Child protection

Children’s advice and duty service (CADS)

Are you worried about a child?

The Children's advice and duty service (CADS) provides a single point of contact for professionals and members of the public who want to seek support or raise concerns about a child.

If you have any concerns about a child at risk of harm, abuse or neglect or if you need support, advice or guidance in relation to a child in your care, please contact us where you will be able to speak to an experienced social worker. We will listen, assess your concerns, provide advice, support and guidance, and take appropriate action if a child is at risk.

If you are unsure that it is a concern worth reporting, you can call the team and talk it through.

The team is made up of experienced social workers, who will provide advice and support to other professionals and ask key questions about the risks and strengths within families.

They will then agree together with you who is best placed to meet the needs of a child.

They will be able to advise if it is a child protection concern, or whether other help should be provided for the child and family. If a family is struggling, they can offer advice and guidance regarding early help and support for the children and parents, before any problems become advanced and harder to solve.

The aim is to get the right support to children and families at the right time. We’re basing it on what’s worked well elsewhere. By talking through concerns and solutions with professionals we can work even better together and get the right support earlier to families.

For any call raising concerns about a child, we will ask for:

  • all of the details known to you/your agency about the child
  • their family composition including brothers and sisters, and where possible extended family members and anyone important in the child’s life
  • the nature of the concern and how immediate it is
  • any and what kind of work/support you have provided to the child or family to date


Please make sure you seek consent for any contact into the Children’s advice & duty service unless 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. Reasons for not seeking consent should be clearly stated when speaking with Children's advice and duty service and recorded on internal systems for your records.

Contact details

  • Monday to Friday: 08:45 to 17:00 telephone: 01254 666400
  • Emergency out-of-hours (evenings and weekends) telephone: 01254 587547

If you believe that a child is at immediate risk and in need of protection then you should call the police on 999 immediately.

Professional escalation

Effective partnership working is vital in order to ensure that outcomes for children and families are central to all assessment, planning and intervention.

There will be times when disagreements occur and require escalation.

Challenge is positive and should always be focused on the desired outcome for the child and family, with the child's safety and wellbeing being paramount. It is the responsibility of each individual professional and agency to progress challenge if they are not in agreement with the outcome of any aspect of assessment, planning or intervention (any level of need and support).

If you need to escalate a worry or concern, you can find further information about the escalation process.

We understand that it is not always easy to know who to contact. In the first instance it should be the allocated social worker and then their manager. However, if you are not sure who that is and/or don't have a contact number, please call 01254 666400 and you will be directed to the relevant person.