Parents and carers
If you are a parent or carer
This part of the website is for parents and carers, including anyone with parental responsibility, children’s relatives, friends, and neighbours who need information or advice on a range of safeguarding and child protection issues.
If you are suspicious or have any concerns that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, including any form of mistreatment or abuse, please select Reporting Concerns.
If you are concerned about your own behaviour, please contact the Initial Contact Team on 0345 6789021 for advice.
Emergency/Out of Hours
To contact the Emergency Duty Team outside normal working hours, call 0345 6789040.
Being a parent can be very rewarding and enjoyable. It can also be worrying, frustrating and exhausting. There may be times when you feel that you need some extra help and support to be able to manage the challenges that many parents face.
These may be challenges that come from a sudden upheaval, ongoing change or just from everyday family life. They could then impact on the whole family or on individual family members, and place stress on relationships within the family.
In Shropshire we give parents the support and guidance they need to be able to meet the needs of their children, through offering parents early solutions to challenges that arise.
These early solutions could be through services which are available to all parents, or it could be that services will be offered through more targeted support.
In the first instance you can search for services yourself.
If you want to talk about your concerns, you can book a telephone consultation with an early help advisor or a targeted youth worker by calling 03456 789 021.
What is abuse?
If you're suspicious or have any concerns that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, including any form of mistreatment or abuse, report your concern.
If you're concerned about your own behaviour, please contact the Initial Contact Team for advice on 0345 6789021. To contact the Initial Contact Team outside normal working hours, call 0345 6789040.
Definitions of abuse
Being mistreated or abused (sometimes called ‘significant harm') is defined as sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect or emotional abuse.
When an adult deliberately hurts a child, such as hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning or suffocating.
This would happen, for instance, when a child is being unfairly blamed for everything, all the time, or told they are stupid and made to feel unhappy.
Examples of sexual abuse would be where a child has been forced to take part in sexual activities or in the taking of rude photos.
Eg calling names, damaging property, stealing, spreading rumours, cyberbullying, hurting, getting people into trouble.
When someone over 16 in a family or relationship threatens, bullies or hurts another adult physically, psychologically, emotionally, sexually or financially.
Where a child is not being looked after properly, for example, not getting enough to eat or being left alone in dangerous situations.
The local authority (Children’s Social Care) must take all reports of concern for a child’s welfare (or referrals) seriously.
A 'privately fostered' child is a child under the age of 16 (18 if disabled) who is cared for and accommodated by someone other than a parent or close relative* for more than 28 days.
* Close relatives are step-parents, grandparents, brothers/sisters or aunts/uncles.
There are a variety of reasons why a parent may be unable to care for their own child on a short or long term basis, and a private fostering arrangement can be a positive response from friends and the local community to a family in need of support. However, any child separated from their parents is potentially vulnerable and we all have responsibilities to ensure the alternative care they receive meets their welfare and safety needs.
Domestic abuse and violence
Domestic abuse (also called domestic violence) is a crime and a major social problem affecting many families. In 90% of reported domestic abuse incidents, children have either been present in the same or a nearby room.
Self-harm is any deliberate, non-suicidal behaviour that inflicts physical harm on the body, and is aimed at relieving emotional distress. Self-harm is a coping mechanism. An individual harms their physical self to deal with emotional pain, or to break feelings of numbness by arousing sensation.
Shropshire's Safeguarding Children's Board has recently developed a 'Self-harm Pathway' which includes guidance and tools for practitioners working with young people who are self-harming.
West Mercia Police receives more than 7,000 missing person reports each year. The majority of people turn up safe and well.
Many children who go missing stay with friends or family members, but there are some who don't have or don’t access these support systems, or who are forced to stay in environments that are harmful to their safety and wellbeing, and so end up engaging in activities that may put them at risk.
Bullies are very cunning and expert at getting away with it. Shropshire LSCB believes that children and young people have the right to be taught in a positive learning environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve socially, emotionally and academically.
The internet is often an integral part of children's lives. It opens up so many educational and social opportunities, giving them access to, quite literally, a world of information and experiences.
Whether on a computer at school, a laptop at home, a games console or mobile phone, children and young people are increasingly accessing the internet whenever they can and wherever they are.
As you would protect your child in the real world, you'll want to make sure that they're safe whatever they're doing. Like learning to cross the road, online.
Child sexual exploitation
Sexual exploitation affects thousands of children and young people across the UK every year. The Shropshire Safeguarding Children Board treat it as a priority, and as a parent or carer you could have an important role to play in protecting children from exploitation, helping to cut them free from this horrific form of child abuse.
The Children Act 2004 places the responsibility on the Local Safeguarding Children Board to investigate all child deaths in their area. In many areas of the country this work is being carried out jointly.
The Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire Safeguarding Children Board Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) has been set up to carry out a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary review of child deaths in the area. It exists to better understand how and why children in Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire die.
Useful links for parents and carers
We have collected a selection of links to websites and resources which you might find helpful.