Death of or Serious Injury to a Child
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure outlines the immediate steps to be taken in the event of the death of or serious injury to a child living in Calderdale (where there are suspicions of abuse or neglect) and the death of/serious injury to any Child Looked After (whether or not abuse or neglect is known or suspected).
These steps are in addition to any Rapid Review or Child Safeguarding Practice Review which may be commissioned and the work of the Child Death Overview Panel. Children's Social Care Services should work in close partnership with the Calderdale Safeguarding Children Partnership whenever a child dies or is seriously injured to ensure a seamless process and to avoid any duplication or misunderstanding. See also: West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was updated throughout in July 2019 to reflect Working Together to Safeguard Children and the process for reporting a serious incident to the National Panel via the Child Safeguarding Incident Notification System.
1. Death of or Serious Injury of a Child Who Resides in Calderdale where there are Suspicions of Abuse or Neglect
See also: Working Together to Safeguard Children.
Local authorities in England must notify the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (the Panel) within 5 working days of becoming aware of a serious incident.
Serious incidents which should be reported are those where the local authority knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected and:
- The child dies (including suspected suicide) or is seriously harmed in the local authority's area;
- While normally resident in the local authority's area, the child dies or is seriously harmed outside England.
The process for reporting a serious incident to the Panel via the Child Safeguarding Incident Notification System is set out in the following: Report A Serious Child Safeguarding Incident (GOV.UK). The Panel will share all notifications with Ofsted and the DfE.
The following tasks are also required (Please seek guidance from your Service Manager if you are unsure whether the above criteria has been met):
On receiving the information, the child's social worker or, if not previously known to Children's Social Care, MAST will:
|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 of Children and Young People's Services, Assistant Director Early Intervention and Safeguarding, Business Manager for Calderdale Safeguarding Children Partnership and Service Managers for Safeguarding, Children Looked After, Locality Teams and MAST/CAT/EDT.|
The Team manager will then:
|The Service Manager for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance and the Calderdale Safeguarding Children Partnership Business Manager will consider, together, the circumstances of the death/serious injury, in accordance with the West Yorkshire Child Death or Child Safeguarding Practice Review Procedures and consult with the Assistant Director Early Intervention and Safeguarding as to whether a notification needs to be sent to Ofsted using the online Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents.|
Local authorities should use the Child Safeguarding Incident Notification System to notify the Panel. The Panel will share all notifications with Ofsted and the DfE. The report must be reviewed by the Assistant Director Early Intervention and Safeguarding before it is sent. The form requires a range of information and is set out clearly in sections. Before you start you will need:
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 Assistant Director Early Intervention and Safeguarding should telephone Ofsted on 0300 123 1231 and then complete the form.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries.
Where a Rapid Review or Child Safeguarding Practice Review is to be held, this must be conducted in accordance with Working Together to Safeguard Children, Chapter 4: Improving child protection and safeguarding practice and the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures.
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:
- Immediately inform their Service Manager;
- Notify the parent(s) immediately and in person, if possible;
- In the event of a serious injury to the child, arrange with the parent(s) to visit the child in hospital;
- 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);
- Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death/serious injury and pass this to their line manager; and
- 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;
- 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 Assistant Director 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 Safeguarding Children Partnership Business Manager, appropriate meetings under the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures, including the need to hold a Rapid Review.
Additionally, whenever a Child Looked After dies, the local authority must inform the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel within 5 days using the Child Safeguarding Incident Notification System. The Panel, will share all notifications with Ofsted and the DfE.
3. Needs of Social Workers / Teams / Managers / Carers
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 Workers / Team / Managers / Carers 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;
- Providing, in a timely manner, a clear explanation the Rapid Review and Child Safeguarding Practice Review processes;
- 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.