A guide to our services. Children, Schools and Families

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1 A guide to our services Children, Schools and Families

2 Children, Schools and Families The purpose of this leaflet is to describe briefly what services are available for children, young people and their families, and who to contact for further details and, if necessary, help. Whatever your age, you can contact us directly; you do not have to be an adult. Social Care provides a wide range of services to the community and we have a particular responsibility for children in Cornwall, some of whom need our help and protection. Who can get help? Many families have problems at times, perhaps because of unemployment, serious illness, or difficulties with relationships. Usually these problems are sorted out by families themselves, or with the help of relatives or friends. Health services and voluntary organisations can provide services for children and families. If you feel you need this type of support, your family doctor could initially be the best person to advise you, or to refer you to the appropriate professional or agency. Services for Children, Young People and Families also have a range of Family Services that give you local support. You can get more information from the Family Information Service about this. Sometimes families and children can need particular help. For example, children and young people may be neglected or harmed, or young people can get into trouble with the police. Social Care works together with everyone concerned to help deal with these special situations. 2

3 How can I get help? Please contact your local Social Care office if you:- feel that any of the services described in this leaflet would benefit you or any member of your family. would like further advice or information about any of our services. The details of your local Social Care office are listed at the back of this booklet. If you telephone a Social Care office (see page 10), or visit in person, you will be assisted initially by one of our reception workers. You will be asked for brief details about your concerns; we will then ensure that your enquiry is passed to the specialist who is best able to help you. If you call into one of our offices, you can talk to us in a private interviewing room. What support is there for families needing extra help? Children with special needs If your child has a physical or learning disability, or has a sight or hearing loss, please see the CSF Guide to Services in Cornwall for Children with Additional Needs. The Family Information Service available Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, an answer phone is provided at all other times or or the access the website at: Health, the Children, Young People and Families Directorate, and voluntary organisations can also provide specialist help for children and schools with special needs. Social Care may be able to provide some respite care for your child. Our scheme is called Family Support - contact your nearest Social Care office for further information (see page 10). 3

4 Services for pre-school children The Family Information Service, formerly the Children s Information Service, has up-to-date information about all Ofsted-registered childcare, including day nurseries, pre-school, childminders, out of school clubs and holiday schemes. They work closely with other organisations who provide services for children aged 0 16 and their families, including Social Care. Facilities are inspected regularly by Ofsted to ensure that they are meeting the national standards and guidance offering quality care for children. Details of childcare and family services throughout Cornwall can be obtained from them. They also hold details of activities throughout the County during the main summer holiday for children and families. The Early Years Service support education, special needs, training and sustainability within childcare settings, including working with childminders and daycare providers, supporting them through registration. When a family is going through a difficult time or has particular problems, Social Care sometimes help with the fees for children to attend childcare. Children in conflict with the law The Youth Offending Service is responsible for working with children and young people (aged from inclusive) whose behaviour brings them into conflict with the law. Contact details are given on page 11. The Service is made up of workers from Social Care, Probation, Police, Education, and Health and is supported by the work of a number of voluntary organisations. The primary aim of the Service is to prevent offending and re-offending by children and young people. Information about the full range of Youth Justice Services will be available soon. 4

5 Protection of children If you have any concerns about a child (not necessarily your own), please don t hesitate to contact us by telephoning The Children Act 1989 places a particular duty on Social Care Departments to protect children and young people. We have to investigate any allegation that a child might be neglected or abused and, if necessary, take action to protect the child. Our central referral unit (see page 10) has staff with a responsibility for investigating any allegation of child abuse, and taking appropriate action. Occasionally, in cases of serious harm, some children must be removed from their home. If it is not possible for a relative or close friend to provide a home, the children are usually looked after by foster carers. Social workers regularly visit and monitor those children who are living away from home. Our staff work very closely with colleagues in the Health and Schools service and other agencies. Children living away from their home Sometimes family relationships or circumstances are such that a child cannot remain in his/her own home. When Social Care are involved, the child s welfare is our first concern and we ensure that the most suitable arrangements are made for the child to live elsewhere. In many cases these are temporary arrangements and the child will ultimately return to his/her home. Unless children are living with a relative or a close friend, we believe that most children are usually best cared for by foster carers. These are people who are specially assessed, trained and supported by Social Care to look after children and young people. We are very committed to high standards of care. As far as possible, we always involve the children and their parents in the arrangements for promoting the child s welfare. The child s health and education are regularly reviewed, and our social workers visit the foster home frequently. Social Care has a number of residential centres for young people in Cornwall. These offer facilities for children and young people who are unable to live with their own family or a foster family. Some of these young people may be remanded by a court. 5

6 A few children have very particular needs, and may have to live in a residential centre out of Cornwall. These centres vary considerably and could include a special school or a Health Service unit. Fostering We need foster carers to care for children for varying periods of time. If you can offer a child short-term or long-term care, or even an occasional regular weekend in order to provide respite for the child and their family, we would be very pleased to hear from you. If would like to know more about becoming a foster carer, please contact (see page 10). Leaving care Young people in care who are approaching adulthood need particular help in making plans for their future. Decisions need to be made about further education, including perhaps a university placement, and advice and assistance will be needed when thinking and planning a career. Some young people may want to leave home and live independently. A social worker will be available to advise and assist the young person both before and after leaving care. The social worker will help sort out finances, including making claims for the statutory benefits that may be due from the Department for Work and Pensions and the District Housing Department. Assistance will be also available when applying for any education or training grant. 6

7 Adoption Some children or young people may have to be found alternative families on a permanent basis. Adoption is the preferred way of providing these children with new families. We have a team of specialist social workers who deal with adoption matters (see page 11). The Adoption and Family Finding Team is responsible for assessing the needs of children and ensuring that they are placed with suitable adoptive parents. The Team also deal with step-parent, inter-country adoptions, and access to birth records by persons who were adopted. If you wish to become an adoptive parent or have a query concerning adoption, contact the Adoption and Family Finding Unit, details are given on page 11. Voluntary organisations Help, support and services for children, young people and their families are also provided by many voluntary organisations. We have included some key details at the back of this booklet. For details of organisations who may be able to address particular needs, these points of reference could be useful: The Guide to Services in Cornwall for Children with Additional Needs provides details of many sources of help. It is available from Social Care offices via the Family Information Service (page 11). The Early Years Service for information about services for children under 8 (contact details on page 11). 7

8 Access to your records The law says that information held about a person, on a file or on a computer, should be shared with that person, unless there are good reasons to withhold it. A person can ask for the information to be changed if it is incorrect. If you wish to see information that we hold about you, contact your social worker, or your nearest Social Care office (see page 10), and they will advise you about what to do next. If things go wrong We always try to give a high standard of a service, but if you are unhappy with the service you receive, you should discuss this first with the staff who are working with you, for example your social worker, social work assistant, or your family aide. They will want a chance to put things right. If you are unable to solve matters this way, you can make your views known through the Children, Schools and Families complaints procedure. This is explained in a leaflet which can be obtained from your nearest Social Care office (see page 10) called Get it Sorted. You can also access the website and the address is and 8

9 Getting in touch with us If you want to find out more information about services, please contact your nearest office. All offices and the Truro headquarters are open between: 8.45am to 5.15pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.45am to 4.45pm on Friday and can be contacted on If an emergency arises at other times (including weekends and Bank Holidays), telephone our Out-of-Hours Service for advice Adoption and Family Placement Cornwall and Isles of Scilly 13 Treyew Road Truro, TR1 2BY Family Services Quayside House Newham Road Truro TR1 1HU Family Information Service Youth Offending Service Chiltern House City Road Truro TR1 2JL

10 Other organisations which can help Benefits For information about disability and sickness benefits, income support and other low-income benefits, and Jobseekers Allowance, please contact your local Jobcentre Plus, or visit their national website: To find details of your local office ring the main Truro office or check in the telephone directory. Benefits Enquiries Line, for people with disabilities and their carers Child benefits enquiries line Carers Allowance Unit For Pensions Information contact the Pensions Service on: Housing Cornwall Council can provide information about council housing, housing benefit and special needs housing accommodation. They will be able to assist you if you need adaptations making to your home to make ti suitable for a disabled child. Cornwall Council Housing Services Council Offices Dolcoath Avenue Camborne Cornwall TR14 8SX Citizens Advice Bureau Your local CAB can provide general advice on benefit entitlement, housing and legal matters and where to go for further help. Details of the nearest office can be found in the telephone directory, or by visiting their website at 10

11 Other important contact points ACHE Helpline Advice Care Help Empathy (ACHE) Helpline open 10am - 10pm weekdays. Support groups for young people in crisis Child Line (Freephone) NSPCC National Child Protection helpline Chestnuts Centre 83 Fore Street Bodmin PL31 2BJ Hear our Voice Young people s mental health project, meets in Truro & Falmouth, concerned with mental health for all young people up to age lemon Street Truro TR1 2PE Action for Children Cornwall Leaving Care and After Care Service NHS Direct Lo-call helpline giving information about local NHS services, and self-help groups SHARE Young people s advice, information and counselling 1 Biddicks Court St Austell PL25 5EW The Old Magistrates Court Adelade Street Camborne Knights Yard Belgravia Street Penzance YoungMinds St John Street London EC1M 4DG Parents Information Service Work to improve the mental health of children & young people. Services include a telephone service giving information and advice to anyone concerned about the mental health of a child or young person, & a range of leaflets & booklets Young People Cornwall Information, & support for young people on many youth issues. Activity & group work facilities

12 Children s services - these are our values: the welfare of the child is always our highest priority a child needs a secure and permanent relationship with a familiar group of adults we achieve the best outcome for a child by working in partnership with parents, the child, and the family as a whole, and actively seeking their views the most effective services for a child and his/her family are provided when the community and all appropriate agencies work together for the benefit of the child If you would like this information in another format please contact: Cornwall Council, County Hall, Treyew Road, Truro TR1 3AY or telephone: or Printed on recycled paper jn25732 Aug 2010 All information correct at time of going to print

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