Norfolk Children’s Advice and Duty Service
CADS, the Children’s Advice and Duty Service is the service for people to raise a concern about the safety or welfare of a child.
What can you do as a member of the public if you have a concern?
If a member of the public, including a parent, wishes to speak to someone about a concern over a child, you can do this by phoning the customer service centre on 0344 800 8020.
They will want to know why you have a concern, what you may know about the child and any other relevant information.
In an emergency, or out of hours, dial 999.
What do schools do if they have a concern?
Schools are expected to use the service if they are worried about a child’s welfare. If we have a question or concern about child protection. They are the first point of contact for receiving new safeguarding concerns or enquiries. By working together, we can better support vulnerable children and young people and their families.
There is a single direct line and number for professionals for the Norfolk Children’s Advice and Duty Service (CADS). This is staffed by a team of senior social workers, who handle calls and act as point of contact throughout the process.
A senior social worker will discuss the concerns in order to make sure the child gets the right support, along with the Early help Pathway Advisors, police, and a wide range of partner agencies – a ‘never do nothing approach.’
If we speak to CADS and they give us advice or direction, we have to follow that process to safeguard children. A school will be given clear instructions as to what happens next and we have to follow them. This is part of our statutory duty.
Schools do not have to have consent for a referral if the concerns being raised suggest that the child/children or someone else (including the referrer) would be placed at risk of significant harm, or it might undermine a criminal investigation if the parents/carers are informed.
There is still the MASH, (multi agency safeguarding hub) undertaking cross agency checks for children identified as at risk or likely risk of harm, and all the Early Help Family Focus staff and partner representatives, to ensure the right pathway and response is identified and put in place.