All children have the right to live in a safe and secure environment, and be free from fear of cruelty and abuse.

Children are best brought up by their own parents and Children's Services will work in partnership with families and other agencies to make sure that the necessary support is available to ensure that this happens.

However, in some situations, this may not be enough to ensure that children are safe and the council then has a duty to intervene to protect and safeguard the welfare of the child.

This may involve agreeing with parents that the council accommodates the child, or in more serious cases the council might apply to a court to begin the process of care proceedings which would grant the power to take decisions in the best interests of the child, including where necessary the power to remove the child to foster care or another safe place.

If you are worried about a child, please visit the Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board's website or use the forms in the 'External links' below.