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Can anyone tell me how to get Social Services to help a neglected child ???

(51 Posts)
clumsymum Thu 18-Sep-08 13:13:58

In my role as a school governor, I have become aware of a little girl (10 y.o.) at school who is being neglected … It’s a long story, but last night she had to go around the neighbourhood knocking on doors asking for someone to let her sleep there as her mum had locked her out…

Anyway, school have contacted social services on a number of occasions over the last 2 years about her neglect. Nothing happens.

How do you get social services to do something?

justabouthadcurry Thu 18-Sep-08 13:15:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

clumsymum Thu 18-Sep-08 13:17:20

Oh, or does anyone know of the working of church organisations who may be able to help her?

Apparently she attends church and bible reading classes. Because it's warm, she can get a cup of tea and a biscuit, and people speak nicely to her. But I suspect they don't have any idea how neglected she is.

FioFio Thu 18-Sep-08 13:18:07

Message withdrawn

clumsymum Thu 18-Sep-08 13:19:27

Justabout, I'm prepared to do that, but will it make a difference, given that the school head asks them week-in week-out to do something.

Rhubarb Thu 18-Sep-08 13:21:40

Report it to the police and contact SS again telling them that if you do not get feedback about what is happening with this family, you'll take the case to your MP and possibly the government.

clumsymum Thu 18-Sep-08 13:25:16

Fio, the school is very concerned. Our learning mentor provides her with a toothbrush, toothpaste and clean towel so she can get clean every day.

School talks to SS about her regularly, why would they not know if help was being provided?

It isn't my place to say anything about her circs here, but school are certain that there is no SS intervention at all.

clumsymum Thu 18-Sep-08 13:30:24

Rhubarb, that sounds like an idea.

Should school report to the police, or will they take the report from me? I have this info second hand (I was in school with a member of staff when the child came in today, and was filled in with broad details later).

Rhubarb Thu 18-Sep-08 13:34:33

School should contact police, police will then contact social services.

The school should then write a letter to the Head of Social Services outlining their concerns and stating that a copy has been sent to the local MP.

Social Services should maintain good comms with schools and so on, remember the Climbie case? It's not on now for this to remain unchecked. If they have taken action, it is their duty to inform you, because you are also responsible for that child and need to know what is going on.

HonoriaGlossop Thu 18-Sep-08 13:35:00

Get the person who's most closely involved to give the police and SS the details. How do you know she was knocking doors? If a parent has reported this, then it would be great if they would report it. However, you, or anyone concerned, can make a report - don't be put off. I just think it's easier the more first-hand the information.

Agree with Rhubarb, when you/whoever speaks to SS, ask for them to let you know what steps will be taken. Ask them for advice on how best to support the girl; ask for a visit from the allocated SW.

avenanap Thu 18-Sep-08 13:35:26

I think the school needs to do this. They all have a child protection policy which needs to be followed. The child protection officer needs to contact the child's social worker and let him/her now. If the family have not been assigned a social worker then it needs reporting to the duty officer. They have to act and investigate, it's the law! If they are failing in their duties then I would take this further. Under the Childrens Act and Every child matters paper then they have a duty of care to safeguard this child's welfare.

zwiggy Thu 18-Sep-08 13:38:16

you should phone the child protection line at social services as they need to record a history of neglect. They may be doing something, but these things take a long time and they need to build up facts and cases. You could ring the police over this one too as she is in immediate danger if she is out in the street asking strangers for help.

the correct procedure is the Child protection line tho. ( its part of my job )

Peachy Thu 18-Sep-08 13:38:44

The other thing you can do- call the NSPCC. They can give youa dvice, anonymously if needed, about the best ways to go forwards. Clearly this girl is in need, being locked out is full on neglect and abandonment imo. But SS can be hard to shift at times.

The nspcc website has the telephone number.

clumsymum Thu 18-Sep-08 13:45:37

Thanks everyone.

Zwiggy, I'll check with the staff member concerned whether they have been in contact with the Child Protection line. I'm fairly sure they will have been.

And yes, we have a protection policy, which is followed, which is how come SS have been contacted many times already.

Mind you, the staff member concerned told me today about another family, who the school reported for violence several times. SS did nothing until the six y.o. arrived at school with all her teeth kicked out. sadsad sad

avenanap Thu 18-Sep-08 13:47:55


HonoriaGlossop Thu 18-Sep-08 13:54:43

clumsy, I'd just be so careful of saying "SS did nothing" when it's info coming to you from second hand. When a referral is received, stuff DOES happen 99.9% of the time, statutory processes and assessments take place and social workers work hard to the best of their ability and from a desire only to help and assist. What is being done is not always obvious to others or even able to be passed on to others.

It's remarks like that, that are the reason I am sitting here desperately looking for a change of career! It's absolutely a mug's game. The people you work with don't want your input most of the time and society at large thinks that you're happy to hear tales of neglect etc and just put the phone down and sit there.

Sorry clumsy this is not all about your post - about the job in general and the way 'we' don't value it.

justabouthadcurry Thu 18-Sep-08 14:41:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

clumsymum Thu 18-Sep-08 15:00:49

Well, I have spoken to NSPCC, and for some reason I feel guilty for doing so.

They have taken my report, and the fact that I'm a governor at the school. They say they will report this to social services within the hour.

One prob is that I haven't spoken to the Head about this. She's the protection officer, and would make the report, but she is out today. So the official report from school would not go in until tomorrow.

Now I feel that she is going to think I'm criticising school. Or Social Services will think that I'm criticising school. I'm not, and don't want to damage my relationship with the head.

I'm soooo hot-headed. Why didn't I wait, and just get on with my proper job?

justabouthadcurry Thu 18-Sep-08 15:02:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Saturn74 Thu 18-Sep-08 15:04:50

clumsymum - you have taken steps to protect this little girl.
SS appear to have failed her so far.
the school protection officer (the Head) is not around today.
last night, the little girl was thrown out of her house.
you could not risk the same thing happening to her tonight as well.
the Headteacher will understand that.
you have done the right thing.
please don't feel bad.

clumsymum Thu 18-Sep-08 15:06:44

Honoria ...

I didn't reply to you. Meant to say that I understand your point completely, and things may well be happening.

But what we can see is that after a long time, this poor little girl is still living in misery and neglect.

mrspnut Thu 18-Sep-08 15:09:56

I think you're going to find yourself in hot water over this.

Not for reporting it because as a concerned member of the public that is your duty but mentioning that your are a school governor and not following the school's child protection policy will not do you any favours with the school.

Unless you work in the social work office then how do you know that they aren't doing anything. Do you think that social workers immediately strap a purple light onto the top of their car and rush out with their knickers over their trousers? There are procedures to be followed and steps that have to be taken with each referral that comes in and the social work team don't have to tell the school every little thing that they do.

As a school governor myself, I would have advised any parent who came to me with this information to pass it on to the headteacher themselves and if the little girl came round again late at night then to call the police straight away (as the only body with the power to remove a child without a court order) in order to ensure that the girl is safe.

clumsymum Thu 18-Sep-08 15:11:42

Mrs Nut, I know, I know.

justabouthadcurry Thu 18-Sep-08 15:16:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

clumsymum Thu 18-Sep-08 15:18:16

Well I took the advice from the NSPCC line, although I rang for advice, and ended up giving all the details.

I'm actually really cold here now, thinking "what have I done?"

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