Local Assessment and Guidance
Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility and it is important that practitioners in all professions can recognise when it is appropriate to;
- Provide early help to families through their own service provision or by initiating a family CAF and bring in targeted support from other early help services.
- Report a safeguarding concern without delay and contribute toward any subsequent child protection procedures.
- Take the time to gather information that will either be used as evidence that the thresholds for statutory intervention have been met or as a way of fully understanding the complex problems within a family and working with multiple services and professionals to address those problems.
The assessment and guidance below has been provided for all professionals from any agency to use.
Advocacy seeks to ensure that some of our most vulnerable individuals have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives.
If at the start of an assessment process, you believe that a person has substantial difficulty in engaging with the process, you should consider whether there is anyone appropriate who can support the person to be fully involved; this might be a family member, friend or carer. If there is no one appropriate, then you must arrange for an independent advocate.
Tameside MBC use Cloverleaf Advocacy Services for Adults and Barnardo’s for Looked After Children and children on a Child Protection Plan aged 5 to 19 years.
Learning Disability Resources
There are a number of resources available to assist professionals who are supporting parents with learning disabilities; these resources provide advice and guidance for practitioners to tailor their approach to the needs of the parent, especially where there is an intervention with the child.
Midwives, Health Visitors and the Learning Disability Team are using a resource ‘My Pregnancy, My Choice’ (2016) published by Change People when working with parents who are expecting a baby. The resource uses pictures and easy words to provide information to people with learning disabilities and people who find reading hard about pregnancy.
The Learning Disabilities Team at Tameside Hospital promote healthy lifestyles for adults with learning disabilities.
For more information, visit their website.
Children’s Needs Framework
The Children’s Needs Framework is a document that supports children, adult and family services to safeguard and protect children, provide children and their families with the support that they need at the earliest opportunity, help children and young people to achieve good outcomes and prevent problems escalating to a point where statutory safeguarding arrangements or criminal proceedings have to be put into place. The framework should be used as a guide for Senior Managers to ensure that their service has the appropriate systems and processes in place and as pre-requisite reading for managers and practitioners attending CAF Training, as well as a reference guide for them to use in practice and in supervision.
Early Help - Family CAF
Remember that the CAF process is voluntary and informed consent should be obtained from the child/young person and/or their parent/carer before undertaking the CAF. Consent should be discussed and family should fully understand the CAF process and its implications and be made aware that the CAF will be shared with all agencies and services working with the family.
Partners have developed an Early Help Quality Assurance Framework to help improve the quality of the CAF process so that children and families receive the best possible support. You can use the tool to quality assure your assessments and practice with support from your CAF lead or manager.
Good quality chronologies can be used to inform assessments, assess risk and develop plans. Chronologies are already being used in child protection
proceedings, care planning, and when writing court statements. The quality of chronologies across services and from one practitioner to another
varies a lot though. Chronology Guidance has been produced to help practitioners to understand what makes a good chronology, what to include and
what not to include. Some of the benefits of a good quality chronology are;
- Identification of emerging patterns, strengths and difficulties, over time.
- A sound evidence base for escalation or de-escalation of cases.
- Help to prevent drift (when used in Supervision).
- Help to prepare for meetings with confidence i.e. Child Protection Conferences and to inform decision making.
Step Up/Down Process
Cases being managed through the CAF process, at level 2 of the Thresholds, may reach a point where it is necessary to ‘step up’ to Children’s Social Care at level 3 or 4. This may occur for example where there has been a lack of engagement from the family or there has been insufficient progress made against the CAF plan. These and other factors could potentially put the child at risk of harm and mean that they are a ‘Child in Need’.
N.B. Any new child protection concerns should be reported immediately to the Public Service Hub and bypass the step up process.
Alternatively cases successfully managed through the Child in Need process, at level 3 of the Thresholds, will reach a point where it is safe and appropriate to ‘step down’ to Early Help Services at level 2.
The flowcharts below show the step up and down process. The first flowchart shows the process that Early Help Services and Workers should follow to step a case up to Children’s Social Care. Early Help Services and Workers mean those providing a universal or targeted support service. The second flowchart shows the process that Children’s Social Care will follow to step a case down to Early Help Services.
Parental responsibility refers to the legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority a
parent has for a child, and therefore how or to what extent they will be involved in interventions and
decisions about the child. The guidance, below, outlines how to determine who has parental responsibility.
Professional Disagreement/Escalation Policy
This guidance is intended to assist practitioners in situations where they consider that the response of another agency/practitioner has not been proportionate to the level of risk or need.
Examples where practitioners have concerns about the welfare of children may arise where they perceive other practitioners have:
- Not recognising need or the signs of harm
- Not sharing information about a child’s welfare
- Not accepting referrals for services
- Not delivering services
- Not co-operating in delivering planned interventions
This guidance should not be used as a replacement for the principles of working in partnership which involves open dialogue, good communication, building trust and a willingness to challenge and be challenged in a supportive environment.
Risk Assessment & Management
It is widely recognised that the assessment and management of risk is central to safeguarding practice. Assessments should reflect the child’s needs; parenting capacity and environmental factors. This informs risk assessment and management.
Neglect - Graded Care Profile
In Tameside, Child Neglect is the second highest category - after Emotional Abuse – for Child Protection Plans.
Research tells us that neglect can negatively impact on a child’s development and often has lifelong implications on children who suffer it. Assessing neglect can be complex as it is
often a longstanding feature in families where there are multiple problems. Tameside Safeguarding Children Board endorses the Graded Care Profile and will be measuring its use in practice and impact upon outcomes for children and young people.
Domestic Abuse - DARIM & DASH
Domestic Abuse remains a key contributing issue to child protection cases in Tameside; a high percentage of children experience emotional abuse as a result of the presence of Domestic Abuse in their lives.
The resources provided here are useful tools for monitoring risk and impact where Domestic Abuse is a factor. The DA Seriousness of Harm Tool is developed from the Barnardos Domestic Abuse Risk Identification Matrix (DARIM); the tool assesses risk of harm indicators and associates these with scales ranging from moderate to severe harm. This then indicates the threshold for response ranging from undertaking a Common Assessment and single practitioner intervention through to a Section 47 Enquiry as part of Child Protection procedures.
The Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) is a meeting at which high risk cases are discussed by all agencies involved with the family, and actions to address and ultimately reduce risk are implemented. Referral into MARAC is dependent on assessment via the Safer Lives (formally CAADA) Risk Identification Checklist.
The Child Safety Plan is a means by which a child is able to identify ways in which they can feel safe and what they can do in an emergency domestic abuse situation; it establishes who can be there as a person of trust for the child or young person to talk to and identifies somewhere they are able to go if they feel unable to be at home.
These guidance notes can be used as a checklist to help you audit safeguarding practice and achieve positive outcomes for all involved. The qualities of a ‘good’ supervisor and supervisee identified here have come from a range of literature on supervision and from direct feedback of Tameside managers and practitioners.
Guidance for Developing a Child Protection Policy
This Model Child Protection Policy has been produced in response to demand from a wide range of organisations for assistance in compiling a child protection policy. The aim of the model policy is to provide an example of possible contents and structure of a child protection policy.
Agencies are recommended to go through the process of developing their own policy, which will be specific to their organisation; the people it employs and serves. It is crucial that members of the organisation are involved in forming the policy; are aware of it and adhere to it.