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Child Protection Issue


Lucy P
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I have a 11 month old child who attends my setting. Just before xmas it was noticed that she had quite bad nappy rash. When she returned after the hols it had become severe (bleeding/blisters). Mum did not bring this to our attention, we questionned her later when she collected. She just seemed to brush it off saying "yeah, i know its quite bad..."

 

We advised her to make a docs appt to get some antibiotic cream. When she returned the follwing week the situation had not improved, mum informed us that doc did not examine her as she had pooed and mum couldn't change her as she had no spare nappies with her.

 

Mum has also informed us that she does not change her nappy in the morning before bringing her to nursery as she would miss out on that extra 5 mins in bed :o (mum that is, not the child!)

 

On tues i wrote her a letter asking if we could help the situation and to advise her to return to the docs.

 

She returned yesterday with prescribed cream and said that the doc thinks she may be allergic to cows milk so we need to provide soya, but she says dairy yoghurts, cheese and butter are all ok xD

(The doc still didn't examine the child, not sure why)

 

This morning she has told us not to worry about the soya milk, she has just found that it costs £10 a tin and she doesn't have that sort of money :(

 

It is obvious that the child's welfare is not top priority, her clothes are unclean and too small, it appears that sometimes she is still wearing the same nappy when she arrives at nursery that she left in the day before and with the dietary issue, i'm not sure which way to go.

 

The child's grandmother appears to act in exactly the same way so i presume this is acceptable in their family.

 

Do i go to social services or her health visitor, do i warn mum of what i am intending to do or should i sit down with mum and advise her.

 

I have never experienced a similar situation in the 10 years i have been at the setting.

 

If anyone has been in a similar situation or has some advice on what my next step should be i would be very grateful.

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Hi Lucy -

 

Sticky one! ( :o ) I think you need to talk to Mum in some depth as the child must be in a lot of discomfort!! I think you should really stress the point that this is a wellbeing issue on the child's part and that you are more than happy to work with her on this. If the expense is the problem, can't she get a prescription for soya milk, or obtain it at reduced rate from baby clinic? - a sneaky way of suggesting Health Visitor, or that you can contact HV for her ? However, she also needs to understand that if things don't improve, you will have no other option than to contact Social Services, as you have to put the child's interests first.

 

Whatever, it's a hard one!! You have my sympathies.

 

Good luck and let us know how you go on.

 

Sue

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i think you will find that if you go down the route of social services they will expect you to inform the parents, i had to do this for the 1st time last year and they were insistant that i told the parents that i had reported them.

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I agree with Sue,

I think you are trying to justify in your mind whether this is a "neglect-Child protection" issue or whether it is just that this parent has different values than your. ie: My daughter changed her child much more extensively than I thought she needed to- to the extreme of waking him up ( more than once) in the night to change him.

The fact that the number of times she changes nappies is possibly causing physical harm means that your concerns are valid.

 

The additional "evidence" of inappropriate ( too small) and dirty clothing does indicate a level of neglect. ( again it depends on how dirty the clothes are, when I was a child, my mum would only do the washing once a week and we wore the same clothes all week, but we were not neglected).

 

I think you have done the right thing, sensitively challenging that the childs nappy rash needs medical attention, and she does seem to have got the cream.

 

I would take notes on the childs general health, clothing, appearance, ie: monitor the situation, see if the cream helps reduce the rash ( which it won't if mum doesn't change often enough). Can you prove that the child stays in the same nappy she leaves you in until the next day? Parent comment unless witnessed will only be hearsay.

After a period of time, ( which you will have to decide, considering how long this has previously been going on for) talk to the mother again, or write to her ( keeping a copy) letting her know that you are concerned because the situation hasn't improved and you feel that you need to involve other supportive agencies such as the health visitor for the best interest of the child. I would then contact the health visitor. I would then monitor for another week and if still no improvement, I would inform the parent that I feel the need to contact social services because the childs wellbeing is paramount and they are very good at getting her the support she needs.

 

My comments are only from the information I have here, you are the only one who can really judge the situation, if the concerns are more than "a bad nappy rash and affay attitude from the parent, then I would contact SS sooner. I always tell the parent I have contacted them, and write an report stating that I have and get the parent to sign it to show that I have told them why ( unless it puts the child in danger)

 

 

Good luck

 

 

Peggy

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Thanks Sue, Hali and Peggy for your replies.

 

You are right, i am trying to justify in my mind whether the issue is neglect. I know (due to other issues) that this parent does have different values and that she feels she gives 100% to her child's wellbeing, but, if the child is suffering, which she must be, it is now my job to do something about it. The parent will be back on Monday and i will arrange an emergency meeting with her. She does not appear to understand when i am being tactful, so i will take the bull by the horns and be blunt. She is a young mum and has reacted well by me 'instructing' her on a previous issue so this will probably be the best way to go.

 

Obviously if this does not work i will need to take it further.

 

I'll let you know how i get on

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I happened to be on a child protection course last night...

 

We were given 2 good tips (though first not that ethical :o )

 

Put a pen mark in the waistband of the nappy to tell if it is the same one the next day...

Log incidents and ask parent to sign - 'Child arrived with blisters in nappy area'. If they refuse to sign say 'That's fine I'll just write in there parent refused to sign' Often enough to jolt them into realising you are keeping records and to buck their ideas up.

 

As has already been said, the official advice last night was:

to offer help to the parent

 

to log all concerns factually as in 'the child's clothes are too small' rather than I think the mum doesn't care that her child's clothes are too small'

 

if the parent still doesn't seem to show a change in behaviour to tell her that you will need to phone for advice from social services as you are concerned

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