Children’s Social Care aims to work with parents, carers and young people in a partnership based on respect, equality and fairness, and to offer advice and support before a situation reaches 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.
By law, Children’s Social Care has to give priority of service to children with specific categories of need:
- Those at risk of serious harm and who may need a protection plan
- Those who 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)
- Private Fostering – such arrangements have to be notified to the local authority (Children’s Social Care)
- Those aged 16 or over who are leaving the care of Children’s Social Care or have previously left care and are eligible for Leaving Care services
- Where Children’s Social Care involvement is required by the courts
In addition, we 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
- The provision of residential care for children who are no longer able to live at home and where that is the appropriate option
- Supervising children who are privately fostered
- Young carers
All vulnerable children and young people have unique experiences and circumstances, which must be taken into account when providing services. Children’s Social Care works in partnership with them and their families to improve outcomes.
If you are concerned
If you are concerned that a child may be at risk or that you are struggling looking after your child please phone us on 0300 123 2224. We will be able to talk through your concerns with you.
The Somerset Local Safeguarding Children Board 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.
- 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
- 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 the 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 may require. For more information on how Social Care Services can help you, please see the document ‘Children´s Social Care and You’ which is in Downloads.