Children and young people come to the attention of Waltham Forest children’s services for a number of reasons:
- Concerns may be raised about a child who is at risk of abuse, neglect, involved in gang behaviour or at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and safeguarding actions are required to ensure the child remains safe
- Schools may have a concern about a child’s attendance, behaviour, and/or presentation
- Health professionals may have concerns about a child’s health and/or missed health appointments
- Police and youth offending may be involved
- Children who have an Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan for SEND
Wherever the concerns may start, we believe that if a positive difference is going to be made, we need to understand the whole picture and work together; with you.
If a professional believes that your child/children and you may need additional support, they will discuss this with you first. They will give you the opportunity to respond and agree on the way forward to make improvements.
If after a period of monitoring the professional continues to be concerned, they may decide to make a referral about your child/children to the Waltham Forest Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team.
The professional will speak to you first about their reasons for making a referral and how the MASH team will handle the referral.
There might be an exception to the professional talking to you before making a referral. If the professional feels that in talking to you first, they would put your child/children at further risk of harm
The MASH team is made up of professionals from different organisations who work together to protect children and young people from harm. The organisations involved are:
- children’s services
- early intervention and prevention service
- youth offending
- victim support
The MASH team will share information about your child/children and the family in a confidential and secure environment, to get a better understanding of the different issues that may be affecting your child’s/children’s safety and welfare.
The MASH professional will keep you informed about the progression of the referral.
If you’re unhappy about the way the MASH team deals with any referral about your child, you may raise this first with the MASH team manager. He/she will explain why information was shared and how decisions on your case were made.
If you are still not happy, you can make a complaint using Waltham Forest’s complaints system or you can contact the Information Commissioner if you are unhappy about the way Waltham Forest has used your information.
You have a right under the Data Protection Act to request any information the council holds about you.
Waltham Forest Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub
221 Hoe Street
Tel: 020 8496 2310 (Mon-Thurs, 9am-5.15pm and Fri, 9am-5pm), 020 8496 3000 (out of hours)