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1.2.8 Joint Protocol Between Adult Care Services and Children’s Safeguarding and Social Care

AMENDMENT

This chapter was extensively revised and updated in January 2014 and should be re-read in full.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose and Principles
  3. About Adult Care Services
  4. About Children's Social Care
  5. Links with Other Protocols, Procedures and Guidance
  6. Joint Working for Disabled Parents
  7. Responsibilities of Adult Care Services Staff
  8. Responsibilities of Children's Safeguarding and Social Care Staff
  9. Procedure
  10. Financial Responsibility
  11. Joint Working for Young Carers
  12. Joint Working for Young People in Transition
  13. Information Sharing
  14. Conflict Resolution
  15. Training
  16. Review of Protocol

    Appendix 1: Bromley Safeguarding Children Board - Bromley Safeguarding Thresholds Guidance

    Appendix 2: Quick Reference Flowchart


1. Introduction

Bromley Council is committed to ensuring that all children have the best chances in life to achieve their full potential. This protocol is an agreement between Bromley Children's Safeguarding and Social Care services and Bromley Adult Care Services (ACS) setting out the ways in which they will work together to improve outcomes for children and their families.

This protocol considers the necessity of inter-departmental cooperation to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The National Service Framework (NSF) for Children, Young People and Maternity Services 2004 states that “Collaborative arrangements should be in place between services for adults and those for children and families to ensure effective joint assessment and support/treatment to enhance parents’ parenting capacity and protect and promote the well-being and welfare of children”.


2. Purpose and Principles

This joint protocol has been developed to meet the requirements set out in Every Child Matters and the Children Act 2004 that all services should work more closely together to promote the health and well-being of children and young people, families and carers. It is intended as an overarching document relating to all joint working between Adult Care Services and Children's Safeguarding and Social Care. It applies to:

  • Bromley Children's Safeguarding and Social Care Staff; and
  • Bromley Adult Care Services Staff.

Bromley Adults Care Services and Children's Safeguarding and Social Care are committed to working together to improve outcomes for children and their families. The protocol covers all people who may come into contact with both services, with particular reference to:

  • Adults with disabilities with parenting responsibilities;
  • Young carers;
  • Young people and children with disabilities entering adulthood.

At times ACS will be able to make a contribution to the safeguarding of children; they may become aware of risks to children which should be disclosed to Children’s Services, and vice versa. There will also be occasions when safeguarding of children and adults should be done jointly.

All eventualities cannot be covered by this protocol but specific advice is available from Group Managers.


3. About Adult Care Services

Bromley ACS provide services for people who are disabled or ill, so that they and their carers get the care they need and can live as independently as possible.

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust provides services for people with mental health problems in Bromley.

Community care services are available for:

  • Adults aged 18 or over, living in Bromley, who need long-term care because of difficulties related to older age, long term illness or disability; or
  • Carers and / or representative who support an adult aged 18 or over with such needs.


4. About Children's Social Care

Bromley Council Children's Social Care provides help and advice to families with children aged under 18 who are residents of the borough and who are having problems within their family life.

As required by the Children Act 1989, priority for the provision of social care support is given to children who are assessed as being 'in need' and their families. To ensure that services go to those in the greatest need, the Council has eligibility criteria for those who are seeking help from children's safeguarding and social care.

Children's Safeguarding and Social Care carry out assessments of children who may be in need in line with the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and Their Families. Referrals for an assessment of Children in Need, including children at risk of Significant Harm should be made to the relevant Referral & Assessment Team (See Section 5, Responsibilities of Adult Care Services Staff). In all child protection cases the London Child Protection Procedures should be followed.

Children who are defined as being 'in need', under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, are those whose vulnerability is such that they are unlikely to reach or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development, or their health and development will be significantly impaired, without the provision of services (section 17(10) of the Children Act 1989), plus those who are disabled.

Some children are in need because they are suffering, or likely to suffer Significant Harm. Significant harm is the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of a child, and gives local authorities a duty to make enquiries to decide whether they should take action to safeguard or promote the welfare of a child who is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.

Bromley Safeguarding Children's Board (BSCB) has a 'Continuum of Need Triangle' designed to assist professionals to think about the needs of children and young people in a holistic and common way. The BSCB document sets out when a referral to Children's Social Care should be considered and the range of children who may be in need of specialist assessment, support or intervention. For further information please refer to Appendix 1: 'BSCB Safeguarding Continuum document'.


5. Links with Other Protocols, Procedures and Guidance

This is not a stand alone document and is supported by other Council policies and procedures. It should be used in conjunction with the London Child Protection Procedures and the following Bromley Children's Social Care Services documents:


6. Joint Working for Disabled Parents

The majority of disabled parents  will be carrying out their parenting role without needing either Adult or Children's services, particularly if they have the support of family and friends.

However, there are some disabled parents who may need services from an Adult Care team to support and assist them in their parenting role whose children are not in need of any services from Children's Social Care. The Government document Fair Access to Care Services: Practical Guidance says that community care assessments must cover the assistance that someone needs to carry out 'family and other social roles and responsibilities'. It emphasises that 'family responsibilities' include 'parenting roles and responsibilities'.

There are some disabled parents whose children may be in need of services from Children's Social Care, in addition to parenting enabling support from Adult Care Services. It may be that as a result of their disability/illness the parenting they are able to provide cannot completely meet the needs of the child.

Where the Protocol makes reference to working with disabled parents, this is intended to include:

  • Learning disability;
  • Physical or sensory impairment;
  • Long-term and/or chronic illness;
  • Mental illness;
  • Drug and alcohol related difficulties.

For parents with substance misuse problems, professionals should refer to the 'Multi-agency protocol for parents with Substance misuse problems'.

For parents or carers who have mental health problems, professionals should refer to the 'BSCB Procedure to meet the needs of children (including unborn) whose parents or carers have mental health problems'.

The definition of 'parent' is intended to cover disabled adults who:

  • Are pregnant;
  • Are considering becoming a parent;
  • Have a child/children of their own;
  • Provide parenting to other children in the household.

In all cases they are people who would be eligible for an assessment for community-based services, under the Fair Access to Care Services criteria, which draws attention to the need to assess adults in light of their parenting responsibilities.

A quick reference flow chart for referrals into Adult Care Services and Children's Safeguarding and Social Care is included in Appendix 2: Quick Reference Flowchart


7. Responsibilities of Adult Care Services Staff

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2013) sets out the responsibilities of everybody who works or has contact with children, parents and other adults in contact with children. It is the expectation that all ACS Staff:

  • Recognise evidence that a child or young person's health or development may be impaired;
  • Recognise evidence that a child or young person is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm;
  • Know the appropriate action to take and how to make a referral to Children's Safeguarding and Social Care Services.

Where ACS staff are working with parents, service users who are pregnant or those who have regular access to children, whether they reside with them or not, they should consider whether a referral to Children's Safeguarding and Social Care is needed.

The Bromley Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB) Safeguarding Continuum of Need Document can be used to help decide when a referral to Children's Safeguarding and Social Care should be considered.

Factors that Adult Care Services staff should consider in determining whether a referral to Children's Safeguarding and Social Care is needed include:

  • How many children live in the home or visit regularly and what are their ages?
  • Is there a young carer in the household?
  • What impact, if any, does the parent's disability/illness have in their ability to meet their child's needs both before and after birth?
  • Does the child have any unmet needs?
  • Is the child at risk of harm?
  • If the parent is pregnant is she accessing ante-natal care?
  • Does this parent or family appear in need of services?
  • Does the parent engage with services?
If at any time you have reasonable concern that a child or young person has suffered significant harm or may be at immediate or acute risk of suffering significant harm, make a referral directly to Children's Safeguarding and Social Care straightaway.
 


Making a Referral to Children's Social Care

 

The London Child Protection procedures should be followed in all child protection cases.

1. Bromley Social Services Direct (BSSD) gather information from all referrals including details (name and date of birth) of any children in the family/ household and any children with caring responsibilities. This information will be recorded on CareFirst;
2.

Where service users have children, or have regular access to children whether they reside with them or not, ACS staff should make initial checks to identify if the child is known or open to Children's Safeguarding and Social Care. Initial checks can be made through CareFirst. Where cases are known/ open to Children's Safeguarding and Social Care, the allocated social worker or team should be contacted. In the absence of any named social worker/ team the Duty Social worker within Referral & Assessment should be contacted.

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust staff are not able to access the CareFirst system and where there are concerns should contact Children's Safeguarding & Social Care Referral & Assessment Team to make initial checks where there are concerns around the impact of service users contact with children;
3. Where a child is not known to Children's Safeguarding and Social Care but where they are considered to be a possible child in need a referral to Children's Safeguarding and Social Care should be made. Permission to make a referral should be sought except in cases where the child or young person is at immediate risk. If there are any concerns about a child or young person a Duty Social Worker within the Referral and Assessment Team (RAT) can be contacted to discuss concerns;
4. If you think that a child or young person in a caring role would benefit from additional support, a referral to the Carers Bromley Young Carers Service should be made (See Section 9, Procedure);
5. Where a child does not meet the threshold criteria for Children's Safeguarding and Social Care but they may require additional support, consideration should be given to initiating a Common Assessment (CAF). The CAF is a standard approach to conducting an assessment of the needs of a child and deciding how they should be met. Further information is available on the Department for Education website or from the Bromley CAF Team (Tel: 020 8461 7174).

All referrals for children should be made to:

Referral and Assessment Team

First Floor, St Blaise Building,
Civic Centre,
Stockwell Close,
Bromley,
BR1 3UH
Tel: 020 8461 7373/ 7379/ 7404/ 7309Monday - Thursday 8:45am - 5:00pm
Friday 8:45am - 4:45pm

Out of Hours - Emergency Duty Team:

0208 464 4848
Monday to Thursday - 5.00 pm - 8:45 am
Weekends and Bank Holidays: 5:00pm - 9:00am the next working day

All referrals should be sent in writing using the referral form. The exception is in the case of urgent child protection, where the referral will be taken over the phone and followed up in writing by the next working day.

When referring parents with a disability to Children's Social Care the referral should highlight that the parent has additional support needs relating to mental health, learning disability, physical and/or sensory impairment, a long-term health problem or a drug/alcohol-related problem.

Children with complex disability, except where those children are at risk of significant harm and require immediate assessment, will be dealt with by the Children's Disability Team. Referrals should be made via Bromley Social Services Direct (BSSD) on Tel: 0208 461 7777

Joint Assessments

Wherever possible staff from both Adults and Children's Services should undertake assessment work together through the sharing of information and reaching a shared view.


8. Responsibilities of Children's Safeguarding and Social Care Staff

It is the expectation that all social workers in Children's Safeguarding and Social Care are able to identify whether parents or carers may require a Community Care Assessment from ACS.

For help in identifying whether the parent/carer might require an assessment, the Fair Access to Care Services Eligibility criteria for ACS can be referred to (Appendix 4 of Guide to Assessment and Care Management). For advice the Duty Senior Care Manager can be contacted.

As part of the initial and/or core assessment social workers should identify:

  • Does the child have parents with disabilities or other family members with disabilities?
  • Could the child be a young carer?
  • Is the family member for whom they are caring already receiving services from adult care services or another agency?
  • Is there behaviour that raises concern or indicates a risk to self or others, including children?
  • Has the person needing care been offered a Community Care Assessment or made aware of how to contact appropriate services?

Referrals to Adult Care Services

  1. Social workers in Children's Safeguarding and Social Care Services should make initial checks to identify if the parent/ carer of a child or young person or those who have regular access to children are known or open cases to ACS. Initial checks can be made through CareFirst. Where cases are known to or open to ACS, the allocated care manager or team should be contacted. In the absence of any named social worker/ team the Duty Senior Care Manager should be contacted for advice;

    The Oxleas NHS Trust mental health database cannot be accessed directly by Safeguarding and Social Care staff 'but can be accessed via, The Liaison and Intake Team 0208 466 2500;
  2. Wherever a parent with a disability requires an assessment of their needs, a referral should be made to ACS by contacting BSSD (Tel: 020 8461 7777 BSSD will redirect to the appropriate team). Permission to make a referral should be sought. The assessment will consider what assistance the parent with disabilities requires both to meet their own needs and to care for their children. The Disabled Parent will be eligible for assistance from Adult Care Services where they fall within the critical or substantial banding of the Fair Access to Care Services Eligibility Criteria;
  3. When referring disabled parents to adults' services the referral should clearly state that the case involves a disabled adult with parenting responsibility.

Joint Assessment

Wherever possible staff from both Adults and Children's Services should undertake assessment work together through the sharing of information and reaching a shared view.


9. Procedure

The following will be employed by both ACS and Children’s Social Care as a consistent and coordinated approach to meeting the needs of both parents and their children:

  • At the point of Community Care Needs Assessment the needs of the individual and their parenting role need to be considered when developing care plans;
  • ACS will be required to initially assess and record the presence and the needs of any children in the family unit who could possible move into a carer role. ACS will be required to check if the child is known or open to Children’s Social Care and alerted to any concerns at the earliest opportunity, ACS and Children’s Social Care will need to work together to develop crisis strategies to ensure that all needs are addressed in case the situation changes or deteriorates;
  • The identification of a child/children in the family should act as a trigger for an onward referral to the Local Young Carers project with agreed consent., The impact of the caring role upon the child should always be considered and the child (depending on their age)  should be offered a choice about the level of assistance they wish to contribute;
  • Sufficient care will need to be taken to ensure that pre-school children’s need are met and cater for;
  • Where medication is being administered the parent must be able to self-administer without reliance on the children in the family. Children should never be expected to administer medication to any other family members. The capacity of both the parent and child will need to be recorded in relation to acts of medication;
  • Outcomes for any Young Carers Assessment need to be taken into account alongside those of parents’ assessment to support the aims of a care plan (refer to Young Carers Protocol);
  • Provision of support services should be timely and responsive to the needs of the whole family. This will include reducing or removing the need for the children to take on appropriate or excessive levels of caring.

Areas of provision to be considered for the service user:

  • Personal care;
  • Housework/Shopping;
  • Laundry;
  • Support & information;
  • Access to leisure activities;
  • Social inclusion.

Areas of provision to be considered for the child/children:

  • Assistance in preparation for school age children, this may include washing and dressing;
  • Transporting the child/children to school;
  • Access to leisure activities/social inclusion;
  • Support & information;
  • Support in meeting school and housework requirements.

Wherever possible, staff from both Adults and Children’s Services should undertake assessment work together through the sharing of information and reaching a shared view where possible on care plans and service inputs.

Strategy meetings/discussion, child protection conference, and core group meetings, must be attended by staff from both services directly involved with the family.


10. Financial Responsibility

Services for disabled parents who provide support to adults in exercising their role as parents are the responsibility of ACS.

Where there is a joint working arrangement in place, the principle is that lead responsibility should be focussed around the support for the disabled parent, with the care manager ensuring that the agreed services are in place. Financial responsibility is likely to be shared between the teams involved.

Financial responsibility rests with Children's Social Care where children are assessed as being 'in need' or where there are safeguarding concerns (Section 47 of the Children Act 1989).

Wherever services are provided through ACS, the Fairer Charging Policy will apply and an assessment to determine the level of the service user's contribution towards the service should be undertaken.


11. Joint Working for Young Carers

Young Carers are young people between 4 and 18 years whose lives are in some way restricted because of the need to take responsibility or care for someone in their family with long-term illness, disability, mental health issues, an alcohol/substance misuse problem or HIV. Caring tasks can involve physical or emotional care. The impact of taking on a caring role can include underachievement or absenteeism at school, negative affects on physical or mental health, and poverty.

The primary aim of ACS and Children's Social Care should be to ensure that people with disabilities do not have to rely on the inappropriate caring role of a child. Additionally, support should be given to young carers and their families to reduce the impact of the caring role on the child.

When assessing a person for Community Care support, the impact of that package on children in the person's family should be considered. It is not acceptable to offer a community care package that depends on a child carrying out caring responsibilities that are inappropriate to their age, regardless of how competent they appear to be.

A carer who is aged under 16 may request a young carers' assessment (and this request must be granted) whenever the person they care for is assessed or re-assessed by Adult Care Services. Carers over 16 may request a carers' assessment at any time. The young person can also be offered an assessment under the Common Assessment Framework by a suitably trained worker or be referred to Carers Bromley Young Carers Service.

Making a referral to Carers Bromley Young Carers Service

To make a referral to Carers Bromley Young Carers Service, use the contact details below:

E-mail: help@carersbromley.org.uk
Phone: 01689 89 82 89
Web: www.carersbromley.org.uk
Address: Carers Bromley Young Carers Service,
28 Chislehurst Road,
Orpington,
BR6 0DG

See Protocol for Children and Young People's Services and Adult and Community Services for Young Carers for more information.


12. Joint Working for Young People in Transition

Bromley Council is committed to ensuring that young people and children with disabilities enter adulthood feeling supported and empowered to participate both socially and economically within their communities. Young people are supported to be at the centre of this transition process and are encouraged to determine the planning of their future.

The Transition Team Operational Policy details when and how information is shared internally between the Children's Disability Team and ACS, enabling strategic planning and commissioning of future services.

The underlying principles of the Transition Team Operational Policy are:

  • Services and systems should be established to ensure the aims of 'Building a Better Bromley';
  • Care planning should take place across boundaries, both internal and between agencies;
  • Young people and their families/carers will be fully involved in the development of their Person Centred Transition Plan which incorporates their views, wishes and aspirations;
  • All eligible young people will receive a formal Transition Plan and Community Care Assessment within the 6 month period following their 16th birthday;
  • A copy of the 16+ Transition Plan and Community Care assessment will be supplied to the Learning Disability Service Commissioners;
  • All young adults will have a completed Community Care Assessment and agreed Care Plan by their 18th birthday;
  • Timely information will be provided to young people and their families/carers to enable them to make informed decisions and to have a realistic understanding of future provision.


13. Information Sharing

Sharing of information amongst practitioners working with children and their families is essential. In many cases it is only when information from a range of sources is put together that a child can be seen to be in need or at risk of harm.

Information should normally only be shared with explicit and informed consent except where to seek consent will put a vulnerable person at risk (Children Act 1989 and Data Protection Act 1998) to prevent a crime or as directed by a court (Data Protection Act 1998).

It shall be the normal working practice of both Adult Care Services and Children's Safeguarding and Social Care to obtain the consent of parent(s) and/or the child/young person prior to sharing information unless it is judged that to do so may place the child at risk of significant harm.

The Government has issued guidance in respect of information sharing entitled 'Information Sharing: Practitioners' Guide.


14. Conflict Resolution

If there is a conflict regarding conclusions about assessments or interventions that cannot be resolved by the workers from each service, this should be referred to the relevant Heads of Service for Children's Social Care and ACS. In the unlikely event that a conflict cannot be resolved this should be brought to the attention of the Assistant Director of Prevention and Safeguarding Children's Services and the Assistant Director Care Services, ACS.


15.Training

All frontline ACS staff are expected to undertake child protection training. Details of courses are available from the Bromley Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB).


16.Review of Protocol

This protocol will be reviewed on an annual basis. The need for an earlier review may be agreed between Children’s Social Care and ACS. It will be necessary to review practice and consider any areas for further development as requested.


Appendix 1: Bromley Safeguarding Children Board - Bromley Safeguarding Thresholds Guidance

Click here to view this guidance


Appendix 2: Quick Reference Flowchart

Click here to view flowchart

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