Death of, or Serious Injury to, a Child in the Community or a Child in Care
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure outlines the immediate steps to be taken in the event of the death of or serious injury to a child living in the community (where there are suspicions of abuse or neglect) and the death of/serious injury to any Child in Care (whether or not the abuse or neglect is known or suspected).
These steps are in addition actions carried out under the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures in relation to the need to hold a Child Safeguarding Practice Review and the work of the Child Death Overview Panel (see West Yorkshire Consortium Inter Agency Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures).
AMENDMENTIn September 2019, this guidance was updated throughout to reflect Working Together to Safeguard Children and the process for reporting a serious incident to the Panel via the Child Safeguarding Incident Notification System.
1. Death of or Serious Injury of a Child in the Community where there are Suspicions of Abuse or Neglect
Local authorities in England must notify the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (the Panel) within 5 working days of becoming aware of a serious incident.
Serious incidents which should be reported are those where the local authority knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected and:
- The child dies (including suspected suicide) or is seriously harmed in the local authority's area;
- While normally resident in the local authority's area, the child dies or is seriously harmed outside England.
The process for reporting a serious incident to the Panel via the Child Safeguarding Incident Notification System is set out in the following: Report A Serious Child Safeguarding Incident (GOV.UK). The Panel will share all notifications with Ofsted and the DfE.
Where information about the suspicious death of a child, or serious injury to a child, living in the community is received, the following tasks are also required:
The child's social worker or, if not previously known to Children's Social Care, the duty worker receiving the information will:
|1.2||The line manager will immediately inform the Service Manager by telephone and provide follow up information in writing as soon as possible afterwards.|
The Service Manager will:
Local authorities should use the Child Safeguarding Incident Notification System. The Panel will share all notifications with Ofsted and the DfE. The report is submitted online and the contents entered must be reviewed by the Service Manager before it is submitted. The form requires a range of information and is set out clearly in sections. Before you start you will need:
|1.5||Where a Rapid Review / Child Safeguarding Practice Review is to be held, this must be conducted in accordance with Chapter 4: Working Together to Safeguard Children and the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures.|
2. Death of, or Serious Injury, to a Child in Care
Where information comes to notice of the death of or serious injury to a child in care, the following tasks are required:
The child's social worker will:
The line manager will:
The Service Manager will:
The report to the Panel is submitted online and the contents entered must be reviewed by the Service Manager before it is submitted. The form requires a range of information and is set out clearly in sections. A copy of the completed form should be saved and printed out for the records. In urgent situations, the Deputy Director or Director of Children's Services should telephone Ofsted on 0300 123 1231 and then complete the form.
In the event of a Child Safeguarding Practice Review and/or internal management review being required, the steps outlined in Section 3, Needs of Social Workers / Team / Manager / Carers should be followed.
3. Needs of Social Workers / Team / Manager / Carers
During the implementation of this procedure consideration must be given to the needs of those staff and carers involved in the case.
The impact of a child death on social workers / team / manager / carer(s) needs to be addressed in terms of:
- The need for counselling for those involved;
- The manner in which such support is offered;
- The provision of access to legal and professional advice about the ongoing conduct of the case;
- The provision of a clear explanation of the process of a Child Safeguarding Practice Review;
- Support for staff in the event of Police investigation/interviews;
- The need to inform and keep informed any relevant Trades Unions;
- The need for team debriefing whilst observing confidentiality. This must be discussed with the Service Manager;
- The need to acknowledge that a child death can impact on the productivity of any team and its ability to function; and the need to agree strategies to manage workloads.