Maternity/unborn baby alerts received from Safeguarding Services

Safeguarding pic

The maternity/unborn baby safeguarding alerts process is to ensure the health system can raise concerns about individuals/families.

We can act on information received from the health system or other agencies e.g. police or social care, in identifying those children or adults about whom there is an identified risk and take appropriate safeguarding action.

Alerts relating to the unborn baby

National alerts are issued regularly on children (including unborn babies) subject to a Child Protection Plan or are the subjects of formal inter-agency Child Protection Plans and who go missing from their local authority area.

The criteria for a maternity alert/unborn baby alert are:

  • pregnant women who go missing
  • pregnant women who staff believe will seek to evade child protection processes
  • pregnant women who have not accessed antenatal care and remain ‘unbooked’
  • either parent poses a severe risk to staff or others
  • serious medical concerns/treatment needed at birth for mother and/or baby.

Al patient-facing staff should remain vigilant to the possibility of the existence of a maternity/unborn baby alert and it should be part of any consideration when staff have been called to attend a delivery/maternity emergency and there are suspicions raised:

  • as to whether the mother is ‘booked’, or
  • where they fail to produce their notes without plausible reasoning as to why, or
  • or where they are refusing to be transported to hospital and are unknown to local maternity services, or
  • where you are called to a woman in pregnancy, where any of the above criteria are suspected or concealment of pregnancy is suspected.

There is a duty of care to the baby and the mother, and neither of these should be compromised. If you have safeguarding concerns in relation to the mother/baby they should be transported to hospital where you can express your concerns and full inter-agency checks can be made.

There have been a number of unborn alerts received by the Safeguarding Team recently from around the UK.  Should any member of staff have any concerns regarding a mother and baby at delivery or during pregnancy, contact EOC immediately to discuss the detail of the incident and advise further action if any maternity/unborn baby alert is active.  Further safeguarding advice can be provided through CAL if required.

If you are prevented from transporting the mother and baby to hospital for assessment, or where you may be faced with aggression/violence, contact the police immediately for further assistance.

A safeguarding referral should be made via the Trust’s SPOC referral pathway if you have any safeguarding concerns regarding a mother and either their unborn baby or new born baby at the earliest opportunity.

Published 5th October 2018

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