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Children's social care

See how we can help if you are worried about the wellbeing of a child or young person.

Worried about a child

If you are worried that a child or young person might need help or is being neglected or hurt, it is important that you share your worries. Many people are worried that contacting children's social services will mean that children are taken into care. In fact, unless a child is in danger, we will work hard with parents to help and support them so that the family can stay together.  Of course where there is a serious issue of abuse or neglect we will protect children together with the police and other agencies.

If you are worried that someone is in immediate danger please call 999.

If you have concerns about the safety of a child you should get in contact straight away on the below numbers:

  • Access to Children's Services team 020 7641 4000 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or Emergency Duty Team 020 7641 2388 (outside of these times).

The Access team provides a single point of contact for professionals and members of the public who want to seek support or raise concerns about a child. We will listen, assess your concerns, and can take action if a child is at risk.

If you're not sure whether a child is at risk you can discuss the circumstances with us or with someone else who works with children, such as a teacher, health visitor or the NSPCC.

All professionals who work with children have a responsibility to safeguard them and will know how to help.

How to get support

Refer yourself or a child by contacting us on on 020 7641 6000 9am to 5pm weekdays (or the Emergency Duty team outside these hours) or ask a professional you are working with to help. We will need to talk to you and your family to find out what your needs are and what we can offer you and agree a way forward.

You may be referred to a community or voluntary agency, or might be offered support through our Family Hub / children's centres or via our Early Help service. 

For professionals

How to make a referral

Before making a referral, please ensure that the child or children and their family live in Westminster, you can do this by completing a postcode check available on GOV.UK.

To complete a referral, use the link below to visit the Social Care Portal where you will be asked to complete the Westminster Multi Agency Referral Form (MARF). Please take time to read the important information below prior to submitting a referral.

Please note, the Social Care Portal is a new digital solution which has replaced our previous online MARF Portal, it is a shared site with the Royal Borough of Kensington. Any referrals to Westminster MARF will only be submitted to Westminster Children’s Services.

In the unlikely event that you experience any difficulties when trying to submit a referral, please get in touch with us directly by calling 0207 641 4000 or emailing us at [email protected].

Important information

Before beginning, please ensure that you have obtained agreement from the parent(s) to make a referral.

For security reasons, we advise against using a public computer to complete the form, as it may expose your personal details or those of the person you are referring.

The form may take up to 20 minutes to complete. Please be aware that if there is no activity on the form for more than 20 minutes, any progress will be lost and you will need to start the form again.

Some sections of the MARF are mandatory to complete, this is to ensure that we receive all the information we need for a referral to be processed.

After completion, make sure to click the 'Submit' button. You will then have an opportunity to save, print, and download a copy of the form. You will also be emailed a copy of the completed referral for your records. If you do not receive an email receipt, please check your junk mail.

To protect personal information, please click the 'Close' button and close the browser completely after you have finished.

If the referral is related to poor school attendance, you will be asked to attach a school attendance certificate in one of the following file formats: .doc, .docx, .pdf, .jpg, .png, .jpeg, .gif.

Fill in the Multi Agency Referral Form

When should I complete a MARF?

  • If you are worried about a behaviour, incident or information you have received
  • If you require more information to help you plan next steps to address an issue
  • If the child, young person or family needs cannot be met by a single agency
  • If a parent expresses concerns

Undertaking a MARF Assessment will help you to:

  • identify needs and explore any concerns
  • address emerging multiple needs
  • promote early help services where additional needs are identified
  • create packages of tailored support
  • coordinate support and involvement through a named Lead Professional
  • share information effectively and appropriately
  • reduce the number of times a family needs to tell their story

Published: 9 February 2021

Last updated: 22 April 2024