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Report concerns about a child

If you have concerns about a child or young person in Reading and need to let us know, you are in the right place.

The Children’s Single Point of Access is where to raise a concern about a child (pre-birth to 18 years old) in Reading.

This page gives you details on how to contact us if a child or young person in Reading:

  • may need additional support
  • may be being abused or neglected
  • needs safeguarding of any kind.

There are several ways to get in touch with us, depending on the urgency of the situation and who you are.

If a child is in immediate danger call the police on 999.

There are frequently asked questions and their answers at the bottom of this page. These include details of organisations that can help you.

Members of the public

If you want to report concerns about a child or young person, email us at cspoa@brighterfuturesforchildren.org  (please do not change the subject matter in the email that is generated when you click on the email link).

Or you call us on 0118 937 3641 (includes out of hours contact details).

If you believe a person in a position of trust is abusing a child or young person in any way, you can contact our Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). See details further down this page for more details.

Please do not use CSPoA for enquiries about school admissions. The school admissions team can be contacted on 0118 937 3777 (option 1) or you can email admissions@brighterfuturesforchildren.org

Professionals

If you are a professional (teaching staff, GP, police officer, health worker or anyone else working with children and young people), you should complete the following notification form. Referrals will not be accepted via email:

Children’s Single Point of Access (CSPoA) multi-agency notification form

If you suspect there is immediate danger call 999 first, then us ( 0118 937 3641, Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, line includes out of hours contact details) and complete this form within 24 hours of doing so.

Please note: Due to security constraints, you can’t save the form, so you will need as much information to hand as possible. This includes:

  • Details on each child/young person in the family including date of birth, NHS number (if known).
  • Detail of parents/carers including those that do not live in the same household as the child/young person
  • Education setting(s), including address and contact details for the designated/safeguarding lead (or point of contact for this notification)
  • GP details
  • Other agencies working with the child/young person and family including names, telephone numbers and email addresses.

To meet data protection rules as outlined in the GDPR guidance, the person completing the notification form must obtain consent.

Useful Q&As for professionals

I have concerns about parents experiencing relationship difficulties

If you're a professional concerned about parents you're working with that are experiencing relationship difficulties, please see these parental conflict resources and guidance. Also visit the Parenting page on the Family Information Service website for other options.

I want to know more about early help support for families with children with multiple needs?

Please email OneReading@brighterfuturesforchildren.org.uk and we will get back to you to explore support that is available from the One Reading Hub or to discuss the early help assessment.

Support is provided at threshold 2A. To understand more about the threshold levels that assessments will be based on, read this guide.

What is the threshold for a financial budget?

This is for children who are unlikely to achieve or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development, or their health or development will be significantly impaired without the provisions of services; or children with special educational needs and/or disabilities. They may require longer term intervention from statutory, specialist or integrated targeted services.

The Early Help Assessment can be used as supporting evidence to gain specialist or targeted support.

Please email OneReading@brighterfuturesforchildren.org for further information, advice and support.

What happens once you have made contact

You will receive an automated reply once you have completed the CSPoA multi-agency notification form. You may be contacted by the team to provide more information. We will let you know what course of action we intend taking within two working days.

Deciding if you need to raise a concern

The Berkshire West Safeguarding Children Partnership (BWSCP) has provided the helpful Reading Threshold Guidance Booklet  that breaks down the decision making process. For full information, advice and guidance please use the BWSCP Threshold Page.

Contacting our Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

If you believe a person in a position of trust is abusing a child or young person in any way, you can contact our Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). More information on this can be seen here.

Frequent questions/queries and answers

My ex-partner refuses to return the children back to me and we have a court order in place

You may need to speak to a solicitor. You can do that by contacting Coram or the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). You can also call Family Lives for support and guidance.

Also look here on the government website where you can complete the c100 form yourself (may be a bit cheaper).

Coram: 0300 330 5480 or 5485
CAB: 0808 278 7819, www.rcab.org.uk
Family Lives:  0808 800 2222, askus@familylives.org.uk, www.familylives.org.uk

I am worried about my child's emotional health - they don't want to go to school or socialise

Speak to your child’s school. They can provide support, such as a counselling service. They can also refer you to our Mental Health Support Team (MHST). You can also speak to your GP.

Also visit the Young People and Mental Health section of the Family Information Service website.

For more urgent issues, call the NHS 111 or take your child to A&E. You can also contact CAMHS.

More wellbeing support is listed here.

I'm worried about the way my family are being assessed by social services

Ask to speak with the manager or make a complaint - see our complaints page.

You can also seek advice from Family Rights Group: www.frg.org.uk, 0808 801 0366.

I am struggling financially and it's causing me stress

Communicare or CAB can provide you with advice about your welfare entitlements and they may be able to help with any applications for support. Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Debt Advice Team may also be able to help or Reading Community Welfare Rights Unit.

Reading Community Welfare Rights – advisor@readingspecialist.co.uk, call 0118 955 1070 or visit www.readingspecialist.co.uk

My child has a disability and I'd like financial support/carers assessment

TuVida provides support to parents who care for their children with additional needs. They carry out a parent carer needs assessment and, if you need it, refer you to Brighter Futures for Children for an assessment of all your family's needs. There is guidance on requesting a parent carer needs assessment on the BFfC website.

Also see Reading’s SEND Local Offer. The Local Offer aims to provide you with clear, comprehensive and accessible information about all support and services available.

Here is the webpage to the Local Offer, email localoffer@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 3777 (option 2).

Stepping Forward can also help families to apply for DLA. See more here.

I'm having relationship problems. We argue all the time. I'm not sure if i'm being abused or if my family is breaking down

There are many organisations and people that can support you.

Berkshire Family Mediation: 0118 957 1159, email info@berksfm.co.uk or visit this website.

Reading Relate Relationship Counselling: 0118 987 6161,
Email appointments.berkshire@relate.org.uk or find your local Relate office here.

If you think you may be experiencing domestic abuse, see this safeguarding and domestic abuse page for all the groups that are here to support you.

If you have any urgent concerns, call 0118 937 3641 or if you are in immediate danger, call 999 and press 55 when prompted if you can’t speak.

If you're a professional with concerns about some parents experiencing relationship difficulties, please see these parental conflict resources and guidance.

I have contact issues with my children, or queries about contact and parental difficulties

Coram Children’s Legal Centre’s has a Child Law Advice Service that provides free legal advice and information on child and family issues.

Visit its website or call 0300 330 5480 or 5485.

Cafcass can also help and provide advice. Visit its website or call 0300 456 4000.

To report anything illegal, visit www.thamesvalley.police.uk. Or if you suspect you or your children are in immediate danger, call 999.

My ex-partner is taking my child out of the country

To seek advice or to stop your children being taken somewhere without your consent, you may need to apply for a prohibited steps order.

See this page on the Citizens Advice Bureau’s website for more information.

I am being harassed or stalked

Read this information on Thames Valley Police’s website.

If you’re in immediate danger call 999.

I am a parent/carer and want to access financial support/personal carers budget

Explore the options and support at Tuvida Carers Hub. Visit www.tuvida.org, email Berkshire@tuvida.org or call 0118 945 4209

See here for more information on financial support.

I want to know about early help support and services for children with complex needs

For children and families whose needs or circumstances make them more vulnerable, a co-ordinated approach with different agencies is usually best. This is based on an early help assessment to make sure everyone in the family receives the support needed.

Please email OneReading@brighterfuturesforchildren.org and someone will contact you to explore support that is available from the One Reading Hub or to discuss the early help assessment.

To understand more about the threshold levels that assessments will be based on, read this guide.

Can BFfC instruct my ex-partner (parent of my child) to follow a court directed contact order?

Contact orders are court directed. The local authority/BFfC are not in a position to enforce these. Please seek legal advice if there is a breach of a court order.

Coram Children’s Legal Centre can provide free legal advice. See the website or call 0300 330 5480 or 5485.

My child requires additional support for their mental health

Find statutory, community and voluntary organisations offering support on the Young People and Mental Health section of the Family Information Service.

Please speak to your GP to explore your concerns and options. They will be able to refer your child to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS.)

See here for more information.

Or contact our Mental Health Support Team

I am concerned about the immediate safety of a child. They are being hurt - who do I call first?

For urgent and immediate safety concerns, call the police on 999, and press 55 when prompted if you can’t speak.

I am concerned abut a child. How do I make a referral and report this annonymously?

It is important that you share any child safeguarding concerns with BFfC without delay. You can do this anonymously.

Call 0118 937 3641, email cspoa@brighterfuturesforchildren.org

Where can I access information about community services in Reading?

Reading’s services directory has many community services listed here.

Our Family Information Service also lists many local services and support on its website.

Where can I get information about special education needs (SEND) support for my child?

Please speak to the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) at your child's school.

Our SEND team can also support you and your child. Contact 0118 937 2674, email sen@brighterfuturesforchildren.org or visit the Local Offer website here

Can you undertake a check on a family to see if they are known by social care?

We are unable to check social care records unless we have consent from the parents or carer or there is a safeguarding concern.

I am concerned about a young person's relationship with another person

Berkshire West Safeguarding Children Partnership has information and advice on its website. Here are many other organisations listed who you can also speak to for advice and support.

If you think someone is in immediate danger, call 999.

Or for immediate concerns, please call 0118 937 3641 or email cspoa@brighterfuturesforchildren.org without delay.