Most clinicians have come across the phrase 'the welfare of the child is paramount'; this key principle is at the heart of the Children Act 1989 and 2004.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (Hawkins & Department For Education, 2018) makes it clear that safeguarding is everyone's responsibility and applies to all health organisations, including adult mental health and substance misuse services for adults. The document also highlights the importance of identifying children and families who would benefit from early help, including those particularly likely to require this.
Examples could include children in a home where there is parental substance misuse, parental mental ill-health, parental intellectual disability and/or domestic abuse, or a child who is a young carer showing signs of being drawn into antisocial behaviour or frequently going missing from home.
General adult psychiatrists play a central role in the assessment and management of patients, many of whom are parents and others who may also pose a risk to children. This module aims to highlight the type of scenarios the clinician may encounter, where safeguarding children issues may either be obvious or emerge following further assessment informed by a greater knowledge/understanding of this complex area.
This module provides advice on how clinicians can effectively manage such scenarios, including advice on where they may access support, what information they should share and with whom.