There are two Locality social work teams (North and South) that are based in the Patchway (North) and Kingswood (South) Hubs respectively. The teams work with children, young people and families, providing social work support and assistance.
Help and advice
Children’s locality social work teams can work with children and young people aged 0 –18 who are considered to be in need or at risk of harm. We offer advice to anybody who may have concerns for their own children, or anybody else's children that they believe are having difficulties or are at risk of harm. We will help you with many problems you may have and, if we can’t give you advice ourselves, we will try and give you details of someone who can.
If I am concerned that a child is being abused, what should I do?
All people who come into contact with children have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This means that you have a right to be concerned for a child and the right to bring it to the attention of those who can help. If you are concerned that a child is at risk of immediate harm then you should call the police. If your concerns are not of an immediate nature then you should report possible abuse or for general advice please call 01454 866000. We will ask you for details of the child such as their name and where they live and about the nature of your concerns. A social worker will contact you to talk about your concerns to enable us to have as clear a picture as possible. The referral will then be investigated to make sure the child is protected from harm. We will make every effort to ensure that your concerns are confidential as far as our investigation allows.
If I tell you about a child I think is being abused, will they be taken into care?
Our priority is to keep families together, and wherever possible, we will seek to do this.
My child will not go to school, can you help?
Matters of school attendance are dealt with in the first instance by the school and the authority's education welfare service - not by social services. The Children’s Information Service can put you in contact with the education welfare service 01454 868008
I have money problems, can you help?
No. We are not an agency like the Benefits Agency that can supplement people's incomes. In exceptional circumstances we may provide small amounts of money or material goods in order to promote a plan of work within a family.
If I have a problem with drink or drugs will you help, or will my child be taken into care?
We do not take children into care purely because one or both parents are using alcohol or drugs of any kind. Our consideration is whether the use of alcohol or drugs is significantly affecting a child's safety or welfare.
I have been hit by my partner but don’t know what to do, can you help?
The help we offer will depend on the help you want. If you want to leave, we would assist you to either leave the family home or remove the violent partner from the family home. If you are not yet ready to leave we would work with you at ways to keep yourself and your children safe from further abuse and violence. If you and your violent partner want help to break the cycle of violence we would identify the help that you need and either work with you ourselves or refer you to someone who can help. We usually hear about cases of domestic violence when police have been called and they inform us. The police have a domestic abuse investigation team who advises us when they have attended incidents where there is a child in the household. Research tells us that children's safety and welfare is often at risk when there is violence in the home. In this situation, if the child is seen as being in significant need a child protection conference may take place.
My mum is being hit by my dad, what should I do?
It is important to know that domestic violence is not your fault and that you're not alone. We also want you to know that asking for help is ok.
If there is domestic violence in a home, research tells us that you may be at risk. So the first thing you need to do is to stay safe. It is also important to know that you do have choices and don't just run away. You need to make sure you are safe and this means that even though you may really want to, don’t try to stop the violence. Go somewhere in your house that you feel safe - if you are a young person this may be a neighbour's or a friend's house.
You can call 999 for help if you're really worried about your mum being hurt. Tell someone. It's helpful to tell a friend or a grown-up that you trust - maybe your teacher or your school nurse, or an uncle or aunt. This can give you the choice to get away if you feel it isn't safe to stay at home. It may be helpful if you talk to your mum about it. You may be worried that this will upset her but talking to each other may make you both feel better. There is a really good website called The Hideout that you may find helpful. It is written for children and young people and may answer some of your questions.
At what age can I leave my child home alone?
There are no legal guidelines regarding the age at which a child can be left at home alone. The rule of thumb is that the child should be able to look after itself and common sense therefore applies. It is worth bearing in mind that in the event of a child being seriously injured while being looked after or left on its own, an offence may have been committed under the Children and Young Persons Act of 1933.
North locality social work team
The North locality social work team offers a social work service to children and young people in the Yate, Filton, Patchway and Bradley Stoke areas. The team works with children, young people and families, providing social work support and assistance.
Both initial and core assessments are undertaken by qualified social workers who inform of action plans identified to meet individual needs, reduce risks and promote strengths. This is achieved by working in partnership with relevant agencies, children and young people and their families. Where children are deemed to be suffering significant harm at home the team will look to the wider family network before placing children and young people in public care whether this be through the child protection or court process.
South locality social work team
The South locality social work team offers a social work service to children and young people in the Kingswood and Cadbury Heath areas who may be in need of support, need of protection or are unable to remain with their families and come into public care. This involves working with children and parents to identify what services are best put in place to maintain children safely within their family and local community. The team endeavours to work in partnership with families but there are situations where there is a need to safeguard children from being subject to significant harm which might lead to a multi-agency child protection conference or in some instances putting the matter before a court.