You have been working with Saryah (age 5), Damon (age 2) and Jack (7 months) following a referral from Saryah’s school. The children live with their mother Farah and her partner Jarrod. Saryah’s father left when she was 2 years old and has had no contact with her or her mother since leaving the family. Damon and Jack are Farah and Jarrod’s children. The initial referral was raised by the safeguarding lead (SL) for Saryah’s school. The SL raised an alert as Saryah had been losing weight over a period of several months, and appeared to be significantly underweight for her age. The referral states that when she arrives at school in the morning, Saryah has been looking through cupboards and asking for food. According to the school Saryah has also made several comments to teachers about not having eaten breakfast or dinner, and has made comments about her food at home by saying that she gets “tasty porridge” when she is good, and “dirty porridge” when she has been naughty. The school report that they have attempted to engage Saryah’s family about her weight, but when the school called a meeting her mother pulled Saryah out saying that she would now be home schooled.
You have also been in contact with Janette, Jack’s health visitor, who has advised you that she has been concerned about Jack’s development, particularly his weight. Janette advises you that Farah missed the last follow up appointment arranged with the clinic to monitor Jack’s weight. You attempted to visit the family 2 days ago, but were refused entry to the home. Saryah’s step father came to the door with a large pitbull type dog who was barking loudly, and has told you to go away and leave his family alone. You were unable to gain entry to the home, and were unable to see the children.
You have come in this morning to an alert from the police. They attended the home last night after a neighbour had called 999. Jarrod has been arrested for alleged assault against Farah after police attended the home and found Farah running from the home with Jarrod chasing her up the street. Farah appeared to have some bruising on her face. The police report the home is squalid with dog faeces throughout and that there are concerns for the welfare of the children. When police entered the home, they saw Saryah out in the garden in bare feet in just her nightgown, it was 3am and it was 5 degree Celsius. When asked why the child was outside, Jarrod reported that she was a “naughty little bitch who needs to learn her place”. The police have advised that they will be releasing Jarrod in a few hours. Farah has insisted that nothing has happened, and is refusing to give any evidence against Jarrod. She has advised the police that she wants Jarrod to come home. As Farah has declined to give evidence, the CPS are not pursuing charges.
Write a report (2000 words) to advise the local authority as to what options are available in order to safeguard the children, and what course of action you would recommend is taken and why.