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child protection concerns

(12 Posts)
namechange4advice Fri 29-Jul-11 20:59:17

I have found out that there were possible child protection concerns documented on my childs medical records. Presumably due to a medical misdiagnosis and as we now have a correct diagnosis I am presuming that concerns have been dropped, although I cant be sure of this from reading all the records.

I would like to understand the procedure that NHS health care professionals (such as an educational psychologist, paediatrician, nurse or health visitor should follow when they started documenting such concerns for example: -

What would cause a child protection concern rather than just poor parenting and should the reasons be documented?
In what instances is it acceptable to not mention the concerns to the parents?
Can CP concerns be documented over a period of several months with no action ie no referral to social care or discussion with parents but shared with school?
Once CP concerns have been documented should records be kept of all telephone calls and internal discussions?
Surely the medical records should explain the reasons for the CP concerns, the actions taken and the outcome so that anyone else accessing the file in the future would understand the situation?

If anyone works in this area and can help me I really would appreciate it. Any links to the NHS procedures that should be followed would be great too.

Sorry not sure where I should post this - please advise more suitable location if this is not appropriate.

PandaNot Fri 29-Jul-11 21:16:39

In the case of health, it is usually unexplained, non-accidental injuries which would be logged, or failure to seek medical attention as and when necessary. For HV this may include long-term 'inadequate parenting'. Any CP concerns (or more likely 'significant events') will be logged in a chronology by each agency separately and should include information on who it was shared with and the outcomes of any decisions made. In the event of a CP referral, all the chronologies would be pulled together to get the 'bigger picture'. These significant events will be facts observed or reported to them, not opinions. Records of subsequent discussions with other professionals and outcomes should also be recorded. The initial information which led to the concern will remain 'on file' but any subsequent actions should also be on file.

If they thought the child might be in more 'danger' by doing so or that the parents might coerce the child into saying something then they wouldn't mention the concerns to the parent.

namechange4advice Fri 29-Jul-11 21:35:06

Thanks for this.

Does this mean there will be a separate CP log then that will itemize the concerns? Would this log not be a part of the medical records accessible under the DPA?

The medical records I have seen just say things like tell school not to meet with the parents due to the CP concerns but dont explain the reason for the CP concern.

If the concern was parenting for example shouting at a child or holding it facing away from yourself would they just be logged and not mentioned unless they got more evidence then?

PandaNot Fri 29-Jul-11 21:42:38

There will be a separate 'log' (called a chronology) but the concern itself should always be noted fully in the practioner's notes.

Yes, 'smaller' incidents in themselves which might not warrant initiation of CP procedures but which in the long term might add up to something more would be logged and the reason for making the decision for sharing or not sharing this information should also be logged.

You should note that this is best practice and it doesn't always happen like this. Each organisation will have its own policy but they should follow these national guidelines.

namechange4advice Sat 30-Jul-11 13:59:47

Thanks very much for this. Where can I find the national guidelines?

Would I need to make a separate request for this log under the DPA?

PandaNot Sat 30-Jul-11 17:18:38

The document is called "What to do if you're worried a child is being abused" You can download it from here

namechange4advice Sat 30-Jul-11 19:55:29

Thanks for this. My initial impression is that correct procedures have not been followed but will need to get legal confirmation.

I understand that they have witheld some information from me under the DPA as it is 3rd party. Perhaps this might make things clearer to me. I guess it could be a false accusation from a member of the public - cant think what else would count as 3rd party.

Would an interview with my son be held as 3rd party evidence? They said they were doing an assessment for ASD but didnt so perhaps they were questioning him. There has to be something more that has raised the CP concerns, not what I have been given in the records.

PandaNot Sat 30-Jul-11 21:57:16

It could be something your son has said and this would be one of the few cases where you wouldn't be told the nature of the claim, given the possible repercussions.

Just as an aside (I'm involved with children and young people with ASD professionally), the diagnostic process would include informal chats with the young person. Even though it may not seem like they are doing a formal assessment, it would still form part of the diagnostic evidence.

namechange4advice Sat 30-Jul-11 22:55:00

Seriously scary if they have recorded what he has said if it is anything like he tells us about school. Teachers assaulting him both physically, mentally and threatening, all doing naked body prints in mud and whenever I am called in he insists the head has got him confused with someone else. Regularly says my parents are fighting each other on his visits!! He is unbelievably clever and brilliant inspriring company with never a dull moment but easily able to manipulate professionals. His poor teacher has failed to get him to do anything at school all year, he just refuses and says he only comes to play lego yet he loves learning at home and reads non stop and is always enthusiastic.

He has never told anyone anything believable about school so I know nothing of what he does each day as it is all fantasy, much of it extremely inventive. I have no doubt he will do very well eventually. What age would he be considered reliable? Just wish they had spoken to my 3 year old as he is so truthful and sensible and would have stopped any concerns immediately.

Does that mean I will never know what the real CP concerns were if they are something he has said? It could be absolutely anything, I dread to think.

PandaNot Sun 31-Jul-11 01:55:06

That's right, you may never know. But also, if he is undergoing investigation for a diagnosis of ASD then the professionals should use their judgement, using their understanding of how a possible ASD might impact on his ability to distinguish fact from fiction and how his ability to 'manipulate' adults and present his point of view as 'fact' come into play. Equally they can't be expected to ignore everything, just because the parents say "Oh he's making it up, he does that all the time!" How many times would real CP issues be missed if that happened?

It's a really tricky situation, especially with ASD involved, and I hope you get some resolution.

changedname2answer Mon 01-Aug-11 17:57:11

Hi, namechange4advice -

Just as a note, what they have as 3rd party could be completely innaccurate and if I were you I'd stamp your feet for more details.

I had this problem a long time ago, no one visited me but I heard there were some dodgey record keeping. Without going into too much here, I asked and was told "3rd party" like you, after kicking up a big fuss I was told it was info from the police, more specifically, my criminal record raising concerns.

Which is funny, as I dont have a criminal record.
Oh yes, turns out somewhere along the line either some idiot at the police station or some idiot at social services had got the details wrong, and they had another person entirely's criminal record and were holding that against me. Dont trust anything these incompetents have on file and demand to see it.

namechange4advice Mon 01-Aug-11 21:19:11

changedname - That is horrendous, hope you got a full apology on file. Presumably not removed as I understand nothing can be removed only additions made!

I will try to find out. They must have to give some idea to ensure it is not someone elses information. If not perhaps I will have more success using a solicitor to find out the reason for CP concerns.

I wonder how many people have such concerns on their records and are totally unaware or if anyone has tried to request such information under FOI. Would be especially interesting to find out how many people who have made complaints about HCP's subsequently have CP concerns on their records.

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