Information from people who know the child or family well
The council investigator describes the situation and problems of the child and the family. The investigator also considers what can be done about the problems. During an investigation, the council investigator often asks for information about the situation from people who know the child or family well.
The people who know the child well and who provide information for the council investigation are called sources. A source can be a family member for example or someone who is involved with the child or family at work, such as a teacher or the GP.
The council investigator tells the parents in advance who he is going to talk to. The parents must give permission for this. Sometimes he also talks to people if the parents have not given permission. The Guardianship Council CN may legally do this if it is in the child’s best interests. He also explains this to the parents and tells the source. The council investigator decides which sources to speak to. The parents can propose a source, but the council investigator is not obliged to speak to this source.
The contact with the source
The council investigator explains why he wants information from the source. The council investigator can often not say very much about the investigation in order to protect the privacy of the child and parents. This also applies if the source is involved with the child or family at his work. The source himself decides whether he wants to cooperate with the council investigation. Nobody is obliged to provide information.
Information from the source
The council investigator asks what the source knows about the child’s home situation. For example, he can ask questions about the health of the child, his behaviour or his performance at school.
The council report follows after the council investigation. In the report the council investigator writes about the situation of the family, how the investigation was conducted and what he heard and saw. The information from the source is also included in the council report, after approval of the text by the source.
The council investigator can communicate the outcome of the investigation to a source who is involved with the child or the family from his work. The council investigator will only do this if it is in the child’s best interests.
The Guardianship Council does not pay for information
Sources sometimes ask for payment for providing their information about children/parents. However, the Guardianship Council CN does not pay for information needed to properly assess the protection and development of children. This applies to any involvement of the Guardianship Council CN. There are a number of reasons for this.
The Guardianship Council wants to prevent doubts arising about the independence, reliability and integrity of the council employees and the organisation because of the payment for information. The Guardianship Council also addresses professional sources about their legal, collective responsibility for the safety and development of children. This duty of care, which may include providing information to the Guardianship Council, among other things, is a regular part of the work of professional groups.
In addition, the Guardianship Council wants to guard against legal inequality. A situation in which one source is paid and another is not is not advisable. That would mean legal inequality for sources, but also for children/parents. It cannot be justified why information about a certain child or parent should be paid for but not for others.
Incidentally, the decision to provide information to the Guardianship Council is the source’s. Each source will always consider whether the sharing of information is necessary and appropriate, based on the council employee’s questions. The practitioner is free not to share information in the context of his professional responsibility. Accountability for this (if desired) is given within the own professional group.