Protocol for Working Together: HSE Social Workers & Children Detention Schools

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1 Protocol for Working Together: HSE Social Workers & Children Detention Schools Revision No 1. Approved by Board of Management (BoM), Oberstown Campus and Paul Harrison, Head of Policy and Strategy, Office of the National Director, Children and Family Services, HSE. Approval and Implementation Dates Approved by BoM, Oberstown on 11/05/2012 and HSE on 04/09/2012; for implementation from 01/10/2012. Responsibility for Implementation Area managers, principal social workers, HSE CFSS and directors of the children detention schools. Review Date 1 October Responsibility for Evaluation Siobhan Mugan, HSE CFSS and Siobhan Young, IYJS. Page 1 of 5

2 Introduction The overlap between child welfare and youth justice is widely recognised. 1 This means that there will be some children in detention who are known to HSE social work services. These children may require support and/or services from both the HSE and the children detention schools. This protocol promotes coordinated, collaborative practices between HSE social workers and the children detention schools and provides guidance on joint working with children and young people who are in detention and who have been identified by a HSE social work assessment as having on-going welfare needs. This includes children in care under the Child Care Act 1991 and also children who are not in care but who have been allocated a social worker following social work assessment. While it is acknowledged that other agencies will also be involved with young people in detention (e.g. the National Education Welfare Board, An Garda Síochána and the Probation Service among others), this protocol refers specifically to HSE social workers and staff in children detention schools. Background to Protocol Better working together is emphasised in the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report Implementation Plan commonly known as the Ryan Implementation Plan published in response to the Ryan Report. 2 The Ryan Report contained accounts of the abuse suffered by children in institutional care in Ireland prior to reforms brought about by the Child Care Act 1991 and the Children Act The Ryan Implementation Plan focuses on children in the care of the state whether that is under the Child Care Act 1991 (e.g. in voluntary care or on a full care order) or the Children Act 2001 (e.g. on a special care order or detained in one of the children detention schools). It also refers to children in receipt of services who are not in state care. Action 63 states that the HSE will ensure that social workers who are allocated to children who the courts place in detention continue to work in partnership with the children detention schools in care planning. Action 63 does not refer specifically to children in care under the Child Care Act 1991 and reflects the fact that children in the children detention schools may have an allocated social worker without being in care. The emphasis is on social workers who are allocated to children in detention working in partnership with the children detention schools. Therefore, this protocol refers to children in detention who have an allocated social worker whether or not they are in care. Action 63 is just one of the actions in the Ryan Implementation Plan that pertains to the children detention schools. For example, Action 12 states that the HSE will establish a specialist multidisciplinary team to work with children in detention and special care in consultation with the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS). The HSE is currently recruiting staff for the 1 Government of Ireland (2006) Report on the Youth Justice Review Dublin: Stationery Office and Glisson C and Green P (2006:841) The Role of Speciality Mental Health Care in Predicting Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Out-of-Home Placements in Research on Social Work Practice Vol 16 ( ). 2 Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (2009) Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Report Implementation Plan Dublin: Stationery Office. Page 2 of 5

3 Assessment, Consultation and Therapy Service (ACTS) as well as for a forensic child and adolescent mental health team. These clinical teams will provide services to children in detention as part of their remit. Aims of the Protocol This protocol was developed by the IYJS and the Children and Family Services National Office, HSE in response to Action 63 of the Ryan Implementation Plan. It is designed to assist HSE social workers and staff in the children detention schools to work together to improve young people's outcomes as outlined in The Agenda for Children s Services. 3 The protocol relates to children who are detained in any of the three children detention schools on the Oberstown campus (Trinity House School, Oberstown Boys School and Oberstown Girls School) and who have an allocated social worker. More detailed guidelines are available - both HSE social workers and staff in the children detention schools should read the Guidelines on the Role of Social Workers for Children placed in Children s Residential Centres developed by the Health Information and Quality Authority Social Services Inspectorate in consultation with the HSE and published by the Children Acts Advisory Board in Of note, the guidelines state that children in care who are remanded to an assessment centre or remand centre or are sentenced to a detention centre also continue to need the care and protection provided by their HSE social worker (page 2). Thus, children in care who are either remanded or committed to one of the children detention schools should continue to benefit from HSE Children & Family Services. The HSE social worker remains responsible for taking all possible steps to ensure that children in care are safe while in detention. The revised Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children is also relevant. 5 Children in detention are children with additional vulnerabilities because they are separated from their parents and depend on others for their care and protection (page 11). Staff in the children detention schools should also adhere to the children detention schools Safeguarding Policy and accompanying procedures which were developed in line with Children First. Assessment and Partnership Working The circumstances and environment contributing to young people having an allocated HSE social worker are often similar to the risks and needs that contribute to their offending and re-offending. A shared style of working is essential to improve outcomes for children in the children detention schools who have allocated social workers (i.e. known to Children & 3 Office of the Minister for Children (2007) The Agenda for Children s Services: A Policy Handbook Dublin: Stationery Office. 4 Children Acts Advisory Board (2009) Guidelines on the Role of Social Workers for Children placed in Children s Residential Centres Dublin: CAAB. This document is available at get doc/51e433d2-4bc4-4ace-90da-07e636ca2b3e/guidelines-role-social-workers.aspx. 5 Department of Children & Youth Affairs (2011) National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children Dublin: Government Publications. Page 3 of 5

4 Family Services, HSE and the youth justice system). A shared understanding and ownership of the issues relating to these young people and effective inter-agency planning will result in more coordinated assessments and subsequent care and support packages being devised. It is important that a joint approach is taken by both agencies to resolve any issues that may arise during the placement and if a specialist assessment and treatment service is recommended such as a forensic psychiatric / psychological assessment. This protocol outlines separate duties for staff in the children detention schools and HSE workers but the tasks will naturally overlap as the emphasis is on partnership working. In order to achieve partnership working, staff in the children detention schools will: Check information gathered by bed managers, IYJS in relation to children s involvement with HSE Children and Family Services (i.e. whether child has an allocated social worker and / or is in HSE care) and make contact with social work. If information is not available on young people s care status when a young person is admitted, staff should contact the bed managers, IYJS so that checks can be made with the National Office for Children and Family Services, HSE as agreed with the national specialist for alternative care. Provide a named member of staff to link with a young person s HSE social worker. This is likely to be the young person s key worker. However, in some cases the campus social worker may be the link person. Facilitate the HSE social work department having a direct input into the assessment process, placement plan and reintegration home plan. Ensure that the allocated HSE social worker is informed about incidents and any other relevant information regarding the child. Liaise with the allocated HSE social worker. When a young person is in care this will mean requesting a copy of the young person s care plan to ascertain the young person s needs and what work has already taken place to support the young person. In cases where the young person is not in care but has an allocated social worker, information will relate to any support packages allocated social workers have put in place. Use the information from the HSE social worker to inform the assessment of risk and need in relation to risk of re-offending - the Youth Level of Service / Case Management Inventory 2 (YLS/CMI 2). Contribute to the young person s care plan or social work intervention plan by sharing information on the YLS/CMI 2 assessment and any interventions in the detention school which are aimed at preventing or reducing offending / reoffending. Liaise regularly with the HSE social worker about progress and unmet needs. Page 4 of 5

5 Undertake regular reviews of their work in conjunction with the young person and family and inform the HSE social worker of any issues which require their intervention. The HSE social worker will: Share information with the children detention school regarding their assessment and interventions to date with young people subject to appropriate consent. Provide a copy of the young person s care plan to the children detention schools. Provide information on intervention to date with young people who are not in care with the detention school subject to parental / guardian consent. Arrange to visit the young person in the children detention school as appropriate. Ensure that a complaints system is in place for children in care, that young people in care have access to a telephone, that they are aware of telephone help lines and that they see approved visitors. Review relevant information regarding children in care. Ensure that the young person s care plan or other social work intervention plan is informed by information from the YLS/CMI 2 assessment and any interventions in the detention school which are aimed at preventing or reducing offending / reoffending. Attend planning meetings and reviews in the children detention school as required to ensure that effective through-care is provided. In coordination with the detention school staff work with the young person's family to prepare them for the young person's discharge as set out in the reintegration home plan. Planning for reintegration into the community should commence as early as possible. In coordination with the detention school staff support the young person as required while they are in detention and work in coordination with the detention school staff in implementing the reintegration home plan. Emphasis should be on through care. The reintegration home plan should address where the young person will live after leaving detention particularly if his or her last care placement has broken down. It should also address how they will be provided with the support and services required to meet their needs. For young people aged over 16 years in care, the HSE social worker should ensure that an aftercare plan is in place which is informed by information from the YLS/CMI 2 assessment and any interventions in the detention school which are aimed at preventing or reducing offending / reoffending. Page 5 of 5

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