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What to do if you’re concerned about the welfare of your child

Child welfare

As a parent or someone who loves a child, it will only be right that you have their best interests at heart. You will be looking out for their welfare and general safety. If you have any concerns about their welfare, this article will go over some steps you could take, so read on.

Report concerns

If you have any immediate concerns regarding your child’s welfare, either from factors at home or external factors, then you should immediately report the issues. Even if it turns out that there was nothing to be concerned about, it will be able to be resolved and put your mind to rest.

If there was something to be concerned about, then the next steps can be taken to ensure that they are taken care of and looked after. There will be a few different legal steps involved, one of which will be covered in the next section.

Seek an Emergency Protection Order

If there is an urgent situation that needs addressing, the first step to take will be to phone the police or relevant local services. The next step will be to help ensure that the child will be taken out of the situation so that they can stay safe.

This can be achieved through an emergency protection order, also known as an EPO. You may decide to take this order out due to negative circumstances at home or within your family in general.

The process involves contacting the court through the local authorities to show that your child, or a child within your family, is at risk from significant harm. An EPO will be put in place, leading to children being taken under police protection temporarily, up to around 72 hours.

Once the EPO is officially granted, the next step will be to file a proposed care plan for the children. In most cases, children’s services and the local authority will share parental responsibility for your child and remove them from home.

If you’re unsure where to get started with an EPO, consider reading this guide to emergency protection orders from the National Legal Service. This group of solicitors specialize in family law and court matters, so they will have a range of useful resources for you to go over.

Speak with the child in a safe space

When speaking to young members of your family, you should ensure you are approaching them about any issues you think they have somewhere they feel safe. They may feel more comfortable and confident opening up in a space like this.

This may involve taking them away from the family home or talking to them somewhere they can be more of themselves. When speaking with them about any issues that concern you, it’s important to approach this delicately. If you are too brash with your approach, it could alienate them and shut them off from communicating with you.

Indeed, it can feel hard to approach your child to talk to them about difficult topics, but there are resources available that can help you with striking up these conversations. This will be particularly important to approach in the right way if it’s related to the safety and welfare of your child.

Be sure you do not shout at them when talking. Even if you are coming from a positive place, the act of shouting can scare them and make them feel at fault.

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