West Berkshire Council

Concerned about a Child?

What to do and who to contact if you have concerns about a child or young person.


If you have immediate concerns about a child's safety please contact the police:

Telephone: 101
Emergencies: 999

The police are the only agency that are able to act immediately to ensure a child is safe and protected from harm.


 

Members of the public and professionals who are worried about a child or think that a child is at risk of being harmed or abused, during office hours (between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8:30am to 4:30pm on Friday), should contact the Contact, Advice and Assessment Service (CAAS), using the details below:

Telephone: 01635 503090

child@westberks.gov.uk

If you have concerns outside of office hours, please contact the Emergency Duty Service on 01344 786 512, where you will be able to discuss your concerns with a social worker.

What will happen?

If you are worried about a child or children who appear to be at risk, neglected, ill treated or not thriving, we have a statutory duty to clarify the situation and safeguard children if necessary. We need as much information as possible from you about the children and family and why you are concerned. We may contact the parents and find out if there are any particular problems and visit the home to speak to the child or children. Often in such situations we will also wish to talk to the child's school or health visitor and GP, or any other professional who has information about the family.

Usually what is most helpful for children is to support the family so they can stay together.

However, the law allows us in certain circumstances, to take action to protect a child from abuse or neglect. This may involve calling a child protection conference to consider whether a child needs to have a child protection plan.

In exceptional circumstances the need to protect a child may include removing a child from their home for a short period of time or until the problems at home have been sorted out. Such a step can only be taken by Children and Family Services with the prior consent of a court or with the agreement of the parents.