STEP UP/ STEP DOWN PROCEDURE

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1 STEP UP/ STEP DOWN PROCEDURE This document outlines the guidance the processes regarding Children In Need (as defined by Section 17, Children Act 1989) and children supported via the Early intervention services and is mandatory for staff working within Rutland County Council and partner organisations. This guidance should be read in conjunction with the Families First in Rutland strategy which sets out the overall vision and framework for the delivery of services for children, young people and families. INTRODUCTION This document sets out how agencies and individuals will work together in a systematic and multi agency approach to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are "in need" and children and families who receive early intervention services in Rutland. The central aims of this document are to ensure consistency of practice and enable everyone involved - practitioners, managers, parents and children - to be clear about thresholds, objectives, and the purpose of meetings, assessment, planning, review, and how everyone can best contribute. This guidance is mandatory for staff in the county council and partner organisations. Whilst it recognises that Safeguarding and Vulnerable Children s Service has some particularly key statutory roles and responsibilities - it identifies that all practitioners in all partner agencies have significant responsibilities to be pro-active in making their own contribution. It is designed to enable everyone - including children and families - to work together consistently and effectively by using a straightforward and common framework of thresholds, definitions, meetings, and objectives. This guidance requires that practitioners who have concerns for a child contribute pro-actively and substantially at every stage, from early intervention through to specialist services via their direct work and by contributions to Team Around Family (TAF) meetings. The Early intervention (EIS), Child In Need (CIN), Child Protection (CP), and Looked After Children (LAC) systems are all multi-agency and multi-disciplinary processes - and all may involve the same practitioners. They differ only in terms of thresholds and objectives. 1. Principles 1.1 Rutland is committed to the principle that early intervention and investment in the prevention programmes to achieve the necessary impact and be sustainable requires the commitment and participation of all partners across the Children s Trust. 1.2 The child s Welfare and safety is paramount. 1.3 Integrated working will ensure a smooth handover between services. When a child s needs change, all services should ensure that the support is seamless (i.e. between universal, targeted and specialist. 1.4 Assessments of Need will be child centred and holistic. 10 April 2013 Final Version 1

2 1.5 The child s welfare is everyone s responsibility. 1.6 Any planning or intervention is underpinned by an assessment (Common Assessment Framework (CAF), an Initial Assessment (IA) and/or a Core Assessment (CA)) and Lead Practitioner (LP). 1.7 The Family should always be present at a TAF meeting. 1.8 If a child and family required CIN services or early intervention services this will be decided as a result of an assessment, either a CAF Initial assessment or Core assessment 2. Practice Guidance A child is defined as being in need by the Children Act 1989 if the child or young person (CIN) 2.1 Is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him of services by Local Authority 2.2 Health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for him of such services or 2.3 Is disabled. Services for CIN will be coordinated by the social care team and may have early intervention services contributing to the overall plan. Early intervention services primarily work with any child or young person who is not defined as Children in Need 3. Consent The issue of consent is central to the work in early intervention and in the step down process from statutory services. The expectation is that the workers involved with the service user will use all their skills to engage the family in services. They will explain clearly to the family the benefit of having co-ordinated services to support them in dealing with the identified issues. Where there is resistance from a family, and the worker feels that without further support the situation will deteriorate, resulting in a referral to social care or a re-referral, then the worker must discuss the situation with their manager to consider what action to take. 4. The process for Team around the child/family meetings and reviews In order to support consistency of approach and practice for service users and workers alike, the same process, and proformas will be used for both Early Intervention services and Children in Need. This will ensure that children young people and families only have to deal with one process whatever service they are using. 5. Early Intervention Services (EIS) The CAF assessment tool is intended to enable practitioners, with the family's consent, to engage professionals from other agencies in meeting a child's additional 10 April 2013 Final Version 2

3 needs identified through their assessment. It is the key assessment tool to enable early intervention so as to prevent problems increasing and requiring more specialist intervention later. It is also intended to reduce the need for repeated, unnecessary assessments. Where professionals / social care alert the Senior early intervention officer-cafthat they intend to raise a CAF the Senior early intervention officer-cafwill track this intent and will follow up on all intents within 2 weeks to ensure no situations get lost or drift. Once a CAF assessment has been completed a team around the child/ family plan needs to be completed (see attached proforma Appendix 1 to be completed with the outcome of a TAF meeting) 6. Team around the child meeting (TAF) TAF meetings early intervention (See Family First Handbook for detailed steps) 6.1 The first TAF (EIS) meeting will be chaired by the SEIO for CAF who will help the team identify the lead practitioner (LP) who will co-ordinate and chair subsequent meetings. 6.2 The team around the child meeting will agree a plan (on the proforma) and then the CAF administrator will log the plan and send out to all attendees 6.3 The lead professional (See Appendix 2 Roles and responsibilities) will liaise with the administrator to co-ordinate subsequent meetings which will include booking venues circulating an update plan 6.4 The lead professional is responsible for ensuring the actions against the plan are delivered 6.5 Meetings should take place no longer than 3 months with meetings being organised sooner if changes in circumstances or more frequent tracking is required. 6.6 For services to disabled children, Reviews will be conducted at 6 monthly intervals. If there are significant changes to a child s needs or parent /carer circumstances an early review will take place. Multiagency meetings can be arranged in between the 6 monthly reviews as and when needed for Disabled Children with complex and high specialist needs, where there are a number of agencies involved 7. STEP UP PROCESS to specialist services Where the Lead Practitioner or a multi-agency group consider that the needs of a child have become more complex and may need to be addressed through Social Care, the following process should be followed (N.B. in the event that a child is considered to be suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm then Rutland s Safeguarding Procedures should be followed). 10 April 2013 Final Version 3

4 Where the referrer is the Lead Practitioner they should: 7.1 Review the current CAF paperwork and make sure it identifies any changes to the child s circumstances and any new needs. 7.2 Communicate their concerns with the family. It is expected that workers will gain the family s consent for a referral to Social Care (unless there are immediate child protection concerns that would place a child at further risk of harm or jeopardise an investigation). 7.3 Be familiar with the threshold criteria and level of need within the Families First Document and be familiar with Rutland s Safeguarding Procedures. 7.4 Follow Rutland s Children s Social Care Department s referral process. For all step up requests, complete a Multi-Agency Referral form (appendix4) and send this with the CAF paperwork and TAF plan 7.5 Follow their agencies recording policy indicating on their records that a referral to Social Care has been made. 7.6 Where there is an open CAF, this will remain active with the early intervention services until the outcome of the Initial Assessment (IA) is known. 7.7 Notify the CAF Co-ordinator Once Social care services receive the referral on the multi-agency referral form the team process logging enquires need to be followed. 7.8 The Duty team manager will then make a decision about the outcome and feed back to the referrer. 7.9 If there is no role for the social care team at this point then the early intervention services will continue to support the family /child via the CAF 7.10 If there is no role for the social care team and the family has not had a CAF previously and the Duty Team recommend that a CAF be would benefit the Family they will ask the referrer to raise a CAF and the Duty Team will alert the senior early intervention officer for CAF who will track this intent within 2 weeks 7.11 Where there is an existing CAF in place the Lead Practitioner will ensure that a TAF meeting is held within 2 weeks of the notification from the duty team manager to review the action plan in light of the outcome of the Initial assessment. This will be tracked by the senior early intervention officer CAF 8. Process on Duty after Initial assessment (IA) or Core assessment (CA) identified as Child in Need (CIN) 10 April 2013 Final Version 4

5 8.1 If Initial assessment (IA) or a Core assessment (CA) as a result of a child protection enquiry indicates that further work monitoring is required then the transfer of the case to team 11/3 must take place within 1 week of the end of the assessment. 8.2 The assessment must have a plan outlining the issues to be followed up in team 11 or team 3. This to be completed on the Plan proforma but does not require a TAF meeting in order to outline the issues. The TAF meeting will be co-ordinated by Team 11 or 2 within 2 weeks of the transfer. 8.3 TAF (CIN) to be co-ordinated by the receiving team via their admin system 8.4 The TAF (CIN) Meeting to take place within 2 weeks of the IA or CA being completed 8.5 Team 12/3 manager / Principal Social Worker (PSW) to attend if receiving social worker unable to attend. 8.6 All TAF Meetings for Child in Need (CIN) should be attended by the child (depending on age and understanding), parents/carers, and those agencies whose potential/actual contribution is recommended as an outcome of an assessment. The relevant social worker should discuss potential attendees for the Meeting with the child and the parents/carers prior to arrangements being made for the meeting. 8.7 The Meeting will usually be chaired by the Principal Social Worker of the receiving Team and the CIN Plan will be completed (attached Proforma) 9. THE STEP- DOWN PROCESS from Specialist services Social Care teams should always aim to reduce their involvement as the child s needs become met. If when a decision has been made that a child is no longer a child in need but an ongoing level of support is required and the family have given consent to the support and to information being shared, then Social Care should follow the following process. From Duty Team 12 After Completion of an Initial Assessment Where an Initial Assessment has been completed and additional needs are identified, but a decision has been made not to offer a service from Social Care on the basis that the presenting needs do not meet the threshold, the Duty social Worker should: 9.1 Discuss with the Family the benefit of continued support for Early Intervention services and gain written consent (Page 9 of the CAF form) 10 April 2013 Final Version 5

6 9.2 With the family agreement, the social worker to make the senior early intervention officer for CAF aware of the need for a TAF meeting. This to be tracked by the senior early intervention officer CAF 9.3 If IA or CA indicates that support from early intervention services is required then the transfer of the case must take place within 1 week of the end of the assessment. 9.4 A signed IA with issues clearly identified on the plan proforma together with the consent form (Page 9 of CAF form) can be used as the referral from Duty to Early intervention 9.5 Where possible Duty social worker to attend the meeting to support family 9.6 The TAF meeting will be chaired by the Senior early intervention officer-cafwithin 2 week of transfer 9.7 The team around the family meeting will agree a plan (on the proforma) and then the CAF administrator will log the plan and send out to all attendees 9.8 The lead professional (See appendix 2 Roles and Responsibilities) will liaise with the CAF administrator to co-ordinate subsequent meetings which will include booking venues circulating an update plan 9.9 The lead professional is responsible for ensuring the actions against the plan are delivered 9.10 Meetings should take place no longer than 3 months with meetings being organised sooner if changes in circumstances or more frequent tracking is required. 10. From Team 11and Team 3 Where a Child in Need plan (CIN) comes to an end but additional needs remain which could be met by early intervention services, the social worker will: 10.1 Make a referral to Early Intervention services using the current plan, transfer summary and consent form (page 9 of CAF form) 10.2 Convene a TAF Review Meeting (CIN) inviting the relevant Early Intervention services in order to ensure continuing support for the family Discuss with the CAF coordinator if it is relevant for her to be present at the meeting Summarise the outstanding issues and desired outcomes using the plan which can then be given to the newly appointed Lead Practitioner If appropriate Share Initial/Core Assessments, with agreement from the family, with the services invited to the Review meeting; if the family do not agree to share the complete Initial/Core Assessment, the Worker 10 April 2013 Final Version 6

7 should agree with the family the relevant content to share with the targeted services that will continue to support the family The Lead Practitioner will be a practitioner from the services now contributing to the Action Plan, i.e., not the convening Worker because there is no need for further statutory involvement. 11. Team around the Family Plans (CIN/ EIS) The same proforma to be used within both service areas (See appendix 1) Team around the Family plans (CIN EIS) must identify the key agencies, any resources or services that will be needed to achieve the planned outcomes within the agreed timescales and who is responsible for which action and the timescale involved. In particular, the Child in Need Plan will: 11.1 Outline the desired outcome 11.2 Describe the identified developmental needs of the child, and any services required; 11.3 Highlight the strengths of the family 11.4 Include realistic strategies and specific actions to achieve the desired outcomes; 11.5 Include a contingency plan to be followed if circumstances change significantly and require prompt action; 11.6 Include timescales that are not too short or unachievable; 11.7 Identify the key agencies and their responsibilities, including frequency of contact with family members/visits to the child; 11.8 Lay down points at which progress will be reviewed The chair (lead professional or PSW) of the TAF Planning Meeting (CIN and EIS) is responsible for: 11.9 The completion and distribution of the Plan (CIN or EIS) a copy of the Plan should be provided to the parents, child (if old enough) and the agencies or other professionals involved in the provision of services under the Plan Where it becomes necessary to make minor adjustments to the plan and services provided, any changes to the plan must be made in consultation with the parents and the child (where appropriate) and key professionals from other agencies. 12. Review of TAF Plans (CIN and EIS) 12.1 The purpose of the Review is to ensure that the services provided are contributing to the achievement of the objectives within the timescales set. 10 April 2013 Final Version 7

8 12.2 A record of the Review will be completed by the Lead professional /social worker and the plan will be amended as necessary. This record will be copied to those involved, including the child and parent/s. Reviews will be conducted at regular intervals 12.3 Meetings should take place no longer than 3 months with meetings being organised sooner if changes in circumstances or more frequent tracking is required For services to disabled children Reviews will be conducted at 6 monthly intervals. If there are significant changes to a child s needs or parent / carer circumstances an early review will take place Multi-agency meetings can be arranged in between the 6 monthly reviews as and when needed for Disabled Children with complex and high specialist needs, where there are a number of agencies involved 12.6 If there are significant changes in the family circumstances, an early review must take place Any child protection or safeguarding issues which arise during the course of a Plan must be responded to in line with LSCB Procedures The Review will usually be chaired out by the Lead professional/psw, who should invite or seek the views of the child, parents, and any service providers. 13. Evaluation and Review Process In order to support this process and ensure that the services support families in a timely manner we will be auditing the timescales and quality to help us focus on continuing improvement. This auditing of timeliness and Quality of sample plans will take place twice every six months. Issues can be raised by lead professionals and social workers at the following forums Early Practitioner Forum (See appendix 3) Complex needs Panel (See appendix 4) At any point during the step up or step down of a situation it may be necessary to refer the case to complex needs panel. 10 April 2013 Final Version 8

9 Appendix 1 TEAM AROUND THE FAMILY Initial ACTION PLAN (CIN/EIS) To be used for CIN and EIS General Information Date (latest update) Name (child/young person) Date of birth Case Status CIN EIS Date first TAF meeting Closure Date Lead practitioner/social worker details Name Date of next meeting Date Time Place If you unable to attend the next TAF meeting, please contact the Lead Practitioner/Social Worker on the contact details below Preferred way of contact Attendees to the meeting: Name Organisation Contact Details Apologies: 10 April 2013 Final Version 9

10 Summary of reasons why the child(ren) is assessed to require a TAF (provide update at each meeting) Child s Developmental Needs Parenting Capacity Family and Environmental Factors Child/young person and carers views Strengths of the family Any identified safeguarding issues 10 April 2013 Final Version 10

11 Team around the Family Action Plan to be used for CIN and EIS What are the needs? Who is best placed to help with needs? How will the needs be addressed? What date does this need to be achieved by? What will we see happening to know the needs are being met? Is a Risk Assessment required: Yes / No Who will complete: By when: Please use RICHTER Scoring if using this with the family Richter Scale Score Initial Review End Point Comment: 10 April 2013 Final Version 11

12 Frequency of contact with family members / visits to the Child(ren) and by whom Name of Lead Practitioner Team Manager / Senior Early Intervention Officer Date Date (Completing this will end the document) Date, time and venue of TAF Review meeting: One plan per child 10 April 2013 Final Version 12

13 TEAM AROUND THE FAMILY Review ACTION PLAN (CIN/EIS) To be used for CIN and EIS General Information Date (latest update) Name (child/young person) Date of birth Case Status CIN EIS Date first TAF meeting Closure Date Lead practitioner/social worker details Name Date of next meeting Date Time Place If you unable to attend the next TAF meeting, please contact the Lead Practitioner/Social Worker on the contact details below Preferred way of contact Attendees to the meeting: Name Organisation Contact Details Apologies: 10 April 2013 Final Version 13

14 Summary of reasons why the child(ren) is assessed to require a TAF (provide update at each meeting) Child s Developmental Needs Parenting Capacity Family and Environmental Factors Child/young person and carers views Strengths of the family Any identified safeguarding issues 10 April 2013 Final Version 14

15 Team around the Family Action Plan to be used for CIN and EIS What are the needs? Who is best placed to help with needs? How will the needs be addressed? What date does this need to be achieved by? What will we see happening to know the needs are being met? Is a Risk Assessment required: Yes / No Who will complete: By when: Please use RICHTER Scoring if using this with the family Richter Scale Score Initial Review End Point Comment: 10 April 2013 Final Version 15

16 Frequency of contact with family members / visits to the Child(ren) and by whom Name of Lead Practitioner Team Manager / Senior Early Intervention Officer Date Date (Completing this will end the document) Date, time and venue of TAF Review meeting: One plan per child 10 April 2013 Final Version 16

17 Appendix 2 Identifying Lead Practitioner (as identified through the CAF process) When children are identified as having additional needs the professional identifying those needs will in most cases become the Lead Practitioner and will take on responsibility for ensuring that the child s needs are being met. If that professional feels that another agency will serve the family needs better by assuming that role then that professional will maintain responsibility for the family until a meeting has been held and an alternative Lead Practitioner assumes responsibility. If the child is subsequently referred to Children s social care via the multi agency referral form, once accepted as a referral the responsibility of the Lead Practitioner role will then be assumed by the allocated social worker. Who can be Lead Practitioner Children s centre workers Health visitors School nurses/midwives Community children s nurses Housing support staff School support staff Community support officers Learning mentors Teachers Youth Options advisors Sexual health workers Early years worker Nursery nurses Volunteer Education welfare Personal tutors Youth offending team workers Family workers Play workers Youth workers Mental health worker Substance misuse worker Key Tasks of the Lead Practitioner are to: Be a Single Point of contact: the Lead Practitioner will be someone the children, young people and families can trust, who will support them to make choices and navigate their way through the system Ensure appropriate and effective interventions: the Lead Practitioner will be someone who will work to ensure families are supported via well planned, regularly reviewed and effectively delivered interventions Minimise duplication and inconsistency from other practitioners and will help co-ordinate and focus the multi-agency team around the child and young person 10 April 2013 Final Version 17

18 Co-ordinate the effective delivery of a package of solution focused actions and also establish a process by which this will be reviewed regularly. Continue to support the child or family if more specialist assessments need to be carried out. Supports the children through transition points but, where necessary, ensure a careful and planned handover takes place if it is more appropriate for someone else to be the Lead Practitioner. Appointing a Lead Practitioner A Lead Practitioner may be appointed when more than one service is working with a family. This will be from a network of professionals already working with the family and will not be a specific post or an extra professional added to the network Arranging Early Intervention Support Meetings (CAF) between professionals involved in the services being provided to the child Co-coordinating the services that families receive and contributing to reviews, Ensuring that families have good understanding of the services they are receiving or which help might be available to them, Advocating on behalf of families. If the CAF process has been unsuccessful for a family the Lead Practitioner can then determine whether a referral to Children s Duty is required. 10 April 2013 Final Version 18

19 Appendix 3 Chair: SEIO for CAF Frequency of Meetings: Bi monthly Early Intervention Practitioners Forum Membership: Army Welfare, Police, Visions CC, Aiming High, Youth Services, Housing Options, Spire Homes, Education, Community Safety, Health, Family Information Service, Early Years, Intensive Family Support, Duty Team, HomeStart, SEN team, The Ark nursery, Changing Lives, YISP and Youth Offending Service. Purpose of the Forum: - For practitioners to have an opportunity to discuss cases that they are working with and struggling or need support. The cases can be at any stage of Early Intervention so there is no need to have a CAF open. - For practitioners to share information and network. - Get an update on services - Problem solve general issues and common themes - Share good practices and training opportunities. - Receive social care advice for challenging cases. - Improve ways of sharing information. - Discuss CAF process in Rutland and ongoing support Lead practitioners. 10 April 2013 Final Version 19

20 Appendix 4 Complex Case Panel Terms of Reference Complex Case Panel Terms of Reference Aim - Using the Continuum of Need approach identified within the Families First Strategy, undertake a management overview, and make decisions on complex cases involving children, young people, and their families. - Reduce duplication of service provision - Sharing of information and resources to improve outcomes - Ensuring appropriate management of cases through the step up/ step down process - Inform service improvements Membership The Complex Case Panel membership is made up of Team Managers managing services for children and young people aged 0 19 within the People Directorate: - RCC Assessment and Duty Social Care - RCC Stronger Communities 0 11 and Troubled Families - RCC Stronger Communities 11 19, Housing Options and Community Safety - RCC Long Term Social Care - RCC Fostering/ Adoption and Intensive Family Support - RCC Inclusion - Education (11 19 Strategic Partnership) - CAHMS - Police - Health Process Team Managers will assess their team s workload and identify cases that meet the following criteria: - Re referred to service - Repeat of historical issues - No improvement - Escalation of problems (particular focus on Adolescents) - High cost A template will be completed by RCC Team Managers on a monthly basis and collated into one document for discussion at each meeting. 10 April 2013 Final Version 20

21 Frequency of Meetings and support The panel will meet monthly to begin with moving to bi monthly if appropriate lasting 2 hours. The Head of Service for Safeguarding/ Stronger Communities will rotate as Chair supporting the direction of the group initially until the process has been embedded. Administration support will be provided by the Senior Management Team Admin. Evaluation Effectiveness of the panel will be evaluated through monitoring the cases from the each meeting. There will be a comments section on the template to note progress which will be used to measure distance travelled. Team Managers will also report progress to Heads of Service on a monthly basis. 10 April 2013 Final Version 21

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