Last updated:
27 June 2017

How to get children's social care help

Find out how to contact us if you have concerns about the welfare of a child or young person.

1 Contact us

Use the contact details below if you have a general enquiry about children’s social care. 

  • Use our online enquiry form
  • Email: mash@westsussex.gcsx.gov.uk - please include your address and phone number
  • Phone: 01403 229900
  • If you would prefer to write to us, our address is:
    Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, 4th Floor, County Hall North (Parkside), Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XH

If you have any special communication or access needs please contact our sensory teams. We can then discuss your situation with you in the most suitable way.

Find out how to report that you think a child is at risk of abuse or neglect.

2 Emergencies

We provide emergency cover outside normal office hours of 8.00am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday, covering evenings and overnight, weekends and bank holidays.

If your call is urgent and cannot wait until the normal office hours then please ring our emergency duty team number: 

  • Phone: 033 022 26664

3 How we decide who gets support

We use an eligibility criteria to help us make sure that children in need or at risk receive the greatest help quickly.

Children at risk

A child is considered to be at risk when he or she:

  • has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm and there is serious concern for their safety
  • has complex or high-level needs that need reviewing urgently with others who could help, for example, the health service.

In this case, we will speak to you within 24 hours. If we think that a child is, or could be, at risk of harm, we will also make sure the child is safe.

If you are worried that a child is being harmed, please let us know. If you are concerned about a child's immediate safety or a child has been badly hurt, please call the police or ambulance emergency services on 999. You can let us know more details afterwards.

Children in need

A child is considered to be in need when he or she:

  • is unlikely to reach or maintain a reasonable standard of health and development without service being provided
  • their health or development is likely to be significantly impaired or further impaired without the provision of services
  • is disabled.

In this case, we will complete an assessment within 10 working days.  

Vulnerable children

A child is considered to be vulnerable when he or she is disadvantaged and would benefit from extra help to improve his or her life chances, for example, where there are emotional or behavioural difficulties or health problems.

In this case, a team of people from our children's services, and other organisations such as the NHS, will provide advice and support.

Children with universal needs

A child is considered to have universal needs when he or she has health or educational needs which can be met in the community. In this case, we will offer advice and information or suggest other services that can help.

4 What happens after you contact us

When you contact us you will speak to a qualified social worker. They will take full details of the child and your concerns and will either:

  • provide advice and information
  • direct you to an appropriate team or organisation
  • make a formal referral to the social care team.

We deal with enquiries consistently and quickly, no matter who raises the concern or when they make it.

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  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.