Working with parents

Working alongside parents is the key to good outcomes for children and young people.

It is important to recognise the responsibility of the parents and carers for the protection of Children and Young People. Generally the most effective way of ensuring that children are safeguarded is by working in partnership with parents and carers.

This might include:

  • Identifying vulnerable mothers and families in difficulty e.g at the ante-natal booking appointment
  • Acknowledging parental risk factors such as domestic abuse, drug and alcohol abuse and a history of abuse or offending which might impact on parenting quality and child care abilities Encouraging the involvement of parents as much as possible with their child’s care
  • Knowing the names of parents, carers or those with parental responsibility
  • Recording the name of the accompanying adult and if possible identifying the relationship to the child
  • Ensuring that communications between the practice and parents take account of communication difficulties involving parents, as well as children, in developing policies relating to them
  • Parental responsibility is a key safeguarding consideration

If a child requires urgent and immediately necessary medical intervention, this may be provided without ascertaining whether the carer has parental responsibility and therefore the right to consent to treatment.

However non-urgent or prophylactic treatment such as immunisations or elective surgical procedures will require consent from a young person who has been assessed competent or a carer with parental responsibility. It is important that parental responsibility is documented in the child's record.

Professional Guidance on Parental Responsibility

GMC Guidance
BMA Guidance
MPS Guidance
Children Looked After or Children in Care

CLA is the term used for a child or young person who is:

Being looked after or accommodated by local authorities/Health and Social Care
An unaccompanied asylum seeker
Awaiting adoption

In the case of accommodated children parental responsibility is retained by the parents under section 20 of the Children’s Act 1989, however, if a full care order is granted the local authority has parental responsibility.