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Urgent Advice Needed!


kristina
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I received a call this morning from a father asking if his child had been involved in any incidents on Friday as they had severe bruising on their arm!! I assured him that I was unaware of any incidents, (checked with staff, checked accident book etc!!)

The parents of this child have split up and the father hasn't seen the children for 3 weeks, when mum dropped the child in she asked "has HE rang you then!!) she seems to think the child has fallen over and bruised their arm. The father has asked if I could try and find out from the child how the bruises have happened. I have seen them (child was washing their hands and rolled sleeves up) when I commented on the bruises the child said they couldn't remember how they done them and that Daddy had taken pictures of them!!

I hace contacted the child protection board and I am waiting (still called them at 9.30am!) for them to call me. I have recorded everything including times/conversations etc.

So my question is do I call Dad back and if so do I tell him what the child said about not rembering and do I tell him about speaking to the Child Protection Board!!

 

Any advice please!!

 

Kris

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a lot of views and no replies.. so felt I needed to ...

 

It is a while since I have done any child protection training but one of the things which was drummed into us was not to ask the child in case we led them, we may think we are not but it is so hard to ensure we done..

 

but in some cases I know how hard it is not to just comment and wait for the childs reply... which is what I feel you may have done.. and know we have all done at some time... the oh look that must have hurt type thing... and wait for a response.

 

as to ringing dad... personally as I had put it into hands of safeguarding I would wait for their response and let them take over if they feel necessary.. if he rings you I would tell him, but would not deliberately ring to tell.. this may be the wrong response , not sure - did you tell mum? There may be a bigger response from her...

 

seems you have been put a 'piggy in the middle' of a situation between these parents....

 

would you have been as concerned if dad had not raised the question.. or just taken mums explanation...

 

 

yes document everything, with witnesses if possible of conversations or circumstances etc, not always possible but may be helpful,

 

have you told your early years Dept ... they may be able to support you...

 

Did not want to feel you were not being listened to , when you obviously feel in need of some support or advice... this may just spur others on to give advice or ideas and tell me I'm all wrong and things have changed.. !

 

Inge

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Thank you so much for replying!!

If Mum had commented I probably wouldn't have thought anything of it, apart from there is an older sibling who has behaviour issues that are quite severe!! So then you get to wondering what if....!

I am still waiting for the Safeguarding board to ring back so they obviously don't consider it to be urgent!! I have spoken to my PSLA advisor and she has also said to wait for a call from Safeguarding and see what they advise.

Thank you for replying Inge!

 

Kris

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Hi Kris

 

What an awful situation to find yourself in........

 

Sound advice there from Inge.........

 

I certainly wouldn't get involved in conversations with parents if at all possible, looks to me as if you have done all the right things, I would be inclined to ring the Safeguarding team again - especially as it's now approaching 4:15, such a long time from your original call........

 

Take care

Sunnyday

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What a way for you to start week . Just wanted to agree with everyone else - write it all down when its fresh in your mind who said what , when and I hope the safeguarding team get back to you soon. Dizz

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Not much more to add really. It's definitely a piggy in the middle situation, and as well as protecting the child you have to protect yourself - the last thing you need is the parents using you or your staff as ammunition against each other. I think in that situation I wouldn't want to be alone with either parent - I'd want a witness to any conversations had with them so you can be backed up shoudl your words or actions get twisted to suit either party.

 

The child is the priority here and I hope the parents aren't going to use this as a reason to get mad at each other.

 

Hope it all works out ok :o

Edited by Guest
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Hi, I would also just urge you to document the steps you have taken, i.e. time, date, action, etc. You have done the right thing and it is not your fault they are taking so long to get back to you.

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It is a while since I have done any child protection training but one of the things which was drummed into us was not to ask the child in case we led them, we may think we are not but it is so hard to ensure we done..

 

but in some cases I know how hard it is not to just comment and wait for the childs reply... which is what I feel you may have done.. and know we have all done at some time... the oh look that must have hurt type thing... and wait for a response.

 

Others have given better advice than I could about the next steps to take, however I just wanted to comment on this. I recently did child protection training and this was one of the big questions that came up. It was emphasised very clearly that simpy asking where a child got bruises/cuts etc from is not leading them in any way. Leading is making a explicit or implicit suggestion about how something might have happened, simply asking a neutral question to open up the topic is not.

 

Their point was that if you didn't ask and the child was the sort who wouldn't bring up the topic without prompting how would you ever get anywhere? Leading the child would be saying "did mummy give you those bruises?" or "did you fall over and hurt yourself?" simply saying "oh how did those happen?" or "those look painful, what happened?" is not leading.

 

One thing we were told we mustn't say though if a child discloses something is "what happened next" because you are then implying that something did happen next with the possibility that a child will just make something up.

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I received a call this morning from a father asking if his child had been involved in any incidents on Friday as they had severe bruising on their arm!! I assured him that I was unaware of any incidents, (checked with staff, checked accident book etc!!)

The parents of this child have split up and the father hasn't seen the children for 3 weeks, when mum dropped the child in she asked "has HE rang you then!!) she seems to think the child has fallen over and bruised their arm. The father has asked if I could try and find out from the child how the bruises have happened. I have seen them (child was washing their hands and rolled sleeves up) when I commented on the bruises the child said they couldn't remember how they done them and that Daddy had taken pictures of them!!

I hace contacted the child protection board and I am waiting (still called them at 9.30am!) for them to call me. I have recorded everything including times/conversations etc.

So my question is do I call Dad back and if so do I tell him what the child said about not rembering and do I tell him about speaking to the Child Protection Board!!

 

Any advice please!!

 

Kris

Hi Kris

I've only just seen your post, so I hope the Safeguarding Team got back to you eventually. I have a slightly different take on this from other replys.

The most recent safeguarding training I had, said unless there was suspected sexual abuse, you should discuss your concerns with the parents. Unless mum is the only parent with parental responsibility, you are free to talk to both of them.

I would have

asked the dad had he been in contact with the child over the weekend - how did he know the child had bruising?

asked the mum in detail, how she thought the bruising had occured

written a factual report based on the two discussions, also giving family background, age of child ( the sibling etc..)

asked the staff to confirm in writing that the child had not hurt himeslf on the Friday

gently ask child about bruise (as you did) and write the exact words they used in answer. No leading questions as already suggested.

Contact Safeguarding team as you did, if the explainations from mum or dad seem unlikely, or vauge

Sit back and wait for Safeguarding team to decide if follow up is needed.

Inform both parents of your obligation to report any injuries that give you concern, with no clear explaination, in a diplomatic attaching no judgement way

Trust your own judgement....

Go home and have a drink!

Let us know how it went

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Like sunshine during my training I was told you need to inform the parent at the same time as the child protection team. Although it sounds like you still have time. It's really not on they have not got back to you.

Good luck

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Hi there,

 

What a terrible situation for you and all involved, especially the child. I haven't really got much more to add. Other than my understanding is that it is ok to ask a child about injury's as long as they are not leading questions. And with the exceptions of sexual abuse, munchhousans by proxy -( so sorry for the spelling) or if the child is in immediate serious danger than you should speak to the parents. You maybe should double check this as it has been a couple of years since I did safeguarding children courses.

 

Hope you heard some news today

 

Rapunzel

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Afew months back I asked for a no-name consultation about a child in our care. LSGB were great, but decided that it should be a named consultation. They advised me not to tell the parents. Child had a ripped ear and when asked how it happened he said "daddy did it", this coupled with a few other things prompted me to phone. The child was living a very chaotic lifestyel and mum and dad were separated. Up shot of it was the police did a welfare visit over the weekend (this was a Friday) and decided there was no need for further action.

 

Dad came in to see me a couple of days later quite annoyed that we would even consider him of being able of abusing his child. Once I started explaining to him that we have to be the child's voice and if he tells us something we have to act on it. I also told him, very tactfully, that it wasn't his feelings that concerned me but the welfae of his son. After an emotional hour and the dad crying he thanked me for looking out for his son and increased his hours.

 

A very difficult situation to be in and I wish you lots of luck!!

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Well I have at last spoken to someone at Safeguarding!! I had to ring them again (3rd time!) but at least I have an answer. It has gone down as information only, they aren't overly concerned and like me feel it's the parents causing problems (namely the father!).

Anyway they have said I can mention to the parents that safeguarding have been informed and that it is logged on their system.

So thank you everyone for your advice and I will certainly have a better nights sleep tonight!!

 

Kris

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