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2.2.7 Intervention

AMENDMENT

In October 2017 this chapter was entirely revised and updated and should be re-read in full.


Contents

  1. Interventions Offered by Childrens Social Care Services
  2. Consent to See a Child
  3. Threshold and Resources Panel (including Section 20 and Section 31)
  4. Direct Work with Children and Young People
  5. Cambridgeshire Sexual Behaviour Service
  6. MST (Multi-Systemic Therapy)
  7. Disabled Children - Early Help
  8. Disabled Children, Personal Budgets and Direct Payments
  9. Financial Support to Families Under Section 17
  10. Family Group Facilitators
  11. Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)


1. Interventions Offered by Childrens Social Care Services

Depending on the needs of children, young people and their families, there are different services and units that they may come into contact with.

Depending on the needs of children, young people and their families, there are different services that they may come into contact with. These may include the following: 

The Integrated Front Door (IFD) is the single point of entry for all notifications regarding safeguarding and request for Early Help services. The Integrated Front Door consists of the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub and the Early Help Hub.

Early Help may be provided from universal services by providing advice and information or support to a family. Early Help may also be provided by targeted services and be delivered through a more structured and planned approach in response to the family’s needs – for Cambridgeshire County Council this is through our District Early Help Teams.

If a family requires a social work intervention there are District Safeguarding Teams made up of social work units lead by a Consultant Social Worker. In each unit there is a Senior Social Worker, two further Social Workers, a Unit Coordinator and a half time Clinician working together in a systemic way with children, young people, and families to support them to thrive and prosper in Cambridgeshire. These units manage new referrals to the service, conduct social work assessments, undertake child protection enquiries, and provide short and long term interventions for children and young people who are subject to Child In Need or Child Protection Plans.

There are also teams who support children with disabilities and older children who are Looked After or Care Leavers.


2. Consent to See a Child

As part of the referral process Children's Social Care will firstly assess the child to see if the child is in need (Section 17, Children Act 1989) of a service and or is in need of protection (Section 47, Children Act 1989)

  • Information must be collected from agencies who know the child for these decisions to be made and consent is not required for this activity. These are statutory requirements under the Children Act and thus covered by the Data Protection Act 1998, Schedules 2 and 3;
  • Consent is needed for a service to be offered. So where a child is clearly a “child in need” of a service then the first action for Children's Social Care must be to obtain consent from an individual with parental responsibility unless of course it has been obtained earlier in the process;
  • When a child is assessed as in need of protection then consent to share information between agencies and see the child remains desirable but is not essential. The safety of the child is paramount;
  • Whilst written consent is preferable as there can be no dispute at a later date as to whether or not consent was given this is not always available especially at the very beginning of CSC involvement;
  • It is essential that whether consent is written or verbal it must be informed. Informed consent means that the person giving consent needs to understand why information needs to be shared, who will see their information, the purpose to which it will be put and the implications of sharing that information.


3. Threshold and Resources Panel (including Section 20 and Section 31)

Threshold and Resources Panel considering requests for accommodation under Section 20, Care Proceedings (including retrospective applications), Creative Care Solutions, and escalation of resources.


4. Direct Work with Children and Young People

All children and young people should be seen and spoken to regularly by their Social Worker. (For more information see Planning and Review Procedure).

All workers should 'equip' themselves with techniques, tools/toys and activities that they feel comfortable with using when they are working with children and young people. For basic principles regarding communicating with children please see the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families para 3.41-5.45 (Department of Health).


5. Cambridgeshire Sexual Behaviour Service

Cambridgeshire Sexual Behaviour Service (CSBS) is based within Early Years and Preventative Services. CSBS work with children and young people exhibiting problematic or harmful sexual behaviours (HSB) that are causing concern, and falls outside behaviour considered developmentally appropriate for a child or young person of that age.

The Working Together Guidance 2015 describes this as behaviour that: ‘involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening’.

CSBS provides assessments, advice and short term interventions for children and young people, using the AIM and AIM2 (assessment, intervention, moving on) model. The model is theoretically and research informed using trained assessors from a wide variety of services to assist early stage assessments in three areas: Under 12's; AIM2, (adolescents); and Family and Carers.

The service works closely with a number of partner agencies to provide the best outcomes for young people whose HSB causes concern. Restorative approaches are used in appropriate cases ensuring the voice of the victim is taken into account. This helps inform the case hypothesis, assessment and intervention planning. Cambridgeshire Youth Offending Service partners CSBS in this process to ensure best practice standards are adhered to.

Victims of sexual abuse who are considered to be perpetrating HSB will (where appropriate) be offered short term restorative interventions. This will be tailored to meet their needs as a victim first and foremost within the intervention package. Some young people may require more intensive therapeutic interventions and where identified this will be highlighted to partner colleagues.

Not all referrals receive a full AIM assessment and report. On occasions the service will use the assessment template to provide a supervision outcome for the child/young person and a summary of the assessment with recommendations. This enables the service to work proactively with young people whose referral behaviour is deemed to be 'problematic'.

Problematic behaviour is defined as:

  1. Lower level behaviours, for example sexual language; some one-off actions;
  2. Some serious behaviours which may be self-directed e.g. persistent masturbation or focus on masturbatory activities;
  3. Behaviours directed at others such as touching other children, but where there are balancing factors like lack of intent to cause harm; or the level of understanding of the child/young person about the behaviours in which they are engaging; or there is acceptance of responsibility for the behaviour and some remorse shown.

Also see The Aim Project website.

The Service offers a number of other options including advice and support to parents, carers and professionals. We also provide short term work designed to educate and inform children and young people about the behaviour that is causing concern. This can take place in school or the family/carers home and is planned individually and takes into account the particular needs of a child. This will be discussed with either parents or carers and the referrer as not all children will require the service. It may be more appropriate for CSBS to support a professional to deliver interventions as part of an already established relationship and this can be discussed at referral stage.

CSBS also provide short targeted workshops in schools to address on-line HSB using new technologies.

A child or young person may be referred via the Criminal Justice route, Social Care, Education, Police, District Early Help Team or Child and Adolescent Mental Health. If there are concerns regarding a child or young person's HSB a referral using a Early Help Assessment (EHA) should be made to the Sexual Behaviour Service Manager via the Contact Centre.

CSBS are the referral route to MST PSB - Multi-Systemic Therapy Problematic Sexual Behaviour in Youth.

As part of the partnership protocol with Cambridgeshire LSCB the service delivers training in the area of sexually harmful behaviour to interested parties and maintains a database of young people who are considered to be at risk of online sexual exploitation.

CSBS also provide individual case consultation to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.


7. MST (Multi-Systemic Therapy)

The MST (Multi-Systemic Therapy) Service consists of 2 teams, MST-Standard and MST-PSB (problem sexual behaviour). It provides intensive community and home based therapeutic interventions for different client groups.

Families referred to MST are seen by their dedicated worker in the family home at least 3 times a week and have access to a 24/7 on call system.

All the teams have their own dedicated supervisor who is a Clinical Psychologist. The MST workers are from a variety of backgrounds, these include Clinical Psychologists, Family Therapists, Social Workers and Mental Health Nurses. The team is overseen by the Programme Director who is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist.

MST has a strong quality assurance system with an intensive supervision and consultation process. There is also ongoing clinical training and professional development for all staff.

MST-SA

The MST team use the MST Standard model to work with young people aged 11-17 who exhibit severe anti-social behaviour at home and/or in the community including offending behaviour, physical and verbal aggression, mixing with anti-social peers and truanting from school. The intervention aims to prevent adolescents going into care or custody. Referred families normally work with the team for approximately 5 months.

MST-PSB

MST-PSB is an intensive family-based intervention designed to treat young people aged 10 - 17 years old who are displaying severe problem sexual behaviour. MST-PSB is an adaptation of the standard model that works with the whole family to address the drivers of the problem sexual behaviour and works on a clarification process. Referred families normally work with the team between 5-7 months.

The MST-PSB team works in partnership across 4 local authorities including Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedford Borough Council.


8. Disabled Children - Early Help

The Disabled Children’s Early Help Team deliver CCC Short Break Local Offer which is available to disabled children/young people where it is likely that they will require life-long statutory support from Social Care. The Short Break offer is automatically available to those young people in receipt of high rate care component DLA or enhanced personal independent payment daily living.

Alternative ways to receive access to the Social Care Short Break Offer is through a Social Work assessment.

The Short Break Offer is a personal budget of up to £2000. The budget can be received via a direct payment and or Social Care commissioned or owned service.

A practitioner from the Disabled Children’s Early Help Team visits the family and a personalised support plan is put together. The budget can only be spent on what is agreed within the plan.

The money should be used to enable disabled children and young people to access their community through inclusive activities. If this is not appropriate services within the Self Directed Support Guide can be used to access specialist support services for example holiday clubs and Saturday clubs.

If a disabled child with high level DLA/PIP (care component) is likely to require more support per year then this will be based upon an assessment by Social Workers.

See Short Breaks for Disabled Children Procedure.


9. Disabled Children, Personal Budgets and Direct Payments

Personalised Budget and Direct Payments enable disabled children and their families' choice and control to design a flexible package of care to achieve agreed outcomes. A personal budget is an amount of money that we believe will meet the social care needs of the child/young person. It can be a Direct Payment (cash) or services. Direct Payment gives you more flexibility and choice to arrange and purchase services to meet your child's needs.

Cambridgeshire County Council has a duty to offer direct payments as an alternative to receiving a commissioned service owned or arranged by us, such as Community Support Services.

Direct payments are payable to parents/carers who have parental responsibility on behalf of their disabled child or directly to a disabled young person aged over 16 subject to capacity (with the support of an advocate) if they:

  • Have been assessed by Social Care as being eligible for Social Care Services;
  • Are deemed eligible to receive Social Care Services and or equipment through access to the Social Care Short Breaks; Offer
  • And they want to receive Direct Payments instead of having services and or equipment arranged and purchased for them.

The County Council has to be satisfied that the Direct Payment will safeguard and promote the welfare of the child. This will be evidenced and reviewed regularly via the agreed Plan.

See Cambridgeshire County Council website, Personal budgets and Direct Payment.


10. Financial Support to Families Under Section 17

Every Lifelong Unit has a budget that they can use for families that are being supported under Section 17 of Children Act 1989. Any proposed expenditure must be approved by Consultant Social Worker and all financial packages must be reviewed at least on a monthly basis.

TARP has to be approached for agreement for children to become looked after, comment legal proceedings (not including the PLO) or when previously agreed package of care for a looked after child has to be increased (for example a child is moving from foster care to residential care or need more expensive package of care).

To provide Section 17 payment to the following groups of potentially eligible people:

  • Families who have no recourse to public funds and where the assessment has determined the need for short-term support and assistance. Income support levels apply but usually only to cover the equivalent of benefits for the children and not for the adults. However such families must be assisted to towards financial independence in a timely and cost effective manner;
  • Children who have been abandoned by their main carer and a relative or friend needs short term assistance to provide for the child's needs. The amount paid per child would normally be the equivalent of the child benefit/income support level although support might be given to help with one off costs in addition to this;
  • Young people aged 16/17 who have fled a family situation where they are assessed as being at risk and where the provision of Section 17 payments is essential in the short term to assist the befriending family and/or to prevent accommodation. The same level of support is provided i.e. equivalent of income support for the child;
  • Children who are being cared for by family or friends, where it has been assessed that without financial support the family/friends would not be able to care for the children. This arrangement must be time limited, and consideration of application for a financial assistance referral may be needed. This arrangement must be agreed with parents and if child(ren) with friends and not family and it exceeds 28 days this constitutes a private fostering arrangement. If workers facilitate the placement of children within their wider family or with friends the Kinship Team needs to be consulted as to the appropriate level of financial support. The Kinship Team needs to be notified of all private fostering arrangements;
  • Mothers who have fled domestic violence and temporarily have no means of providing for their children's basic needs (e.g. not staying in refuge) income support rates for the children apply;
  • Emergency situations creating a health and safety risk for the child (e.g. no electric and use of candles/no stair gate). Consultant Social Workers will decide on the appropriate level of support under these circumstances and will account for their decisions to their line manager;
  • Families who have not received expected benefit payments and have no food/nappies for their children. Before assistance is given, checks must be made with benefits agency - generally assistance should be in the form of food, nappies/vouchers and not cash;
  • Families where the child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm because the family are unable to provide them with essential items (e.g. bedding, shoes, coat, bed, mattress). Before assistance is given charitable/state grants must be pursued;
  • "Intentionally homeless" - Families who are homeless as a result of eviction or who are likely to be made homeless must be discussed with the relevant District Safeguarding Manager. Under no circumstance must units pay for accommodation without their agreement;
  • Reasonable expenses to relocate alleged perpetrators while assessment is undertaken to be agreed by the District Safeguarding Manager depending on the expected cost. (See spending limits above);
  • Transport provided in relation to attending Social Care services meetings and other resources agreed in Child in Need plan by Social Care Units/Teams, where without funding for transport the child/parent/carer would not be able to attend and this would impact adversely on the aims and objectives of the plan. Generally funding would be made available only for public transport unless for reasons related to health and safety this was not possible;
  • Transport - 'One off requests' for bus fare/rail travel may be made where it is assessed to be in the child's best interest e.g. the parent does not have the funds to take child to health appointment;
  • Where Section 17 payments are regularly paid out e.g. child minding/after school clubs and where holiday activities are funded. These should be detailed in a Child in Need plan and these must be reviewed on a regular basis (minimum 3 monthly) as part of a Child in Need Review Meeting. Schools receive additional funding for after school clubs to assist socially excluded children. They should be asked whether they can fund such placements before consideration is given to this coming from the Service budget;
  • Where possible VAT receipts should be obtained;
  • The above amounts should be increased annually by the rate of inflation in line with increases in benefits system amounts;
  • One-off payments - This must be authorised by Line Manager / Budget Holder to confirm that the payment agreed is within budget and lawful;
  • Business Support/Unit Coordinators on receipt will process the payment from the Imprest account ensuring cheque payments are made wherever possible;
  • All expenditure to be recorded on the Unit/Team Imprest spreadsheet and Unit/Team commitment record;
  • Ongoing payments - This must be authorised by Line Manager / Budget Holder to confirm that the payment agreed is within budget and lawful. Ensuring reason for payment is recorded on the form along with a start date and review date;
  • Business Support/Unit Coordinators on receipt will process the payment via pro forma invoice through the invoicing system;
  • Funding forms to be reviewed at least monthly.

For all expenditure Business Support/Unit Coordinators to ensure that payments are in line with current Income Support rate.


11. Family Network Facilitators

See Lifelong units are now supported by Family Network Facilitators who have a role of providing timely advice, sharing expert skills and knowledge, assisting in the identification of wider family members and embedding systemic processes and practice within the Children Service’s units to ensure that families are assisted to produce robust and sustainable safety or family plans that will meet the needs of their children and young people.

This means that they provide expert advice in respect to engaging wider family members and children and young people in identifying solutions from within their family, whether through systemic family meetings or during the assessment or planning stages of intervention, in order to deliver a consistent, high quality service. This activity is an inherent part of unit working and compliments unit social work and clinical work. They assist Social Work units to manage difficult and challenging conversations with families, ensuring that they achieve sustainable and realistic solutions that families can activate when in need of support or help.

They provide practice and specialist support, advice and learning to front line staff and managers, assisting in the co-ordination of practice development with a focus on family work in line with systemic family working across the County Council.

They ensure operational staff are provided with opportunities for learning and development encouraging a learning culture at all times.


12. Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

Within Cambridgeshire the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) unit sits within SASU (Safeguarding and Standards Unit). The LADO Unit consists of a Group Manager LADO, a LADO and a full time LADO Business Support Officer. LADO manage all allegations against adults in a position of trust.

Direct contact can be made to the LADO unit by calling: 01223 727 967, 01223 727 968 or 01223 727 969.

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