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1.4.2 Death of or Serious Injury to a Child

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter outlines the immediate steps to be taken in the event of the suspicious death of/serious injury to a child living in the community or the death of/serious injury to any Child Looked After

These steps are in addition to any actions carried out by Calderdale SCB in relation to the need to hold a Serious Case Review and the work of the Child Death Overview Panel. See West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in January 2018 in line with the requirement to notify Ofsted of any serious childcare incident using the Ofsted online notification form.


Contents

  1. Death of or Serious Injury to a Child Who Resides in Calderdale  
  2. Death of or Serious Injury to a Child Looked After
  3. Needs of Social Worker/Team/Manager/Carer


1. Death of or Serious Injury of a Child Who Resides in Calderdale

See also Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015.

Where information is received concerning the suspicious death of or serious injury to a child who resides in Calderdale and abuse or neglect is suspected, the following tasks are required. ( Please seek guidance from your Service Manager if you are unsure whether the above criteria has been met.)

1.1

On receiving the information, the child’s social worker or, if unallocated, MAST will:

  1. Immediately inform their Team Manager;
  2. Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death/serious injury and pass this to the Team Manager;
  3. Create a contact on the CASS system.
1.2 The Team Manager will immediately inform their Service Manager by telephone and follow up with a brief email covering the child’s details and circumstances. The Team Manager will then provide more detailed follow up information by email within 1 hour to the Director, Head of Service for Early Intervention and Safeguarding, Business Manager for CSCB and Service Managers for Safeguarding, Children Looked After, Locality Teams and MAST/CAT/EDT.
 

The Team manager will then:

  1. By the next working day, ascertain as full details as possible from the Police and any other source. The case should be closed by the next working day on the deceased child and IT contacted to request that the file is locked down on CASS and, if relevant, collect any paper files held on the child and family and secure them at the relevant location. Siblings files should be restricted if they are open cases or have been opened due to there being an on going investigation and/or Social Care involvement. Where the child has suffered a serious injury then their file should be restricted;
  2. Arrange through administrative staff to inform the other relevant agencies about the death/serious injury and remind them to secure their files;
  3. If the case requires further investigation due to potential risks towards siblings/other children within the household, then this should be passed to the relevant team and a Strategy Meeting convened. In cases of serious injury, consideration should be given to inviting legal services. In cases where a child has died legal services MUST always be invited and attend.
  The Service Manager for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance and the Calderdale SCB Business Manager will consider, together, the circumstances of the death/serious injury, in accordance with the West Yorkshire Child Death or Serious Case Review Procedures and consult with the Head of Early Intervention and Safeguarding as to whether a notification needs to be sent to Ofsted using the online Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents.
  The report to Ofsted must be reviewed by the Head of Early Intervention and Safeguarding before it is sent. The form requires a range of information and is set out clearly in sections. A copy of the completed form should be saved and printed out for the records.
  In urgent situations (for example where there is likely to be publicity / press interest), the Head of Early Intervention and Safeguarding should telephone Ofsted on 0300 123 1231 and then complete the form.
 

Where a Serious Case Review is to be held, this must be conducted in accordance with Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015, Chapter 4: Learning and Improvement Framework, Serious Case Review and the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures Manual, Serious Case Reviews Procedure.

If the Serious Case Review panel and Independent Chair of the Calderdale Safeguarding Children Board decide that a Serious Case Review will not be held, this should be notified to the National Panel of Independent Experts on Serious Case Reviews. However, the Independent Chair and/or the Serious Case Review Panel may still decide that there are issues arising from the case which justify an internal management/multi-agency review.

Six weeks after the death of a child (or following a Serious Case Review), the Calderdale Safeguarding Children Board will contact the family by letter to inform them that their child’s case will be considered at a Child Death Overview Panel. The LSCB will contact Children’s Social Care for further information on the child as part of the CDOP (Child Death Overview Panel) process.


2. Death of or Serious Injury to a Child Looked After

Where information is received regarding the death of or serious injury to a Child Looked After, the following tasks are required.

On receiving the information, the child’s social worker (or Duty Worker if the information is received out of hours) will:

  • Immediately inform their Team Manager;
  • Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death/serious injury and pass this to the Team Manager;
  • Create a contact on the CASS system;
  • Inform the Child’s IRO if possible.

The Team Manager will:

  1. Immediately inform their Service Manager;
  2. Notify the parent(s) immediately and in person, if possible;
  3. In the event of a serious injury to the child, arrange with the parent(s) to visit the child in hospital;
  4. In the event of a child’s death, discuss with the parent(s) and reach agreement regarding the arrangements for the funeral (in the event of sudden, unexplained deaths arrangements for the funeral may need to be delayed);
  5. Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death/serious injury and pass this to their line manager; and
  6. Discuss with the Service Manager any necessary expenditure including reasonable travel expenses to assist the family in attending the funeral or visiting the child in hospital where it appears there is financial hardship;
  7. Where the child was in a long term foster placement, discuss with the Service Manager any possible conflict between the carers and the parents regarding arrangements for the child's funeral;

The Service Manager will inform the Head of Early Intervention and Safeguarding who will come to a decision about whether to notify local authority Members.

The Service Manager will ensure that the parents' wishes concerning the funeral are discussed (by the social worker or the Team Manager), that any possible conflict with the wishes of the carers are also ascertained and addressed, and that any appropriate associated costs are met.

Arrange, in consultation with the Calderdale SCB Business Manager, appropriate meetings under the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures, including the need to hold a Serious Case Review;

Inform Ofsted using the Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents.


3. Needs of Social Worker/Team/Managers/Carer

During the implementation of this procedure consideration must be given to the needs of those staff and carers involved in the case.

The impact of a child death on Social Worker/Team/Manager/Carer needs to be addressed in terms of:

  • The need for counselling for those involved;
  • The manner in which such support is offered;
  • The provision of access to legal and professional advice about the ongoing conduct of the case;
  • The provision of a clear explanation of the process of a Serious Case Review;
  • Support for staff in the event of Police investigation/interviews;
  • The need to inform and keep informed any relevant Trades Unions;
  • The need for team debriefing whilst observing confidentiality. This must be discussed with the Service Manager;
  • The need to acknowledge that a child death can impact on the productivity of any team and its ability to function; and the need to agree strategies to manage workloads.

End