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Making a Referral to Children's Social Care

If you are worried that a child may be at risk of significant harm, you must make a referral to children's social care. A good referral gives enough information to allow social workers to make decisions around what action needs to be taken.

All referrals should be made to the Single Point of Access team by telephone in the first instance and followed up within 48 hours in writing using the Mash referral form (Word, 54KB).

Single Point of Access: 020 8489 4470:

  • Mondays to Thursdays from 8.45am to 5pm
  • Fridays from 8.45am to 4.45pm

Emergency Out-of-Hours Duty Team - 020 8489 0000:

  • Weekdays from 5pm to 8.45am, and at the weekend

Referrals include the following information:

It’s important that you give as much information that you have in order to ensure that any assessment is as comprehensive and accurate as possible. Children’s Social Care value your expertise and analysis.

Sometimes you may just feel concerned about a child but do not know whether to share your concerns or not. In this situation you should always raise your concerns with your designated child protection officer, who will help you decide what to do. If you are in doubt, a duty social worker or child protection advisor will advise you what you should do with your concerns.

Telephone numbers are crucial to the assessment process as they allow the family to be contacted prior to any visits and for practitioners to be consulted.

Any recent reports or assessments (including those conducted under the Common Assessment Framework or CAF form) allow Children’s Social Care a complete and accurate picture of a child’s needs – you should send these in support of any referral.

Download the Mash referral form (Word, 54KB) to let social workers know about your child protection concern.

See the Escalation Protocol (PDF, 301KB) if you feel the need to challenge a decision made by the Single Point of Access team or any other agency in the multi-agency process.

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Child and family details

This includes:

  • Name/ address and especially contact numbers for all family members
  • Date of birth for all family members
  • Details of any other household members or regular overnight visitors if known

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Referrer contact details

It is important that referrers can be contacted. If you are making a referral be sure to include your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Job Title and Agency/Department (if you are a professional)
  • Phone number/ fax
  • Email (if secure)
  • Availability (especially if working part-time)

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Reason for referral

This includes:

  • Telling Children’s Social Care about your involvement with this child / young person / family
  • Explaining why you are referring to children’s social care
  • Being clear about why you think the child is actually or potentially at risk
  • Telling Children’s Social Care what you have already done to address your concerns (this should include whether a CAF has been completed and if this is the case the name of the lead practitioner)
  • Helping Children’s Social Care understand this child / young person / family, from your perspective, and briefly giving us your overall analysis

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Health practitioners working with the family

This includes:

  • GP / clinic address / phone number
  • Midwife / health visitor / school nurse including clinic address / phone number

Any other relevant practitioners known to you ,such as hospital consultants / physiotherapists / SALT / occupational therapists / psychologists.

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Education specialists working with the family

Details to include name / address / telephone number of:

  • School for each child
  • Nursery / Children's Centre / Playgroup for each child
  • Educational psychologist if appropriate
  • Education welfare officer if appropriate
  • Please state if the child or young person has any additional needs and / or statement of SEN.

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Other relevant practitioners / organisations / voluntary sector groups working with the family?

  • Please include details of the name / address / number of these organisations and any identifiable key worker
  • Do you have information about any involvement from the police or youth justice system? This could be for any family member including the child or young person. If you do, include this.

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Involvement from the police or youth justice system?

  • This could be for any family member including the child or young person

Download the Mash referral form (Word, 54KB) to let social workers know about your child protection concern.

If in doubt, please consult with the First Response Service by calling 020 8489 4592 / 5652 / 5762

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Contact Us

Report Abuse and Neglect

If you are worried about a child for any reason, contact MASH on 020 8489 4470.

If you are making a referral:

If you are calling between 5pm and 9am weekdays or anytime at the weekend, call the Emergency out-of-hours duty team on 020 8489 0000.

If you or a child is in immediate danger you should always phone 999.