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Making a referral

Please do not send a referral without first discussing the referral with the Integrated Access and Referral Team (i-ART). 

Where to find help

Integrated access and referral team

Emergency duty team (for out of hours emergencies)

Please do not use email to send referrals to the Emergency Duty Team.  Ensure that any emails sent to this address do not contain any personal information about specific children or young people, as this is not an encrypted email address.

If you wish to use email, then please note the following points.  The Children and Young People's Service has implemented CJSM secure email.  The CJSM secure email address can also be used as a safe and secure method to send completed referral forms to the team.  If you are not using secure email, then no personal information about specific children or young people should be contained in any email sent to us.

Local children's social care offices

Alternatively, you can visit one of our three office locations and speak with a Duty Social Worker.

  • Chester: Nicholas House, 1 Black Friars, Chester, CH1 2NU 
  • Ellesmere Port and Neston: 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BE
  • Vale Royal: Wyvern House, The Drumber, Winsford, CW7 1AU

What happens next

  • Online referrals are checked throughout the day on weekdays and we aim to assess each referral within 24 hours - emergency referrals should be telephoned through to the local office between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm Friday, and the Emergency Duty Team out of office hours.
  • The Integrated Access and Referral Team will decide whether to make a referral to a specialist team, redirect the referral to another agency or organisation, send out information or deal with the query on the spot.
  • Paper copies of online referrals will be made and may become part of the confidential written records relating to individual clients of the department. Individuals have a right, under the Data Protection Act 1998 to view the records which are held about them. It is exceptional that information is withheld from a client and this should be borne in mind when making an online referral.
  • Online referrals will only be acknowledged where the referrer is the person concerned, the carer or a professional such as a GP, teacher or nurse etc.
  • Referrals which are accepted by the department will be responded to within the Council's Guidelines depending on the priority.

Information for professionals

For professionals making a referral online referral form, the following guidance must be observed.

  • As many fields as possible should be completed and some fields must be completed in order for the referral to proceed.
  • The name, address and contact details of the person making the referral must be included. Anonymous referrals will not be accepted via the online form, as more information may be needed or details clarified by the receiving worker.
  • It is good practice to inform the family of a referral being made to children's social care. However there are some exceptions to this, please contact i-ART for advice if you are unsure. If the referral is not a safeguarding referral then consent must be sought.
  • The on-line system should not be used where there are concerns about the safety of a child. Any concern of this nature should be telephoned to the appropriate Integrated Access and Referral Team, or, out of hours, to the Emergency Duty Team, without delay.

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