||When a referral is received by the MASH team and a pre birth assessment is undertaken the children and family assessment gathers information from all relevant agencies, working in a multi-agency approach. If significant safeguarding concerns are raised as part of that assessment Children social care should call a multi-agency strategy meeting. All unborns being assessed should also be discussed with the safeguarding midwife lead at Milton Keynes University Hospital at a monthly safeguarding unborn meeting.
||An up to date chronology and genogram must be provided for a strategy meeting.
If it is suspected that the baby is likely to suffer significant harm this should be in the form of a Strategy Discussion chaired by a Children Services line manager and involve a:
- Community midwife
- Maternity services manager
- Health visitor
- Police officer
- Social worker
- Other professions as appropriate eg obstetricians, mental health services, probation
- Where required, a legal advisor
||Legal advice should be sought if necessary.
This strategy discussion should determine:
- Cause for concern and the potential impact on the care provided to the baby;
- Particular requirements of the Children and Families Assessment;
- Whether a Section 47 Enquiry is to be initiated;
- Role and responsibilities of agencies and specialists in the assessment eg involvement of expert in substance misuse if applicable;
- Role and responsibilities of agencies to provide support before and after the birth;
- Identity of responsible social worker to ensure planning and communication of information;
- Timescales for the assessments and enquiries, bearing in mind the expected date of delivery;
- How and when parent/s are to be informed of the concerns;
- Required action by ward staff when the baby is born;
- The need for a pre-birth Initial Child Protection conference, or (where this will depend on the outcome of assessments) establish the date by which this decision must be made, given timescales in - 'Timing of Conference' in Section 2, Types of Child Conferences, of the Child Protection Conferences Procedure.
||The assessment plan must be consistent with standards required for possible court proceedings, including clear letters of instruction.
||Parents should be informed as soon as possible of concerns and need for assessment, except on the rare occasions when medical guidance advice suggests this may be harmful to the health of the unborn baby and/or mother.