Ask Sam letter


To Sam

social workers

Explain what a social care worker must do if they think an individual is in danger or harm or abuse?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Social workers are there to protect people who have particular danger of harm or abuse. If a social worker thinks a young person is in danger, they may talk to them and other people in their life to understand what’s been happening. This is called an assessment. They make this assessment to work out what needs to happen to keep them safe and see if they're at risk.

Social Services will always try to keep families together where possible, but the safety of a young person comes first. If a social worker thinks a young person is in danger, they might decide that it’s best for them to live in care.

The social work team may see if there are other family members, friends or anyone else who it'd be safe for them to live with. And if not, the social work team might decide that a young person needs to be taken into care for protection.

When a young person goes into care, Social Services try to make sure that the young person can live near to their home. They'll also try to make sure that the young person’s education isn’t disrupted and that brothers and sisters can live together if they're all taken into care.

If Social Services think that a young person is in danger, their main priority is to keep that person safe.

I think lots of young people will be interested to read more about how Social Services work. Sometimes people worry that if Social Services get involved that they will automatically be taken into care. But this isn’t the way they work.

It's important to remember Social Services in different areas might work in slightly different ways and that every case and young person is different. Sometimes a social worker might need to be made aware that a young person isn't safe as it may not be obvious to them or others.

Please remember that if you’re ever in danger or you’re worried about someone else, you don’t have to keep it to yourself. You can talk to a Childline counsellor for support and you can also call 999 if you need emergency help.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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