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Introduction

Children’s Social Care aims to work with parents, carers and young people in a partnership. This is based on respect, equality and fairness, and to offer advice and support before a situation reaches a crisis point.

We also work in partnership with and may refer to, other services and community groups, including education, health, housing, benefits agencies and the police.

See our Finding childcare page if you are looking for childcare options.

Our priorities

By law, Children’s Social Care has to give priority of service to children with specific categories of need. These include children and young people who

  • are at risk of serious harm and who may need a protection plan
  • are, or may need to be, looked after by Children’s Social Care and are unable to remain living at home (birth to 18 years including unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people).
  • are in Private Fostering – such arrangements have to be notified to the local authority – Children’s Social Care
  • are leaving the care of Children’s Social Care and are aged 16 or over or have previously left care and are eligible for Leaving Care services
  • have had the courts say that Children’s Social Care involvement is needed

We also provide a number of specialist services, such as:

  • the recruitment, assessment and supervision of foster carers
  • placing and supporting children with foster carers
  • the recruitment, assessment and support of people who want to adopt
  • matching and placing children with adopters
  • providing residential care for children who are no longer able to live at home, if this is appropriate
  • supervising children who are privately fostered
  • young carers

All vulnerable children and young people have different experiences and circumstances, which must considered when providing services. Children’s Social Care works in partnership with them and their families to improve their situation.

If you are concerned

If you are concerned that a child may be at risk or that you are struggling to look after your child please phone us on 0300 123 2224. We will be able to talk through your concerns with you.

The Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership website has useful information for children and young people, parents and carers, and anyone working with children.

The site also has links to the South West Child Protection Procedures.

What we do

We promote and safeguard the wellbeing of children and young people who are ‘in need’. Children are defined as ‘in need’ if they would suffer if they did not get help.

We make assessments and provide a range and level of services appropriate to assessed needs to support parents to care for their children.

This includes

  • investigating allegations of abuse and child welfare concerns
  • providing accommodation for children and young people who cannot live with their families
  • fostering services
  • Somerset Adoption Service
  • Somerset Leaving Care Service
  • supporting young carers

We prioritise

  • children and young people at risk of harm (South West Child Protections Procedures)
  • children and young people looked after away from home
  • young people aged 16 to 21 who are leaving care
  • children and young people with disabilities
  • children and young people where the courts request us to become involved

How we do this

Wherever possible we work in partnership with other agencies and parents to support children and young people at home or within their extended families.

Where child protection concerns are too great, children and young people may become looked after either with parental agreement or by court order.

A small number of these children and young people may move to adoptive families if they are unable to return home.

If you are making a new enquiry, please phone us on 0300 123 2224 where an advisor will be able to discuss what type of service you need.

If you are a professional and wish to make a referral to Children’s Social Care, it must be submitted using our multi-agency referral form. You can find the Early Help Assessment on the Professional Choices website.

For more information on how Social Care Services can help you, please see the document ‘Children’s Social Care and You’ which is in the Downloads section of this page.

Last reviewed: January 31, 2024 by Helly

Next review due: July 31, 2024

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