Children's Social Care team provides services to children and families when children are in need of help and protection, or need to live away from home.
Children's Social Care should only need to become involved when other agencies including schools, GPs, Health services and community-based support are concerned that without the involvement of Children's Social Care the child will be at risk of significant harm.
What do Children's Social Care do?
Children's Social Care work with families to enable children to live safely within their family wherever possible. All parents experience difficulties at some time and need help from family and friends. Sometimes parents require the support of professionals to assist them with specific problems and challenges they face. For a small number of children and their parents, additional support will be necessary to protect them from abuse and neglect so that they can have the same opportunities open to them as all children and young people.
Where we have information about a child or young person appearing to be at risk of harm, whether from family members or others, we have a legal duty to investigate their situation. We talk to the child or young person, their family and all of those agencies who are directly involved including the police when an offence may have been committed and consider what needs to happen to keep that child safe. A plan will be drawn up with everyone involved so that the family gets the help that they need.
Contacting Children's Social Care
You can contact the Safeguarding Referral Team (SRT) at Children's Social Care and they will ask you to explain your concerns about the child. What you say will be treated seriously and confidentially. Your identity will be protected unless you give permission for it to be disclosed.
You will be told what action will be taken about the concerns you have, but you may not be told about what is being done as this may be confidential to the child.
In the majority of cases families may only need extra support to help them keep their children safe. There are times when children do have to live apart from their families, but this can only happen if either the parent agrees to this or there is a court order.
Who to contact
Children's Social Care: 01782 235100
Children's Social Care out of hours and at weekends: 01782 234234
If it is an emergency please ring 999
For the majority of families the involvement of a statutory social work service is not necessary and support from a local team based in the area of the city they live can provide the best source of family support and advice.
There are three teams based in the North, Central and South localities of Stoke-on-Trent who will work with children and young people who have a problem that can't be solved within the family or at school (or with the help of other services that everyone can access such as doctors or Children's Centres) but who don't need intensive social work support.
They can help when there's an on-going issue with a young person not attending school, for example, or a concern about alcohol or drug abuse.
They will give advice on how a child's needs could be met but may also do more in-depth work on a one-to-one basis, with members of the family or wider network and/or with groups of families.
The City Council operates a single point of access for early help services for children and families through the Family Information Service Hub (FISH) who can be contacted by phone on 01782 232200 or by email at CW@stoke.gov.uk This service provides an easy way to access information and advice on services available in Stoke-on-Trent. The team will also connect you to any of the services listed below:
- Anti-social Behaviour
- Children's Centres
- Domestic Violence Advice
- Education Welfare
- Families Matter
- Integrated Family Intervention Service
- Teenage Pregnancy
- Youth Development
- Youth Offending Service
- Young Carers
- Young People's Drug Project
Cooperative Working opening hours are: Monday to Thursday, 9.00am to 5.00pm, Friday 9.00am to 4.30pm. An answerphone is available outside of these hours.
In addition there are further access points for each service through their own referral routes enabling families and partners to continue to access services directly.
Full details of the services available and the way in which to access these services are available from the Family Information Service Hub directory which is available online at www.stoke.gov.uk/familydirectory. Children, families and partners can also access advice and support directly from any of the Children's Centres
If you are looking for information on what services and organisations are available for Stoke-on-Trent families please click here.
Reporting a Child Protection concern
If there is a very serious problem and you think that a child or young person is suffering harm, you should contact the Safeguarding Referral Team (SRT) immediately on: 01782 235100.