Statutory Intervention by Children’s Social Care


Children have acute needs including those who could be at risk of suffering significant harm. A statutory assessment is required as there is evidence of compromised parenting and / or concerns about the parent’s level of insight or capacity to meet their children’s needs. Parents need a multi-agency service response, including specialist intervention, from children’s social care. Provision of services or intervention are through Child in Need Plans (Section 17); Child Protection Plan (Section 47); Voluntary Accommodation (Section 20); Interim or Care Order (Section 31) or a Care Leaver Pathway Plan.

Outcomes seen at this level (this list is not exhaustive)

Needs of the Unborn, Child, Young Person

  • Severe or chronic health problems and necessary services not being accessed resulting in potential risk to life or long-term health impact.
  • Severe health effects from problematic diet
  • Unborn child’s safety, health, development may be at risk in utero due to substance misuse, domestic abuse or parental mental health and a Pre-Birth  Assessment is required.
  • Developmental milestones unlikely to be met and there is evidence of non-organic faltering growth.
  • Disengaged from education or the child is Electively Home Educated and there has been no engagement with Universal Services e.g., the child is not visible to any services. (Note Elective Home Education is not in itself a safeguarding concern and needs to be considered in relation to other factors).
  • Indicators of neglect e.g., regularly unfed, very unclean or dirty, odour on clothing
  • Fear of upcoming holidays or breaks from school, or lack of confidence that they will return to school after a break, leading professionals to be concerned about potential for Female Genital Mutilation or Forced Marriage
  • Female Genital Mutilation Correction or virginity tests; or other increased attention to gynaecological health or fertility leading professionals to question risk of Forced Marriage
  • Significant impact of not accessing or engaging with speech and language support
  • Severe impact from dental and optical concerns not being met.
  • Child is assessed as high risk of exploitation (sexual and/or criminal)
  • Child is assessed as at risk from or discloses sexual abuse.
  • Child experiences serious mental health issues e.g., sustained bouts of depression, self- harm, threats of suicide
  • Problematic and chaotic use of substances which impact significantly on the health and wellbeing of the child. Class A drug use or daily use of any substance by an adolescent
  • Child has complex development and/or emotional needs that require specialist assessment or support (child has a disability)
  • Repeated permanent school exclusion. 
  • Regularly involved in criminal activities that involve high-harm outcomes or engaged in or threatened by serious violence e.g., carrying weapons, links to gangs, etc.
  • Dysfunctional attachment between parent and child leading to significant harm.
  • Challenging and/or disruptive behaviour putting others or self in danger
  • Experiences persistent discrimination for example based on ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability. Alienates self from others
  • High level of caring tasks impacting on life chances and emotional wellbeing or child neglects to use self-care skills due to alternative priorities (Child is a Young Carer)
  • Family breakdown related to child’s behavioural difficulties.
  • Isolation affecting development. or increasing risk of exploitation. No access to appropriate peer group
  • Family’s negative response to child’s self-identity impacting significantly on child’s wellbeing.

Family/Environment Factors

  • Child development adversely affected by lack of stimulation and support
  • Child regularly exposed to domestic abuse or there is occasional severe domestic abuse affecting functioning of the family to the extent that children are harmed. 
  • Destructive or unhelpful involvement from extended family
  • Home in poor state of repair, persistent overcrowding or home conditions that could have a detrimental impact on health and safety and parents are not responding to support offered.  
  • Extreme poverty or debt impacting on ability to care for child. Family requires emergency financial assistance.
  • Family have no recourse to public funds e.g., Asylum Seekers
  • Household members/regular visitors considered to pose a risk of significant harm to children.
  • Children at risk of sexual abuse or sexually harmful behaviour from relationships within the home or family relationships, including children whose sexualised behaviour poses a risk to others
  • Family disputes or violence, in which there is mention of “honour” leading professionals to be concerned about risk of Forced Marriage or Honour-Based Abuse
  • A female relative such as a mother, sister or aunt has undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • Family crisis likely to result in breakdown of a child’s care arrangements (including Adoption/Special Guardianship Order)
  • Children who are affected by Fabricated Induced Illness or Perplexing Presentations
  • Children who arrive in the UK without parent or guardian (Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children)
  • Children who are not living with a parent, guardian or close relative (Private Fostering)

Parental Capacity

  • Parent/Carer unable to demonstrate and maintain change to consistently meet the child’s needs despite the provision of early help. They are unable to provide “good enough” parenting without support.
  • Parent/Carer has mental health, substance/alcohol dependency which impacts their ability to consistently meet their child’s needs.
  • Parent/Carer declines or is unable to work with early support or other services in order to ensure essential needs of their children are met.
  • Parent/Carer history impacts significantly on their ability to care for their child.
  • Unmet health needs of parent/carer is seriously impacting on child or unborn child
  • Parent/Carer was unable to care for previous children.
  • Parent/Carer behaviour significantly impacting on child’s wellbeing.
  • Parent/Carers inconsistent, highly critical or apathetic towards child or pregnancy
  • Parent/Carer isolation impacting significantly on child’s development.
  • No effective boundaries or guidance set by parent/carer placing child at significant risk. The child may be considered “beyond parental control”.
  • Parent/Carer not prioritising child’s needs above their own, significantly impacting on child