Lewisham Safeguarding Children Board

Parents & Carers

Welcome to Lewisham Parents & Carers pages

Welcome to the LSCB parent and carer pages. Here you will find key information about some of the safeguarding challenges facing children, young people and their parents today, along with links to support, advice and guidance on keeping them safe.

Getting help early

Children of any age can experience problems at times, and parents or carers can’t always meet their needs by themselves. When children do require some extra support it’s always best to put help in place before things worse.

Throughout your child’s life there are people around you can go to get advice, guidance and support, for example:

  • Midwives
  • Health Visitors, GPs
  • Children’s Centres, nurseries
  • Schools
  • Other workers you might be in contact with such as Youth Workers, PSCOs or Housing Officers

Go to the Family Information Service website for more information

If you are worried about the safety of a child go to the  worried about a child page

If you are a parent of a child with a special educational need or disability you may find more information here

There are some national organisations that offer support for parents around specific safeguarding issues. You will find links to these in the relevant pages.

Supporting Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, Age 0-25

The Local Offer website is a collaboration between parents and carers of disabled children, young people and Lewisham Council to help you find what is available in the area for those with Special Education Needs or Disabilities (ages 0-25) and how to access a variety of services.  These range from health, social care and education to respite, leisure facilities, support groups and the voluntary sector.

Private Fostering

Private fostering involves an arrangement made without the involvement of the local authority between the carer and the child’s parent/s or person with parental responsibility, regardless of whether money is exchanged and that arrangement is intended to last 28 days or more (the child is not a Looked After Child).  Please click here for more information.

Child Protection Conferences

Lewisham's Children's Social Care Pledge to Service Users

  • We will always put your children's safety and welfare first.
  • We will not get involved in your family's lives any more than we need to.
  • We will be open, honest and fair in our work with you and your family.
  • We will always be polite and treat you with respect.
  • We will work closely with other agencies to give you better support.
  • We will write to you about major decisions.

What is a Child Projection Conference?

There is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our children. A Child Protection Conference is a meeting between families and professionals which is held when there is concern about the safety of a child within a family.

The new Child Protection Conference helps your family and caregivers to work with Lewisham’s Children’s Social Care and other services to keep your child safe.

Lewisham is using a new way of working with your family and your children. We have introduced a more family friendly approach to Child Protection Conferences to ensure the best possible outcomes for your children and your family.

The new Child protection Conference meeting known as Strengthening Families Child Protection Conference meetings will assess risk by looking at strengths in your family; looking at worries about your family; and make decisions about child safety.

The purpose of a Conference is to:

  • Share information about your child’s health, safety and wellbeing.
  • Assess whether your child is suffering, or likely to suffer significant harm.
  • Identify the strengths within your family.
  • Identify any assistance needed by your family and professionals/agencies who might be able to provide this.
  • Identify changes needed (if any) in order to ensure the safety of your child, which will be written down and given to you.
  • Decide if your child needs to be subject to a Child Protection Plan.

A Child Protection Conference does not make decisions about legal or court action, or about where children should live.

As a parent, you are invited to attend the Conference and we would encourage you to take an active part. You may also bring someone with you as a supporter if you would like. This can be another family member, a friend, or some other person of your choice.

How can you prepare?

During the conference you will be given the chance to comment about what others are saying and to give your own information and views. You will also be asked what you think should happen in the future, including any help you feel is necessary.

Many families who have attended Conferences in the past tell us they were very nervous and didn’t say as much as they would like to. To help overcome this, it is sometimes helpful to do some preparation in advance.

We do not think it is fair that only professionals have the opportunity to provide a written report of what they want to say and parents do not get the same chance. You may write down the things you want the conference to know using the form provided. If you need help with this, please talk to the social worker.

Who else will be at the Conference?

Anyone who is able to support your child and your family can attend. This will include services and professionals who work with your child and your family. Everyone who attends the new conferences will have a chance to speak about:

  • what is working well and;
  • what is worrying them and;
  • be involved in decisions about who might support your child who has been harmed, or is believed to be at risk of harm.

The Conference will be chaired by an Independent Chairperson. There will also be someone to take notes at the meeting.

A number of professionals will also be invited to the meeting, such as:

  • Social Workers
  • Health Visitors
  • Doctors
  • Teachers
  • Attendance & Welfare Officers
  • Probation Officers
  • Police.
  • Professionals who have been involved with your family will be invited, but there may also be some individuals and agencies present, who you may not have met before. These individuals are invited because their expertise is required or because they may be able to assist you, your child, and your family.

Talking to children

It is important your child has an opportunity to talk about what they are worried about; what makes them happy; and what they would like to see happen in their family to keep them safe.

What happens at an Initial Conference?

The Independent Chairperson will meet with you just before the conference to welcome you, to explain how the Conference will run, and to talk about the best way for you to contribute to the discussion. The Chairperson will also ask you to tell us about the most significant people in your family and particular friends who help you to look after your children.

At the start of the Conference all the participants will introduce themselves, and the Chair will ask professionals to summarise the most important parts of their reports. You will be invited to contribute to this discussion. A plan will be developed with you and the professionals, after which a decision will be made about whether the risks to your child are significant enough that a Child Protection Plan is needed.

A Child Protection Plan is a list of actions with details of who is to carry out these actions and over what timescale.

You should come out of the Conference clear about what (if anything) needs to change. More detailed plans are usually made at a later meeting between you and the relevant professionals. This meeting is called the Core Group and usually happens immediately after the initial conference and as often as is needed afterwards.

It may mean that we do not make a Child Protection Plan for your child, but we will still try to help and support you, but the discussion will have identified assistance which may benefit your child, you and your family.

What can you expect from Children's Social Care?

They will work in partnership with you and your family. As a parent/carer, you should expect to:

  • be listened to.
  • be treated with respect.
  • be kept informed and involved in decisions.
  • get all the assistance and help that has been offered to you within the agreed time scales.
  • receive a reliable service, with professionals doing what they say they will do.
  • be absolutely clear about what we expect from you.
  • receive copies of all reports 2 days before an initial Conference and 5 days before a Review Conference.
  • get a copy of the Conference minutes within 20 working days of the Conference.

If you don’t feel we are meeting these standards, you should let us know.

What happens after the Conference?

After the Conference you will be sent a copy of the record of the conference.

If a Child Protection Plan is made, you will also be asked to attend regular meetings called ‘Core Groups’. At these meetings, you will look at the plan and discuss what progress has been made.

A Review Conference will be held after 3 months and then at 6 monthly intervals for as long as your child is subject of a Child Protection Plan.

My Report for the Conference

We recognise that it is not easy to remember everything you want to say. You can put your views in writing if you think that this will help. You do not have to do if you do not want to.  The following questions may be helpful to you when thinking about what you do want to say.

  1. What is going well in the care of my children?
  2. What am I worried about ?
  3. This is what I think needs to change so that my children are safe and happy.
  4. This is what would be helpful to my family to make those changes.

Parent Advocacy

If you have been told that you need to attend an “Initial child protection case conference” then the Parent Advocate Service could help you.

The Parent Advocate Service – a group of parents who volunteer their time to help other parents participate in the child protection process.

They will listen to you and help you understand what you can expect at the Conference. They can also attend the Conference with you to give you support.

“Parents know more about their family than any professional could possibly know, and well-founded

decisions about a child should draw upon this knowledge and understanding”

The aim of the Parent4Parent advocate service is to help parents to participate in the child protection process from an informed position and to promote good communication and a positive working relationship between the parents and the council.

The aim of the advocate is to:

  • Talk to parents through the child protection process
  • Attend an initial child protection case conference with parents and to give support

Who are they?

They are a group of parents who volunteer their time and are trained as parent advocates. They have worked with Children's Social Care with their own children and know they have a lot of support and knowledge to share with you.

What support can we offer?

They will listen to what you have to say, talk you through what you can expect when you attend the Initial Child Protection Case Conference, advise you on how to present yourself at the conference, as well as think about what you can do to work positively with the relevant professionals around your child’s needs.

The service is short-term and for the purpose of helping you prepare for, and be fully informed about the Initial Child Protection Conference.  Lewisham Council also provide this service to support the parents at the conferences that follow, which are called Review Child Protection Conferences.

The service is independent from children’s social care, however they are organised and managed by staff within social care. They do not work with your children but are responsible for allocating families to advocates.

Everything you tell your advocate is in confidence. They will not share the information unless you ask them to, or give them permission to do so. However they do work within a child protection policy, which means they cannot keep your confidence if they become aware that there is, or could be, a child at risk.

What is the process of referral?

Once an Initial Child Protection Case Conference has been arranged for your child (or children) the social worker involved will ask you if you would like to be supported by an advocate.

  1. If you would like one, then a parent advocate will ring you to introduce themselves and arrange to meet with you which could be at the office or in an appropriate public area.
  2. At the first meeting they will listen to you and help you understand what is expected when you attend the Initial Child Protection Case Conference.
  3. If you would like them to attend they can support you at the Initial Child Protection Case Conference.
  4. The parent advocate will ring you a couple of days after the Initial Child Protection Case Conference to see if you would like to have a further opportunity to talk with them, which again could be at the office or in an appropriate public area.
  5. If you do not wish to meet with them at all, or again after the initial meeting, this will be the end of their involvement with you.
  6. If you have a complaint or any grievance specific to the Parent advocate, then you can contact one of the numbers noted at the bottom of this page with the issues or you can inform them that you wish to cease your involvement with the parent advocate.

For more information please

Email:  _CYP.FSIBSO@lewisham.gov.uk 

Text , phone or leave a message on: 07545 737611

Or Contact Lynn McShane (Advanced Practitioner) on: 07392191294

Keeping Information Safe

The information you are provided and held by agencies is highly confidential.  The content of the information must not be copied or disclosed to any person other than the individual it is intended for, unless the information must be shared for the purpose it was given.

When in receipt of the information, please ensure it is protected and maintained securely.

When you are finished with the information please safely destroy it by cross cut shredding or secure disposal.  Under no circumstances must the information be binned un-securely.

If you cannot dispose of the information in a secure manner please return the information to:-

Lewisham Children's Social Care Department, 1st Floor, Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, London SE26 4RU

Information must not be kept for longer than needed.  If you have received it in error please contact Corporate Information on 020 8314 9928 or return it to the sender.

If you do not adhere to the above disclaimer you could be in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 and therefore could face legal proceedings.

You can download and print the leaflet What is a Child Protection Conference?

Useful Link: London Child Protection Procedures

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is any incident of controlling, co-ercive, threatening behavior, violence or abuse:

  • between people aged over 16
  • who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members

It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity, and can begin at any stage of the relationship.

Domestic abuse can be:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

Domestic abuse can also include forced marriage and so-called “honour crimes”.

It’s abuse if your partner or a family member:

  • puts you down, or attempts to undermine your self-esteem
  • controls you, for example by stopping you seeing your friends and family
  • is jealous and possessive, such as being suspicious of your friendships and conversations
  • frightens you

Domestic abuse and safeguarding children

Children who live in families where there is domestic abuse can suffer serious long-term emotional and psychological effects. Even if they are not physically harmed or do not witness acts of violence, they can pick up on the tensions and harmful interactions between adults.

If you are worried about a child living in a family where domestic abuse may be an issue got to: What to do if you’re worried about the safety of a child

Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence

The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 defines domestic violence as ‘any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are, or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.’

Types of domestic violence

  • Physical: being hit
  • Sexual: rape, sexual assault, degrading treatment
  • Financial: having money withheld or being forbidden from getting a job
  • Social: not being allowed to see friends and family or go out
  • Psychological: constantly telling someone they are worthless and so reducing their self-esteem and confidence
  • Emotional: telling a person their children will be taken from them if they leave or that no one else will love them

How does domestic violence affect children

Children will learn their behaviour from examples set by other people around them and exposure to domestic violence teaches children negative things about people and their relationships. For instance:

  • It teaches them that violence is acceptable and that they can use it
  • They learn how to keep secrets
  • They learn to mistrust those close to them

Being exposed to domestic violence can have a long-lasting effect on children which could affect their ability to form relationships in the future, including:

  • Blaming themselves for the violence
  • Feeling frightened
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Bedwetting
  • Running away
  • Aggressiveness
  • Behavioural difficulties
  • Problems with school
  • Poor concentration
  • Emotional turmoil
  • Lack of respect
  • Loss of self-confidence

Who to contact

POLICE: 101 or in an emergency 999

CHILDLINE: 0800 11 11

NSPCC: 0808 800 5000

PARENTLINE: 0808 800 2222

NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HELPLINE: 0808 2000 247

Supporting documents

 

Private Fostering

Private fostering is when a child or young person aged under 16 (or under 18 if they are disabled) is cared for and provided with accommodation for 28 days or more by an adult who is not a close relative.

A close relative is an aunt, uncle, step parent, grandparent or sibling, but not a cousin, great aunt/uncle or family friend.

A private fostering arrangement is normally organised between the parent and carer. There are many private fostering situations. These may involve children or young people:

  • who are sent to this country for education or health care by their birth parents from overseas
  • whose parents work or study long or antisocial hours
  • who are living with a friend’s family as a result of parental separation, divorce or arguments at home
  • who are living with their partner’s family.

What do I have to do if I am privately fostering or my child is privately fostered?

Any parent, private foster carer, or anyone else involved in making a private fostering arrangement, must notify the council for the area in which the child will be or is placed.

You have a responsibility to ensure that your child is in a suitable and safe private fostering arrangement that provides for your child’s cultural, religious, linguistic and other needs.

If you think that your child will be in this placement for 28 days or longer, you have a legal duty to tell the Council at least six weeks before the arrangement is due to start. If the arrangement is due to start within six weeks or is already in place, then you must tell the MASH team at the Council immediately.

The law states that you must tell us of a private fostering arrangement, this information will help us ensure that your child is well looked after and does not come to any harm.

A private fostering arrangement does not mean that you are giving up your rights to your child. This is a temporary arrangement and you still have parental responsibility and will continue to be involved in all decisions about your child’s life. It is very important that you stay in contact with your child as much as possible. By staying in contact, you will know of any changes in the circumstances of the carer (for example if they go on holiday or move house).

What if I already privately foster but did not know that it I had to tell the Council?

You should contact us and explain the situation. We will be pleased to take your details and explain the first stage of the assessment process. Please remember that if you are involved in a private fostering arrangement and you don’t notify us you are committing an offence, and could risk a fine.

If you are involved, or likely to be involved in a private fostering arrangement and have not already told, or if you are in any doubt as to whether the regulations might apply to you, you should seek advice from the Lewisham MASH team.

Why does the Council need to get involved?

We have a legal duty to ensure that your child is being looked after safely and that the arrangement is suitable for your child. We will make regular visits to your child and his or her private foster carer, and we can provide help and advice where necessary.

If the private foster carer is not giving you enough information or you are unhappy about the standard of care your child is receiving, then you should contact us as soon as possible. Together we will do our best to ensure that your child is safe and well looked after.

Contact

Phone Lewisham MASH team on telephone number 020 8314 9181 or 020 8314 6660 or by email mashagency@lewisham.gov.uk

Private fostering referral and assessment team telephone number 020 8314 6523

Useful websites

Documents/leaflets

Private Fostering Fact Sheet

Is Someone Else Looking After Your Child?

Are You Looking After Someone Else's Child?

Who is Looking After You?

 

 

 

Safe Sleep

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), or cot death, is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby where no cause is found. While SIDS is rare, it can still happen day or night and there are steps parents and carers can take to help reduce the chance of this tragedy occurring.

Things you can do:

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep
  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth
  • Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months
  • Breastfeed your baby, if you can
  • Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition

Things to avoid:

  • Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby
  • Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink, take drugs or are extremely tired, if your baby was born prematurely or was of low-birth weight
  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot
  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding

For further advice and guidance on safer sleeping for your baby:

Visit the Lullaby Trust

Self-harm & Suicide Ideation

Mental health problems affect around one in 10 children and young people . This includes depression, anxiety, and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.

Self-harm is when someone hurts themselves on purpose and is a way of expressing deep distress, a way of communicating what cannot be put into words, with very difficult feelings that could build up inside. It is not attention seeking behaviour.

Self-Harm is a very common behaviour in young people and affects around one in 12 young people.  

Warning signs of Self-Harm

  • People who self-harm may suffer mood swings and become withdrawn.
  • Unexplained wounds.
  • Have a lack of motivation.
  • There may be changes in their eating habits.
  • They may cover up their body (even in warm weather).

Warning signs of Suicide Ideation

They may be:

  • Quiet, brooding, or withdrawn.
  • Feeling exhausted and distant.
  • Feeling cut off from those around them.
  • Not making eye contact.
  • Agitated, irritable or rude.
  • Talking about suicide or saying it’s all hopeless.
  • Desperate for help but afraid to ask.

They may also:

  • Be busy, chirpy, laughing and joking, talking about future plans, and telling you not to worry about them.

The safest way to know if someone is thinking about suicide is to ask them. If a person is suicidal the idea is already there. If they aren’t suicidal it won’t do any harm. Saying something is safer than saying nothing.

Risk Factors of Self-Harm & Suicide Ideation

 

  • Stressful life events.
  • Isolation.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • On-going family relationship problems.
  • Being bullied at school.
  • Bereavement.
  • Mental health problems – depression and delusional thoughts.
  • Substance and alcohol misuse.
  • Family circumstances.
  • Stress and worry – academic pressure.
  • Experience of abuse – physical, emotional, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and forced marriage.
  • Feelings of being rejected in their lives.

 Types of Self-Harm

  • Cutting of the skin with objects (e.g. razor blades, scissors, pens, bottle tops etc.)
  • Scratching the skin.
  • Picking wounds or interfering with healing.
  • Burning.
  • Ingesting toxic substances.
  • Excessive drug or alcohol intake.
  • Hitting or punching themselves.
  • Head banging or biting themselves.
  • Pulling hair out.
  • Swallowing or inserting objects.
  • Taking an overdose.
  • Staying in an abusive relationship.
  • Taking risks too easily.
  • Restricting their eating.Young people can self-harm in a variety of body locations, i.e. arms, legs, abdomen, etc.

Responding to Self-Harm in Lewisham

If a child or young person overdoses or there is a serious self-harm incidence they should be taken to A&E in the first instance. An assessment will be undertaken which may involve a referral to the Children & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

If you become aware of a young person who is self-harming or having suicidal thoughts. Explore their feelings with them and talk about the help available:-

Share what you know with the child’s parents / carers.

Resources

Coping with Self-Harm

Guide for anyone working with children and young people.

Calm Harm App.

Services

  • Young Minds
    • Parents Helpline 0808 802 55 44
    • Advice for professionals

  • GP – Make an appointment to talk about your concerns.  Your child may need some support from the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Kooth
    • Online chat support for young people

  • Work it Out Lewisham 
    • Information on services and support available in Lewisham.

  • Papyrus Hopeline 0800 068 41 41
    • Confidential advice for young people
    • Advice for parents / carers.
    • Advice for professionals

  • ChildLine – 0800 11 11
    • Confidential advice for young people
    • Advice for professionals

  • Place2Be
    • Individual one to one, drop in counselling for children and young people experiencing emotional wellbeing issues at 10 schools in Lewisham.
  • Lewisham Mind Kit
    • Online resources for range of mental health/ wellbeing issues and peer mentoring support

  • National Self-Harm Network
    • UK charity offering moderated support forum for self-harm
  • NHS Choices - Moodzone
    • Online and audio resources to improve mental wellbeing and information about available treatments
  • MindEd
    • Online training for anyone working with 0-18 year olds

 

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse, in which a young person is manipulated, or forced into taking part in a sexual act. This could be as part of a seemingly consensual relationship, or in return for attention, affection, money, drugs, alcohol or somewhere to stay. The young person may think that their abuser is their friend, or even a boyfriend or girlfriend.

The abuser may physically or verbally threaten the young person or be violent towards them. They will control and manipulate them, and try to isolate them from friends and family. It happens to boys and young men as well as girls and young women. The victims of abuse are not at fault. Abusers are very clever in the way they manipulate and take advantage of the young people they abuse.

What to do:

If you are worried a child or young person is at risk of sexual exploitation go to: What to do if you’re worried about the safety of a child

For further advice speak to Barnardo’s specialist sexual exploitation project 01489 796684

Further information

For practical advice on what to do if your child goes missing see the Children’s Society Guidance:

How does Sexual Exploitation happen?

Many sexually exploited young people have been ‘groomed’ by an abusing adult who befriends the young person and makes them feel special by buying them gifts or giving them lots of attention. Young people may be targeted on-line or in person. Young people who are having difficulties at home, regularly go missing or have experienced care may be particularly vulnerable.

What are the signs?

Children and young people that are the victims of sexual exploitation often do not recognise that they are being exploited. However, there are a number of telltale signs that a child may be being groomed for sexual exploitation. These include:

  • going missing for periods of time or regularly returning home late
  • regularly missing school or not taking part in education
  • appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions
  • associating with other young people involved in exploitation
  • having older boyfriends or girlfriends
  • suffering from sexually transmitted infections
  • mood swings or changes in emotional wellbeing
  • drug and alcohol misuse
  • displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour

What can I do as a parent or a carer?

As a parent or carer, it is important to discuss with children the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships to help highlight potential risks to them. There are also a number of practical steps you can take to protect children such as:

  • staying alert to changes in behaviour or any physical signs of abuse such as bruising
  • being aware of new, unexplained gifts or possessions
  • carefully monitoring any episodes of staying out late or not returning home
  • exercising caution around older friends your child may have, or relationships with other young people where there appears to be a power imbalance
  • making sure you understand the risks associated with your child being on-line and putting measures in place to minimise these risks.

Staying Safe On-line

The internet is a great way for children and young people to connect with others and learn new things. It’s important that they learn how to do this safely.  This video highlights a social experiment “Follow me” by Barnardos.  We want to help you keep your child safe online just like you do in the real world.

https://www.barnardos.org.uk/what_we_do/advertising_campaigns/followme.htm

Top Tips for Parents and Carers of Children & Young People in The Digital World

footprintsThe LSCB offer a free Online Safety E-Learning course for Parents / Carers that takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.  Please follow the instructions at the bottom of this page.

footprintsTo help your child to enjoy the experience of accessing the digital world we recommend you talk to your child about keeping themselves safe and what to do if they see or hear something that they find upsetting, like taking a screen shot of the evidence and reporting concerns to the site administrator, or the police via www.ceop.police.uk .  Remind them they can close the App or website at any time, and most importantly to talk to you if they are worried or upset.

footprintsWeb based information and social networking sites can increase the risk of a child or young person being groomed for sexual exploitation, criminal activity, general exploitation, or violent extremism.   It is common for the child or young person to not recognise they are being exploited or groomed.  The best way to make sure they stay safe is to have regular, open conversations with your child.  You can also look through the history browser to see what websites have been accessed.  If you do become worried that your child is being radicalised you can contact the Prevent Team, on 020 8314 6000 or email prevent@lewisham.gov.uk.  You can also report any other exploitation or abuse that takes place online the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub on 020 8314 6660 or email mashagency@lewisham.gov.uk.

footprintsSometimes children and young people don’t think about the images they post online or share with their “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”.  In response to this, the government have issued guidance for children and young people on the sharing of indecent images, this can be read here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/indecent-images-of-children-guidance-for-young-people/indecent-images-of-children-guidance-for-young-people

footprintsOnline gaming via consoles, phones, and apps can provide a child access to talking to strangers and building “virtual friendships”.  It is important your child understands it can be dangerous to share personal information as the person may not be who they say they are.  Have a conversation with your child about this, particularly in case your child considers meeting up with someone they have spoken to online.  If you do agree to this, we recommend you meet with them too, as they may not be who they say they are and it could lead to your child being harmed.

footprintsWhen considering buying a game or app for your child, think about the recommended age restriction and research the game on YouTube first.  You may be surprised at the level of violence or content of some games and it may not be appropriate for your child’s age.

footprintsWe recommend you keep your knowledge and skills of staying safe in a digital world up-to-date and by regularly by looking at the ThinkUKnow website: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ and talking to your child about their experiences.

Take the Free online 30 minute course

Aims & Objectives:

Target Audience:       

Parents and Carers of Children and Young People in Lewisham.

Learning Outcomes:

What do children do online?  What are the risks? How can I keep children safe online?  This course looks at the risks associated with online and mobile technology and demonstrates ways that you can help create a safer digital environment for children and young people.

  • Know the risks associated with mobile and online technology.
  • Know how to tackle these risks.

The two links used for the Lewisham training portal are:

  1. For new users, the self-registration link is: https://lewisham.melearning.university/course_centre (registration key is @Lewisham) – once you send off a request, you will receive a welcome email containing your log in details usually within 24 hours.
  2. For users who already have an account, the log in link is https://lewisham.melearning.university/user/login (please write down your login and password and keep it safe)

NSPCC On-line Safety has advice and tools to help keep your child safe online.

Think You Know provides advice on online parenting.  There is also further information at Think You Know training.

Child Exploitation & Online Protection (CEOP)

CEOPCEOP is there to support young people, parents and carers while surfing online, and offers help and advice on topics such as:

  • cyberbullying
  • hacking
  • harmful content

It also enables people to immediately report anything online which they find concerning, such as harmful or inappropriate content, or possible grooming behaviour. For more information, or to report concerns, simply click on the CEOP Icon

Trafficking

People trafficking is the movement of people from one area to another by use of force or threat for the purpose of some form of exploitation, such as sexual exploitation, domestic slavery, forced marriage, labour exploitation including in cannabis factories, forcing a young person to commit crimes, drug dealing, credit card fraud, benefit fraud, ritual sacrifice and organ donation.

Traffickers can be male and female and control young people by threatening to report them to the authorities, telling them they owe large sums of money, or by threats of violence to them or their families.

Signs of Trafficking include:

  • Receives unexplained or unidentified telephone calls
  • Going missing from the home or placement
  • Signs of abuse or unwanted pregnancy
  • Is required to earn a minimum amount of money each day
  • Forced to perform excessive household chores
  • Prevented from leaving the house event to attend school or college
  • Talks of a large amount of debt they owe
  • Is excessively afraid of being deported

Further information or resources:

See the London Procedures for the local protocol and national guidance

Worried about the safety of a child?

If you think a child is being abused or neglected please contact the Lewisham Council Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). If you think a child or young person is at IMMEDIATE risk, you should treat this as an emergency and call 999 to report your concerns to the Police. You can contact the MASH during office hours.

Tel: 020 8314 6660 

The out of office hours (5pm -8am weekdays, weekends and Bank Holidays) is: 020 8314 6000 and ask for the emergency duty team.

When you contact the MASH please give as much information as possible about the child you are concerned about. This will help the MASH decide the best way to respond to your concern. The information you give will be kept confidential. You can remain anonymous but it is helpful if you can give your name and details.

The MASH is the service to contact if you want extra help for a child or their family who live in Lewisham. The team is multi-agency and brings together services such as from social care, education, health, police and children centres. The MASH aims to work together to offer the right help at an early stage to families who need support.  They will decide the most appropriate type of support to offer. Depending on your relationship with the child they may be able to keep you updated.

Child Exploitation & On-line Protection

CEOP is there to support young people, parents and carers while surfing online, and offers help and advice on topics such as:

  • cyberbullying
  • hacking
  • harmful content

It also enables people to immediately report anything online which they find concerning, such as harmful or inappropriate content, or possible grooming behaviour.

For more information or to report a concern click on the CEOP icon

CEOP

Young Carers

GUIDELINES FOR PROFESSIONALS / AGENCIES / PARENTS

These guidelines are intended for any parent, professional or agency wishing to make a referral to Lewisham Young Carers Service on behalf of a child or young person within a caring role. Please read these guidelines carefully before completing the attached referral forms.

Who can you make a referral for?

Any Young Carer between the ages of 5 and 18 can be referred to our services that are residents or their cared for is someone who lives within the borough of Lewisham:

  • Providing care or support for someone with a physical disability, long term illness, mental ill health or substance misuse.
  • Is affected by the condition of their cared for.

Service availability

We will prioritise the service to young carers with the highest need as a result of the significant impact of the caring role and level of caring responsibilities.

The level of priority for each Young Carers may fluctuant throughout the lifetime of their involvement in the service due to sudden changes in their caring situation.  

How to make a referral?

Please complete all the pages of our Referral Form and send to:

Carers Lewisham logo

Waldram Place, Forest Hill

London, SE23 2LB

Tel: 0208 699 8686 | Fax: 0208 699 0634

Email: info@carerslewisham.org.uk

What happens now?

On receipt of the referral we will look at the information you have given us and prioritise the need for assessment. The outcome will be either: 

  1. Young carer does not meet the criteria for a young carer and no assessment will take place.
  2. Young carer is allocated to a member of the young carers team for a home visit.
  3. Further information is needed from the referrer before processing any further.

Referrers will be informed of the outcome via telephone or email within 4 weeks. If you have not heard from us please contact us on 0208 699 8686.

Assessment Process

If allocated for assessment, a young carers support officer will make contact with the family to arrange a home visit to gain better understanding about the young carer’s family’s situation and decide on what support services they will be offered.   

If you have any questions throughout the referral or assessment process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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