Merton Council

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Advice for parents and carers - safeguarding children

Advice for parents and carers, helping children to stay safe.

Parents and child

What to do if you are worried about a child

For more information on child protection see:

Protecting children: what should I do if I am worried about a child?

The NSPCC offers helpful information for parents and carers on a range of issues, such as internet safety, protecting children at home and positive parenting tips. To view go to the NSPCC website.

Domestic Violence - the effect on children and young people

Domestic violence is a serious child protection issue. In 90% of cases, children were in the same or the next room, and in 50% of cases, children were directly abused. Witnessing domestic violence can have significant short and long term effects on children’s development, resulting for example in eating and sleeping disorders, and emotional and behavioural problems.

For more information on the effects of domestic violence and where to get information and advice see - Domestic violence - the effect on children and young people

Drug and alcohol misuse

This can have a very serious effect on the welfare of children and young people in the family.  There is a list of organisations  who can help in the Merton Family Services Directory

Staying Safe online - e-safety

e-safety is a term which means not only the internet but other ways in which young people communicate using electronic media, e.g. mobile phones. It means ensuring that children and young people are protected from harm and supported to achieve the maximum benefit from new and developing technologies without risk to themselves or others.

The aim of promoting e-safety is to protect young people from the adverse consequences of access or use of electronic media, including from bullying, inappropriate sexualised behaviour or exploitation.

For more information see the Staying Safe online - e-safety webpage

Understanding Your Teenager Handbook

The Understanding Your Teenager: A Guide for Parents handbook covers over 19 common issues affecting young people.  It helps parents understand the warning signs, what to do and say, steps to prevent problems occurring and where to get advice and more information.  .  For a copy contact the Merton Safeguarding Children Board on 020 8545 4866 or email

Safer Parenting Handbook

The Safe Parenting Handbook has been updated and reprinted and will be given to parents of new births and all children who start primary school in the Merton area. The handbook offers suggestions and provides information to help parents on a range of concerns about children.   It gives a list of warning signs about every-day and more complex difficulties and provides helpful tips and contact details for further information and support.  Download or view a copy of the Safer Parenting Handbook

Road Safety and safety in the home

Merton Council with its partners has an extensive programme of education, training, publicity, engineering and enforcement which aims to reduce road accidents.  For more information see the Merton Road Safety webpage

For information on child safety see the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Child Safety (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents website)

Each year the Merton SCB supports the national Child Safety Week in June organised by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT). This annual initiative is for anyone caring for or working with families or children and aims to raise awareness of the number of accidents that seriously injure or kill children and how to prevent them. For more information about child safety tips go to CAPT website

Private Fostering

Private fostering

If you are you looking after someone else’s child and it is for more than 28 days, you must notify us.  

Private fostering is an arrangement that is made privately - that is to say not involving the local authority. A private foster carer is someone other than a parent or close relative who will care for a child for a period of 28 days or more in agreement with the child’s parent. Private fostering only applies to a child or young person under the age of 16, or under 18, if disabled. Private foster carers may be from extended family – such as a cousin, great aunt, a friend or someone unknown to the child who is willing to privately foster.

The law requires that the local authority is notified of any existing or proposed private fostering arrangements. It is an offence not to do so, without reasonable cause. If you are a private foster carer or a parent and you are proposing to make a private foster arrangement you must tell us at least six weeks before the arrangement starts. If it is an emergency arrangement you must tell us immediately. If a child is already living in a private fostering arrangement you must notify us immediately.

For more information for the public, parents and private foster carers, go to the  Private fostering webpage

Child Employment

For information on the law regarding age restrictions, hours that children can work and the jobs they can and can't do, go to the Merton Council's webpage on child employment.

Contact us

Merton SCB Administrators
Children, Schools and Families Department
Civic Centre
London Road
Tel: 020 8545 4866

This page was last updated on Thursday 29 October 2015

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