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Specialist Support - Level 4

Children who are considered to have been harmed or are likely to suffer significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect/ removal from home/or will suffer serious lasting impairment without the intervention of local authority statutory services under high level concern Child in Need (CIN) or high-risk Child Protection (CP) Services and Specialist Youth Justice work. Children whose disability affects all aspects of development.

Below are examples of the indicators that suggest a child would be in level 4.

Children and Young People

  • Non-organic failure to thrive
  • Sexually inappropriate behaviour
  • Sexually aggressive behaviour
  • Teenage parent/pregnancy under age of 13 years old
  • Sexually transmitted infection in a child under 13 years old
  • Physical or sexual abuse including child sexual assault
  • Frequently missing from home
  • Offending and in the Youth Justice System
  • Relationship breakdown or homelessness
  • Persistent social exclusion
  • Child or young person presenting with several indicators from all categories with one or more high-risk indicators from the Child Sexual Exploitation Tool Kit (PDF, 563.6 KB)
  • Child at immediate risk of significant harm arising from radicalisation, travel to conflict zones, or involvement in terrorist activity
  • Gang member or involvement in drug crime - read more about gangs
  • Child beyond parental control and placing self at risk of significant harm
  • Caring for severely or profoundly disabled child has a significant impact on parent/carers ability to meet the child’s needs

Parents and Carers

Indicators relating to the parents or carers of the child that would suggest they need specialist support - level 4.

  • Parent or carer refusing medical care endangering life or development
  • Child left in care of adult known or suspected to be a risk to children or lives in the same house as the child
  • Child is left home alone without adequate supervision or support
  • Parents unable to restrict access to home by adults known to be a risk to children and other adults
  • Parents own needs mean they cannot keep their child or young person safe
  • Pre-birth assessment indicates unborn child is at risk of significant harm
  • Parents have or may have abused or neglected the child or young person
  • Parent or carer has mental health issues, including self-harming behaviour, that present a risk of significant harm to the child
  • Parent or carer’s domestic abuse and/or substance misuse that presents a risk of significant harm to the child
  • Previous child or young person has been removed from parents’ care
  • Deliberate cruelty or emotional ill-treatment of a child resulting in significant harm
  • Concern that a child is suffering or likely to suffer harm as a result of fabricated or induced illness
  • Parent, carer or relative is a convicted terrorist, or is subject to counter terrorist police (pursue) investigation, or is a returning fighter from the Middle East - read more about Prevent and Channel, the strategies to help stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

Family and Environment

  • Abandonment or severe neglect
  • Emotional abuse including significant harm due to domestic abuse
  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Human trafficking
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • Forced marriage or honour based violence
  • Significant concern about radicalisation

Support and Next Steps

To support a child or family at level 4:

  • Check your concern meets this support level.
  • If this is a child protection:
    • Contact the police straight away if your concern is urgent or the child in immediate danger.
    • Next, contact the front door to make a child protection referral. You will be required to complete a request for support form within 24 hours.
    • If you are unsure discuss your concerns with your agency safeguarding lead.
    • Do not delay, complete a Request for Support Form.
  • If this is a Child in Need (CIN) issue:
    • Complete a request for support form
    • If you are unsure, check if you have you identified any issues listed under this support level that are impacting upon the child or family. If there are, complete a Request for Support Form.
  • Check if you have consent, it is good practice to share your concerns and gain agreement. However, do not delay completing the form.
  • The next step is to complete a request for support form.

Request for Support Form

You only need to complete a request for support form if you are requesting support at intensive or specialist support levels 3 or 4.

Take care when completing the online request for support form, because the information you provide will be used to assess which is the most appropriate level
of support required. If it is not assessed to require support at level 3 or 4, the form will be returned to you so you can consider universal support level 1 or additional support level 2 options.

Each child whose request for Support has been accepted by Children's Social Work Services should have their individual needs assessed - read about a child and family assessment and what it consists of.

Form and Guidance

Single Request for Support Form

Please complete the above form to request support and upload via

Single Request for Support Form Guidance