office hours (from 5.30pm Mon to Thurs, and 4pm Friday and weekends). If you think a child is in immediate danger call for police assistance.
Please provide as much information as possible in order for us to respond to your concerns.
To make a referral to Sefton Council's Children's Social Care visit Sefton Council's website "Report a child or young person at risk"
We appreciate that making a referral to children’s Social Care may be difficult for you. Please be reassured that your concerns will be recorded and any response carefully considered, and if you would prefer you can remain anonymous.
You can contact Sefton's Community Adolescent Service (CAS) if you are concerned about a young person (age 12-25 years) who is: being pushed to be in a gang; at risk of sexual exploitation; have problems with drugs and/or alcohol, have poor mental health, experience violence at home or have run away from their family.
CAS will deal with the issues of the young person and their family before they escalate. Family members, professionals or the young person in question can contact the service on 0345 140 0845.
Safer Sleep for Baby
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby where no cause is found. While SIDS is rare, it can still happen and there are steps parents can take to help reduce the chance of this tragedy occurring.
‘Safer Sleep for Baby’ is based around six simple steps, that will help parents and carers keep their baby safe:
1. Keep baby away from smoke, before and after birth.
2. Put baby in a cot, crib or Moses basket to sleep - never fall asleep with them on a sofa or chair.
3. Never fall asleep with baby after drinking or taking drugs/medication.
4. Put baby to sleep on their back with their feet to the foot of the cot.
5. Keep baby’s head and face uncovered and make sure they don’t get too hot.
6. Breastfeed your baby - support is available if you need it.
Safer sleep messages are also available from midwives, health visitors and children’s centre staff in a variety of forms such as cot cards, room thermometers, bookmarks, postcards and posters.
Multi-Agency Safe Sleep Pathway Guidance (March 2017)
More information is available online at https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-week or by searching for the hash tag #safersleepweek on Twitter.
PAN MERSEYSIDE SAFE SLEEP CAMPAIGN
Merseyside’s Safeguarding Children's Boards have come together to create a safer sleeping campaign which was launched on 14 December 2015.
Merseyside CDOP Newsletter - Safe Sleep Edition (March 2016)
Merseyside CDOP Newsletter - Safe Sleep (Autumn 2015)
Merseyside CDOP - Staff Briefing - Safe Sleep Campaign
Background to the campaign
Every year, approximately 300 babies in the UK die suddenly and unexpectedly in their sleep as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The North West has the highest death rate in England and Wales.
While the infant mortality rate in Merseyside has shown some improvement, over the past five years 25 babies within the Merseyside CDOP area have died in circumstances involving co-sleeping.
The 5 Merseyside Local Safeguarding Children Boards (Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) are working to reduce the number of these deaths across Merseyside.
This 'Safe Sleep' campaign has been developed following Lancashire’s successful campaign arising from research into the 'Give Me Room to Breathe' campaign and using materials originally developed by them to aim to promote a consistent message across the North West.
Underpinning this campaign has been the roll-out of Merseyside’s Multi Agency Safe Sleeping Guidance in May 2015. This guidance targets front line professionals, who will ensure that our key messages are delivered to parents.
It is a pan-Merseyside multi-agency awareness campaign and has been adopted by each of the LSCB localities within the county. Its aim is to raise awareness of the risk factors in order to reduce Sudden and Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI).
Safer Sleep for Baby is based around six simple steps, designed to be easy to follow and cover the main risk factors. We want the entire Children and Young People’s workforce to speak in a unified voice to reinforce our messages to parents and carers.
Here are the simplified steps we will be using in all our materials:
- Keep baby away from smoke, before and after birth
- Put baby in a cot, crib or Moses basket to sleep - never fall asleep with them on a sofa or chair.
- Never fall asleep with baby after drinking or taking drugs/medication.
- Put baby to sleep on their back with their feet to the foot of the cot.
- Keep baby’s head and face uncovered and make sure they don’t get too hot.
- Breastfeed your baby - support is available if you need it.
Poster - Safe Sleep (6 steps to safer sleep for baby)
Safeguarding Children in Sport
Sefton Local Safeguarding Children Board fully recognises and supports the opportunities that grassroots sports clubs offer to children across Sefton, providing ways for them to gain new skills, build confidence and improve their health through the enjoyment of sport. Grassroots sport also provide great benefit to adults in the community, and this includes those with physical disabilities and learning disabilities who may be accessing them with support. However, recent events have reminded us of the importance of keeping children and vulnerable adults safe whilst they are involved in these beneficial activities.
As a parent or carer, you will want to be sure that your child’s safety is the highest priority for any sports clubs that they may attend. You may find it is useful to ask them the following kinds of questions:
Can I see your safeguarding policy?
A good club should have up to date safeguarding procedures in place and be happy to provide/show you copies.
Who is your club Welfare Officer?
The club, irrespective of which sport it is, should have a designated Welfare Officer who is responsible for dealing with any safeguarding concerns that may arise.
Do you follow Safer Recruitment procedures?
Every organisation providing sporting activities to young people must ensure they have the correct recruitment processes in place which includes interviews, references and have undertaken the appropriate police checks for their volunteers and staff.
How do you promote the welfare of children and young people?
The club should be able to demonstrate how they actively promote safeguarding which includes listening and responding to the views of children and young people.
Please do not be afraid to ask questions – a good and professional organisation will already have procedures in place and will welcome the chance to demonstrate that they are providing a safe environment for your child.
You can find further information about safeguarding in your child’s particular sport in the following links:
If you have concerns about the safety or welfare of a child in any sport settings you can contact:
- Sefton Children's Social Care on 0345 140 0845 or out of hours service on 0151 934 3555
- Merseyside Police on 101 or in an emergency 999
- NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or online at org.uk
- Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or online at org.uk
Suicide is a difficult topic and one that hopefully never crosses your mind.
The reality, however, is that it does cross the minds of many young people, including schoolchildren. In fact, suicide is the leading cause of death among young people and in children the numbers are alarmingly high. Over 200 schoolchildren are lost to suicide every year in the UK.
PAPYRUS is a national charity dedicated to preventing young suicide in the UK. We provide help and advice through a helpline HOPELineUK.
PAPYRUS have produced a useful guide for teachers and staff - 'Building Suicide-Safer Schools and Colleges' which supports schools in developing a school-wide approach to suicide prevention. Visit PAPYRUS website to access the guide.
Criminal Exploitation of Children: County Lines Guidance
County lines is the Police term for urban gangs supplying drugs to suburban areas and market coastal towns using dedicated mobile phone lines or "deal lines". It involves child criminal exploitation (CCE) as gangs use children vulnerable people to move drugs and money. Gangs establish a base in the market location, typically by taking over the homes of local vulnerable adults by force or coercion in a practice referred to as 'cuckooing'.
County lines is a major, cross-cutting issue involving drugs, violence, gangs, safeguarding, criminal and sexual exploitation, modern slavery, and missing persons; and the response to tackle it involves the police, the National Crime Agency, a wide range of Government departments, local government agencies and VCS (voluntary and community sector) organisations.
County lines activity and the associated violence, drug dealing and exploitation has a devastating impact on young people, vulnerable adults and local communities.
The Home Office has produced a guidance: Criminal Exploitation of Children and Vulnerable Adults: County Lines Guidance for frontline professionals on dealing with county lines, part of the government's approach to ending gang violence and exploitation.
CrimeStoppers have produced a number of leaflets/posters in relation to County Lines and these can be downloaded below:
County Lines Leaflet - Drug gangs are exploiting vulnerable people in your area
County Lines A5 Leaflet
County Lines Leaflet - Drug gangs are exploiting vulnerable people in your city
County Lines A3 posters
What is private fostering?
Private fostering is an arrangement made for a child 16 or under, or under 18 if a child is disabled, to be cared for by someone other than a close relative. It describes arrangement for child care made privately between the child's parents and a carer of their choice. A child is considered to be in private foster care if he or she is completely cared for by someone who is not directly related, or is not a legal guardian, for a total of 4 weeks (28 days) or more. These arrangements are acceptable providing the specific guidelines are followed.
Sefton Council's Statement of Purpose (Private Fostering) outlines the duties and functions of the Local Authority in relation to Private Fostering arrangements.
What situations can be classed as private fostering?
- Children sent to this country for education or health care by birth parents that live overseas.
- Children living with a friend’s family as a result of parental separation, divorce or arguments at home.
- Teenagers living with a family of a boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Children whose parents’ study or work involves unsociable hours, which make it difficult for them to use ordinary day care or after school care.
What the law says
Your child is privately fostered - if she/he is under 16 years of age (18 years of age if the child is disabled), and is living with someone who is not a close relative, e.g. a grandparent, aunt or step parent, for longer than 28 days.
You must inform Children’s Social Care:
- as soon as possible after making an arrangement for your child to live with a private foster carer,
- within 48 hours, if the arrangement is made in an emergency,
- when the arrangement ends.
If you are caring for someone else's child but were unaware of this requirement, please contact Sefton Children's Social Care Tel. 0345 140 0845.
If you are a parent whose child is privately fostered you are still responsible for:
- your child’s overall welfare – whilst the day to day care lies with the private foster carer, you still have parental responsibility.
- Important decisions like consent for medical treatment, what school your child attends, and any changes in where they live.
- Financial support.
- Keeping Children’s Services informed of your whereabouts.
Children’s Social care must:
- Make an assessment of the needs of the child, and consider whether there is any help that should be provided.
- Check that private fostering carers are suitable people to care for children, and that the accommodation where children will be cared for is adequate.
- Decide whether the private fostering arrangements are satisfactory and can go ahead.
- Visit children who are privately fostered to ensure their needs are met, and they are being properly looked after.
To find out more, view Sefton LSCB's procedure for Private Fostering (Section 22)
Sefton Council have produced powerpoint slides to support agencies in raising awareness of Private Fostering arrangements, click here to download a copy of the powerpoint slides.
Sefton LSCB has produced the following leaflets in relation to Private Fostering:
Private Fostering - Leaflet for Carers
Private Fostering - Leaflet for Parents
Private Fostering - Leaflet for Professionals
Private Fostering - Leaflet for Young People
Domestic Abuse - Escape the Control
Spot the Signs
Escape the Control
Sefton and Knowsley have launched a new domestic abuse campaign.
Controlling Behaviour is Domestic Abuse
Controlling money, always criticising and being purposely isolated from friends and family are just some of the examples of controlling behaviour which can make up domestic abuse. It can happen slowly, building up in a relationship. This controlling behaviours called ‘coercive control’ and it is domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is a crime.
Coercive control is an act, or a pattern of acts such as threats, humiliation and intimidation that is used to punish or frighten someone. This can include things like controlling where they go and what they do, or exaggerated expressions of love such as they ‘can’t live without you’.
If you need help or you are worried about someone, visit www.escapethecontrol.co.uk website for more information, how to spot the signs and how to get help.
Safe After School Campaign
Sefton Council’s ‘Safe After School’ campaign aims to give parents and carers advice on how they can ensure their child/ren are safeguarded in clubs which take place after school or out of school term time.
After school activities can offer so many benefits including physical and educational as well as helping to nurture social skills and confidence. However, whilst many providers are safe, there are some who may not have safeguarding policies and procedures in place.
This campaign offers a range of resources for parents and carers to refer to when choosing a club and helps them to feel confident that their child/ren are safeguarded in a setting.
This includes a list of questions to ask providers before allowing their child/ren to participate.
These resources also include information and practical advice for providers. Settings can use this information to allow them to feel confident that their club has robust procedures in place or help them to develop safeguarding policies and procedures.
Please click the following links to access our ‘Safe After School’ resources:
Advice & Guidance
Advice and Guidance for Parents/Carers (Choosing clubs, activities or personal tuition for children)
Questions for Parents/Carers to consider (When choosing a club, tutor or coach for your child)
Leaflet - Ask the Right Questions
Posters/Resources (For displaying in your setting)
Safeguarding Children On-Line (E-safety)
Sefton Local Safeguarding Children’s Board [LSCB] recognise as the use of digital communications technology has grown, so too have the benefits and the risks that children now come into contact with on a daily basis. It has become the case that the online world has become firmly integrated into the lives of young people with most not making any distinction between their online and offline lives.
There is a wealth of information available to support keeping children safe online. View the attached list of useful resources (which is not exhaustive) but should provide a useful starting point:
List of Useful Resources
Social Media Library
Set up Safe Checklist - "internetmatters.org"