Management Information. Chief Social Work Officer

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1 Management Information Lead Officer Name: Paul Woolrich Designation: Service Improvement Manager Tel: ( ) Lead Service Area Support to Children & Young People Last Review Date December 2012 Implementation Date November 2010 Review Date December 2013 Date Agreed October 2010 Agreed by Chief Social Work Officer Definition: Policy A course of action or set of standards adopted by the City of Edinburgh Council. Page 1 of 10

2 1. PURPOSE Assist Children and Families social work staff and managers to ensure that services are targeted at those with the highest levels of need in an equitable and consistent way. 2. SCOPE The City of Edinburgh Council provides social work services through two departments Children and Families and Health and Social Care. Health and Social Care provides community care and criminal justice social work services. Children and Families provide social work services to children, young people, their families and carers. These services include: child protection youth justice fostering and adoption residential care throughcare and aftercare to young people who have been looked after supervision of children who are looked after service to the Children s Hearing system supervision of private fostering arrangements support to children in need, including children with disabilities The Council provides many services directly, but also purchases some from independent sector organisations. 3. DEFINITIONS None 4. POLICY STATEMENT All social work services irrespective of which department provides them are delivered in line with the following core principles: everyone will be treated with respect, equality and dignity social work services will work closely with universal services, such as Health and Education to promote inclusion for everyone in need of a service services will operate clear and transparent systems for ensuring that those in the most need and at the greatest risk receive priority services will ensure that these systems help to make the best use of limited resources in achieving good outcomes for people service users will be offered choice, wherever possible Review Date: [09/11] Page 2 of 10

3 Service users and/or their representatives will be involved in the development of individual plans for their care and support will be involved in how services are planned, delivered and evaluated will be assisted in making complaints or representation if they are dissatisfied Differing needs of adults and children The focus of adult social work is to maximise the independence of individuals, albeit with an important responsibility for protection where necessary, whereas for children the emphasis is on care and protection by virtue of their vulnerability or their need for additional support to make the successful transition to adulthood. This means that the eligibility criteria for adult social care services differ from those for children s services because of the differing nature of the needs that they address. Getting It Right for Every Child in Edinburgh Edinburgh is working towards full implementation of the Government s Getting it Right for Every Child policy. The principles that underpin this policy are that all children and their families should receive the help they need, when they need it; that this help should be proportionate and minimise the need for higher tariff services later on; that universal services, in particular health and education make a significant contribution to supporting vulnerable children before their referral to social work services or to the Children s Reporter; that agencies should work together and with families to co-ordinate and monitor support. THE SOCIAL WORK SERVICE WILL OPERATE TO THE AGREED ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA THAT ARE SET OUT BELOW. CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES WILL NOT BE DENIED OTHER FORMS OF SUPPORT SHOULD THEIR NEEDS NOT MEET THESE AGREED CRITERIA. UNIVERSAL SERVICES, SUCH AS EDUCATION AND HEALTH, AND VOLUNTARY SECTOR ORGANISATIONS PLAY A CRITICAL ROLE IN PROVIDING EARLY SUPPORT TO FAMILIES WHO MAY BE EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTIES. In addition, Appendix 1 sets out the criteria for access to child and family centres and day care services for pre-school children. Review Date: [09/11] Page 3 of 10

4 Children s Social Work Services Eligibility Criteria Referrals to the Council for a children s social work service will be screened by the Council s single access point for social work services: Social Care Direct, in accordance with the above staged process. The information gathered will be used to prioritise those who require a social work service. The following categories will provide a guideline for staff and managers in making these decisions. Low There is not an immediate or foreseeable risk of the child suffering harm or impaired health and development, but the provision of additional services would significantly improve the child and family s life chances and quality of life. The child s needs may not be consistently met. Improvements are desirable, but there are no acute risks present. Social work help is not essential to the monitoring or maintenance of the child s well-being, but this requires additional support from universal services. Moderate There is some risk of impairment to health and development. Without support considerable deterioration is likely; there will be a risk of family breakdown or of harm befalling the child. The child may move to the substantial category without the provision of services. Substantial There is a significant risk of the child suffering ill health or impaired development. There is a significant risk of family breakdown and of the child requiring to be accommodated. The child and family may be in need of intensive support and this might include respite care or daytime care. There is a need for urgent assessment, but may not require a same day response. Critical There is a risk of serious harm to the child or a serious concern about the child s care, health or development; the child is in need of care and or protection; or the child poses a danger to others. The child has been assessed as needing to be accommodated away from home or closely supervised at home due to serious family difficulties. The examples on the following pages illustrate these categories of need as they relate to key areas of assessment. Review Date: [09/11] Page 4 of 10

5 HEALTH SOCIAL,EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL FAMILY AND SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS CHILD S ENVIRONMENT PARENTAL FACTORS LOW PRIORITY NEED Children with some additional support needs who require support from other services, e.g. health visitor, speech therapist. Children who have little opportunity to meet and play with other children due to parent s isolation. May require referral to a Family Centre, advice on play groups, after school club, etc. Children who show signs of behaviour which may indicate difficulties. Children experiencing inconsistent standards of parenting, but whose development is not significantly impaired Children whose parents request advice and guidance to manage their behaviour. Where a parent/carer seeks access to resources such as a Child and Family Centre, day care, parenting group or other funded resources. Parent/carers have chronic relationship difficulties which may affect the child. The family requires advice and support regarding racial harassment. Children affected by parents residence and contact difficulties. Parent/carer requires information or advice to aid their continuing care of the child. Parents/carers have chronic debts due to very low income or their inability to manage their finances. Review Date: [09/11] Page 5 of 10

6 HEALTH SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL FAMILY AND SOCIAL RELTIONSHIPS CHILD S ENVIRONMENT PARENTAL FACTORS MODERATE PRIORITY NEED Children living in an environment which could pose a risk to their safety or well-being. Children with a significant level of additional needs, whose parents are unable to meet these without the provision of support. The physical care or supervision of the child is inadequate. Children who intermittently self-harm or display mental health issues. Children with challenging behaviour whose parents are unable to cope without the provision of support. Children who appear to be rejected by or alienated from family members and/or other significant adults. Children involved in offending behaviour leading to the involvement of the courts or Children s Hearing. Children with caring responsibilities which are impacting on their development. Children who fail to attend an educational establishment without any reasonable explanation, and where this is likely to impact on their attainment and welfare to such an extent that the Education Welfare Officer has referred them to a Pupil Support Group. Children who are at risk of permanent exclusion from school. Children who may have to be looked after outside their family. Children who have previously been Looked After and who now require throughcare/aftercare services. Children where there is a risk of breakdown of the relationship with parents/carers. Children experiencing several carers within their family network creating inconsistency and insecurity for the child, including children affected by disability that may require a Section 23 assessment. children whose access to resources such as a child and family centre, day care, or other funded resources requires a social work assessment. Requests for Court reports for private applications for Parental Rights/Residence Orders/Adoption. The child is living in an environment where there is domestic abuse. Home environment or hygiene could place the child at risk of harm. The child s family is homeless Parent/carer has a physical disability or history of mental health problems, or a learning disability which affects their ability to care for the child. Parents/carers are involved in alcohol or substance misuse, which affects their ability to care for the child. Parents whose criminal and/or anti-social behaviour threatens the welfare of the child. Review Date: [09/11] Page 6 of 10

7 HEALTH SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL FAMILY AND SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS CHILD S ENVIRONMENT PARENTAL FACTORS SUBSTANTIAL PRIORITY NEED Children with a high level of additional support needs or disability requiring constant supervision, which results in a high risk of family breakdown. Situations where the physical care or supervision of a child is severely neglected. Children involved in serious substance misuse. Children who seriously self-harm or display significant mental health issues. Children with severe challenging behaviour, which results in serious risk to the child or others, which parents are unable to manage and which results in a high risk of family breakdown. Children who are experiencing acute emotional rejection by parents or carers, including unrealistic expectations, scapegoating and inconsistent parenting. Children needing to be looked after outside their own family. Children where there has been a significant or chronic breakdown of the relationship with parent/carer. Disabled child where the parent/carer is unable to cope and where there are no alternative carers. As a result of the child s disability they require an urgent assessment. Children who are affected by parents asylum status, including unaccompanied minors. The child is living in an environment where there is the presence or risk of extreme domestic abuse. Home environment or hygiene places the child at high risk of significant harm. Parents/carers are suffering from severe physical or mental health problems or learning disability and are failing to care for the child adequately. Parents/carers are involved in severe alcohol or substance misuse, which is affecting the child s/unborn child s well-being. Review Date: [09/11] Page 7 of 10

8 CRITICAL PRIORITY NEED HEALTH SOCIAL, EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL FAMILY AND SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS All child protection cases will be classified as critical priority. Where there is a serious concern about the care, health or development of a child or the child has suffered or is likely to suffer serious harm. Where a serious offence by a child or serious concerns about the dangerous behaviour of a child require an immediate placement or response. Where there is serious family dysfunction, a child is beyond control, no person has or is able to exercise parental responsibility or the child is abandoned or rejected. CHILD S ENVIRONMENT PARENTAL FACTORS 5. RESPONSIBILITIES Referrals to the Council for a children s social work service will be screened by the Council s single access point for social work services: Social Care Direct, in accordance with the above staged process. The information gathered will be used to prioritise those who require a social work service. 6. LEGISLATIVE CONTEXT Children (Scotland) Act ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTS Appendix 1: Children s Services Eligibility Criteria: access to child and family centres and day care services for pre-school children Appendix 2: Children s Services Eligibility Criteria for Referral to Disability Social Work Practice Team Review Date: [09/11] Page 8 of 10

9 Appendix 1 Children s Services Eligibility Criteria: Access to Child and Family Centres and Day Care Services for Pre-school Children Criteria and circumstances child 1. Child s name on Child Protection Register 2. Child protection concerns 3. Child on supervision (looked after) 4. Additional support needs 5. Developmental delay 6. Challenging behaviour 7. Communication and language difficulties 8. Homelessness 9. Attachment/separation/loss 10. Child accommodated 11. Other Criteria and circumstances parent/carer 1. Physical health 2. Physical disability 3. Learning difficulties 4. Learning disabilities 5. Mental health issues 6. Emotional stress 7. Bonding difficulties 8. Social isolation 9. Lack of parenting skills 10. Post-natal stress 11. Substance misuse 12. Alcohol abuse 13. Relationship difficulties 14. Housing difficulties/homelessness 15. Financial stress 16. Other Priority ratings for admissions 1. Family situation indicates child protection intervention is required to safeguard child and possibly prevent the child being accommodated 2. Family requires support to meet their child s emotional needs and/or physical care 3. Child requires specialist services to promote his/her development 4. Child and family require a period of respite from stress Review Date: [09/11] Page 9 of 10

10 Appendix 2 Children s Services Eligibility Criteria for Referral to Disability Social Work Practice Team Definition of disability: from the Disability Discrimination Act: A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to do any normal day to day activities. To be eligible for a service from the Disability Team: a) the disability of the child/young person must be substantial and be the primary reason for the referral, and b) without support being offered there will be serious risk to the child or others and C) there may be a high risk of family breakdown Review Date: [09/11] Page 10 of 10

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