Incapacitated parent

Safeguarding children, young people, and vulnerable adults’ procedures 

Incapacitated refers to a condition which renders a parent unable to take responsibility for their child; this could be at the time of collecting their child from the setting or on arrival. Concerns may include: 

  • appearing drunk 
  • appearing under the influence of drugs  
  • demonstrating angry and threatening behaviour to the child, members of staff or others 
  • appearing erratic or manic 


  • If a member of staff is concerned that a parent displays any of the above characteristics, they inform the designated person as soon as possible. 
  • The designated person assesses the risk and decides if further intervention is required. 
  • If it is decided that no further action is required, a record of the incident is made. 
  • If intervention is required, the designated person speaks to the parent in an appropriate, confidential manner. 
  • The designated person will, in agreement with the parent, use emergency contacts listed for the child to ask an alternative adult to collect the child.  
  • The emergency contact is informed of the situation by the designated person and of the setting’s requirement to inform social care of their contact details. 
  • The designated officer is informed of the situation as soon as possible and provides advice and assistance as appropriate. 
  • If there is no one suitable to collect the child social care are informed. 
  • If violence is threatened towards anybody, the police are called immediately. 
  • If the parent takes the child from the setting while incapacitated the police are called immediately and a referral is made to social care. 


  • The designated person completes Safeguarding incident reporting form.  
  • Further updates/notes/conversations/ telephone calls are recorded. 

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