Medical involvement in child protection
All health professionals have a role in ensuring that children and families receive the care, support, and services they need in order to promote child health and development. It is likely that health professionals will be the first to have contact with children or families in difficulty. Participation in child protection encompasses a range of activities.
• Recognizing children in need of support or protection, and parents who may need extra help in bringing up their children.
• Contributing to enquiries about a child or family.
• Assessing the needs of children and the capacity of parents to meet their children’s needs.
• Planning and providing support for vulnerable children and families.
• Participating in child protection conferences.
• Planning support for children at risk of significant harm.
• Providing therapeutic help to abused or neglected children and parents under stress(usually the remit of the child and adolescent mental health team)
• Contributing to case reviews.
Where there are concerns about a child, and when there is reasonable belief that a child is at serious risk of immediate harm, doctors should act immediately to protect the interests of the child, and this will almost always involve contacting one of the three statutory bodies with respon-sibilities in this area:
• Social care.
• National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
A full report of concerns will be required. The precise action taken should be governed by the procedures set out by the Local Safeguarding Children Boards.