The terms ‘non-engagement’ and ‘non-compliance’ are used to describe a range of deliberate behaviour and attitudes, such as:
- failure to enable necessary contact (for example missing appointments) or refusing to allow access to the child or to the home;
- active non-compliance with the actions set out in the Child’s Plan (or Child Protection Plan);
- disguised non-compliance, where the parent/carer appears to co-operate without actually carrying out actions or enabling them to be effective; and
- threats of violence or other intimidation towards practitioners.
When considering non-engagement, practitioners should check that the child protection concerns and necessary actions have been explained clearly, taking into account issues of language, culture and disability, so that parents or carers fully understand the concerns and the impact on themselves and their child. If there are risk factors associated with the care of children, risk is likely to be increased where any of the responsible adults with caring responsibilities fail to engage or comply with child protection services. Non-engagement and noncompliance, including disguised compliance, should be taken account of in information collection and assessment. Non-engagement and non-compliance may point to a need for compulsory or emergency measures. In what will often be challenging situations, staff may need access to additional or specialist advice to inform their assessments and plans.
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