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6.7 Children whose Behaviour Indicates a Lack of Parental Control

When children are brought to the attention of the police or the wider community because of their behaviour, this may be an indication of vulnerability, poor supervision or neglect in its wider sense. It is important that consideration is given as to whether these are Children in Need and are offered assistance and services that reflects their needs. This should be done on a multi-agency basis.

If parental engagement cannot be secured on a voluntary basis, a range of powers should be used to engage families to improve the child's behaviour.

The Child Safety Order (CSO) is a compulsory intervention available below the threshold of the child being at risk of Significant Harm. A local authority can apply for a CSO where a child has committed an act which would have been an offence if he were aged 10 or above, where it is necessary to prevent such an act, or where the child has caused harassment, distress or harm to others (i.e. behaved anti-socially). It is designed to help the child improve his or her behaviour and should be used alongside work with the family and others to address any underlying problems.

A Parenting Order can be made alongside a CSO or when a CSO is breached. This provides an effective means of engaging with and supporting parents whilst helping them develop their ability to undertake their parental responsibilities.

It is vitally important that the parent's needs are also looked at very closely and that any support mechanisms that can assist the parents in refocusing their priorities are introduced alongside any voluntary or compulsory intervention identified for the child or children.