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Working with children: Identifying and responding to vulnerable children

CPD Hours



All Modules
Law, ethics and professional responsibilities
Working with vulnerable people
Community and primary health care


Those working in healthcare are in a unique position to identify vulnerable children and young people and suspected child abuse and neglect. Nurses and midwives, as well as many others, are required to make a report when they reasonably suspect that a child has been the victim of abuse or neglect or if a child is at risk of harm.

For many children at risk, the only opportunity to identify and appropriately respond, is through their school or healthcare providers. There are 3 modules on working with children and young people.

This is the first in the series. The other two modules are: 'Vulnerable young people and the age of consent' and'Working with children: Mandatory reporting'. We recommend that these modules are done in order.

This module does not specifically discuss age of consent laws and mandatory reporting requirements. Two other modules go into these topics in detail.

‘Child’ can mean anyone aged up to 18 years. Throughout this module we refer to ‘child’ or 'young person' and both mean a person under the age of 18 years.

Learning Objective

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Understand the principles underpinning child protection.
  • Know the features of an environment that supports a child who is safe, healthy and able to reach their full potential as a person.
  • Understand the rights of all children and how healthcare workers support those rights.
  • Know what essential skills healthcare practitioners working with children must develop to identify vulnerable children.
  • Identify children who are vulnerable or at risk.
  • Appropriately assess children who are suspected of being at risk.
  • Respond appropriately to children who make disclosures of child abuse and neglect.
  • Respond appropriately when identifying a vulnerable a child or a child at risk.

Other modules to explore