1. Leroy may be the victim of neglect as there is evidence that his parents are persistently failing to meet his basic physical and psychological needs and that this is likely to cause impairment to his health and development. HM Government (2006). Maccoby and Martin (1983) assert that a child may suffer neglect if that child’s needs form a low priority within the family unit. In addition to neglect, Leroy may well be the experiencing emotional abuse. Emotional abuse involves the “persistent maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent effect on their emotional development.” HM Government (2006:39). This may include conveying a feeling of worthlessness; being unloved; inappropriate expectations of a child’s ability or level of responsibility, which are out of kilter with that child’s age and stage and being witness to the maltreatment and abuse of others.
2. Leroy’s demeanor appears to have changed since his return to school from his summer break. For over half a term it has been noticed that Leroy is quieter than usual; he has lost interest in his schoolwork and playing with his friends at break time. When he is approached, by friends he reacts aggressively. It is noted that he is often tired and sometimes falls asleep during classes. Leroy’s cloths and his personal hygiene are of particular concern, when questioned about his personal hygiene Leroy states that, there is never any hot water in the house or anyone to watch him bathe. Leroy often forgets his lunch and has been seen taking food from classmate’s lunch boxes.
He complains of being hungry and not having any food at home. Leroy’s mother has rarely been seen since the start of the new term. In an unprompted visit Leroy’s mother came to the school to discuss her marital problems, which have been ongoing since the summer break. She explains that her and Leroy’s father have separated and that he has left the family home. She goes on to explain that since the separation she has been suffering from depression and has been prescribed anti-depressants by her GP and is finding it very difficult to cope with life in general. She admits to letting Leroy and his three siblings look after themselves, with little supervision. Leroy and his siblings have not had contact with their father since the separation.
3. I am mindful that Leroy’s mother has attended the school without request. I would be understanding and suggest that we discuss initially what the school could do to help. I would explain that I was concerned for Leroy’s wellbeing and felt that a further meeting should be arranged with her consent to discuss a plan going forward.
4. I would record my observations and conversations immediately and log my concern with the school’s Designated Safeguarding Person. The DSG would initiate a Common Assessment Framework meeting to insure Leroy and his siblings would get the additional support necessary.
5. Leroy’s mother would benefit from visiting her local Children’s Centre where she could access additional support from an out-reach worker. Advise Leroy’s mother to book an appointment with her GP to discuss her medication requirements. The school could provide school dinners and showering facilities in the short term. (536 words)
HM Government (2006), Working Together to Safeguard Children. London: HMSO
Maccoby, E. E., & Martin, J. A. (1983) Socialization in the context of the family: Parent-child interaction’. In Macleod-Brudenall, I and Kay, J. (2008). Advanced Early Years For Foundation Degrees and Levels 4/5. 2nd Edn, Harlow: Heinemann Publications.
Pettican, K. (1998). ‘Child protection, welfare and the law, Chapter 10 in Taylor J. and Wood, M. Early Childhood Studies. London: Arnold