Child protection: Help and advice for parents and carers

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Alert

Patterns of family life vary and there is no single, perfect way to bring up children. Good parenting involves caring for children’s basic needs which includes: 

  • keeping them safe
  • showing them warmth and love
  • providing the stimulation needed for their development and to help them achieve their potential
  • providing a stable environment where they experience consistent guidance and boundaries. 

As a parent, carer, neighbour or anyone in contact with children and families you may at times have concerns about the welfare of a child. These could be concerns about their development, appearance or behaviour which may indicate signs of abuse. We all have a personal responsibility to notice when a child or young person may be being abused and pass our concerns to someone who can act to protect them. 

Where can I get help from? 

If you believe that a child or young person is at immediate risk, this should be reported without delay to the police service as a 999 emergency. 

If you have concerns about a child that do not require immediate attention you can and should seek advice from professionals. Contact the Waltham Forest Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team: 

Call 020 8496 2310 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 5.15pm, Friday 9am to 5pm) or 020 8496 3000 (out of hours). 

Did you know? 

  • Cyberbullying is now more common than face-to-face bullying among 9-16 year-olds 

  • More than half of parents ask their children for advice about technology 

 As a parent or carer, you play a key role in helping your child to stay safe online. 

Further information and websites:

  • Internet Matters offers a range of guides providing general information on how to keep children safe in their digital world
  • UK Safer Internet Centre offers tips, advice, guides and resources to help keep your child safe online 
  • Parentzone provides support and information to parents, children and schools to help families to navigate the internet safely and confidently. They work with parents, schools, governments and businesses to study, understand and address the impact of emerging technologies on young people.  

Child exploitation Click to get info

For information and guidance, see our child exploitation webpage.

Private tuition Click to get info

Whilst the vast majority of private tutors and centres are reputable and prioritise safeguarding children and young people, as a parent or carer, you still need to take care to make proper checks when hiring their services.   

Checklist for making sure that tutor and tuition centres are suitable and do not pose a risk to your child: 

  • Is this tutor/teacher/centre safe to work with children? Check for DBS, references, qualification certificates, what other people and your children say. Inform your child's school of your intention to provide additional private tutoring. 

  • How will this tutor/teacher/centre respond to my child’s behaviour? It is important for a tutor to meet your child so that you can see if they get on before tutoring. What are the expectations around behaviour?  Are these age-appropriate? 

  • Does this tutor/teacher/centre understand how to keep my child safe? Remain on the premises when tutoring takes place in your home or in a tuition centre. Ensure that you are able to monitor the work undertaken. Talk to your child about their progress and see their written work. 

Click to get info

Private fostering is when a child under 16 (18 if they are disabled) is in the care of someone other than their parents or close relative. 

Parents and carers must notify the council when agreeing on private fostering. 

Professionals working with children have a duty to notify the council of private fostering situations. 

To notify the council of a private fostering arrangement or to find out more please call MASH on: 

020 8496 2310 (Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5.15pm and Friday, 9am to 5pm) or 020 8496 3000 (out of hours) or email MASHrequests@walthamforest.gov.uk  

For more information, visit our private fostering webpage.

Other useful resources  Click to get info

The Children Society has developed a parent’s guide on How to support your child’s well-being which gives some simple tips on how they can encourage children to take part in the activities that could enhance their well-being.  

Are you a parent or carer who is concerned about your child? Or perhaps you just want some hints and tips on parenting? MindEd for Families has online advice and information from trusted sources and will help you to understand and identify early issues and best support your child.

The Educate against hate website will provide you with practical information and advice on protecting children from radicalisation and extremism