Children, Families and Education Directorate - Children's Social Services Index of Social Work Tasks and Responsibilities

Children, Families and Education Directorate - Children's Social Services Index of Social Work Tasks and Responsibilities
Children, Families and
Education Directorate
   Children’s Social Services
Index of Social Work Tasks and
Children, Families and Education Directorate - Children's Social Services Index of Social Work Tasks and Responsibilities
PJ ASD 01622 694658

                        Photos on following pages courtesy of Cover top
                      left, top centre, top right and bottom far right. Page 2: Top centre, top right.
                                Page 3: Top centre. Page 33: far right. Page 39: Top right.

                                                      March 2007

                                  Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
Children, Families and Education Directorate - Children's Social Services Index of Social Work Tasks and Responsibilities
Children, Families and Education Directorate
                Children’s Social Services
               Index of Social Work Tasks
                  and Responsibilities

                               Contents                           Page
Introduction                                                       2

Chapter 1 - Introduction to Social Work                            3

Chapter 2 - Introduction to Children's Social Work Services in Kent 9

Chapter 3 - Kent Policy Framework                                  15

Chapter 4 - Assessment and Intervention services                   22

Chapter 5 - County and Specialist Services                         27

Chapter 6 - Externally commissioned statutory services             33

Chapter 7 - Ancillary services for Children in Need                36

Chapter 8 - Strategy, Policy and Performance                       39

Appendix 1 - Glossary of frequently used terms and acronyms        46

Appendix 2 - Legislative and national policy framework             49

Appendix 3 - Kent policy framework                                 50

Appendix 4 CSS - organisation, staffing & core activity            51
Children, Families and Education Directorate - Children's Social Services Index of Social Work Tasks and Responsibilities

    The Children Act 2004 requires major changes in the way agencies work
    together. While the legislation does not change the core tasks of
    Children’s Social Services, this document, which describes the tasks and
    responsibilities of Children’s Social Services and how these are organised
    in Kent, has been developed to contribute to improving partnership working
    by promoting a better understanding of the social work role.

    Every effort has been made to avoid jargon in this document and to clarify
    acronyms. In addition, a Glossary of terms is attached as Appendix 1.

2                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
Children, Families and Education Directorate - Children's Social Services Index of Social Work Tasks and Responsibilities
Chapter 1
               Introduction to Social Work

    Legislative and national policy framework
Children’s Social Services is very heavily regulated and a table setting
out the legislative and national policy framework is attached as Appendix
2. However, a synopsis of key legislation is set out below:

The Local Authorities Social Services Act 1970 provides the
framework for accountability and responsibility for social work services.
It states that every local authority with social services responsibilities has
a statutory responsibility to designate an individual to be accountable and
responsible for ensuring:

m      The quality of services that are in place for supporting and
       protecting children;
m      That there are management and accountability structures in place
       that deliver safe and effective services.

The Children Act 2004 vests these responsibilities in the Director of
Children’s Services (DCS). In Kent the Managing Director of Children,
Families and Education Directorate is the Director of Children’s Services
for the purposes of this Act.

The Children Act 1989 and its supporting regulations and guidance
provide the main legal framework for children’s social work. The Act
introduced the following terminology:

                Children, Families and Education Directorate                     3
Children, Families and Education Directorate - Children's Social Services Index of Social Work Tasks and Responsibilities
Children in need (CIN) - the Children Act 1989 introduced the
           term Children in Need and the Act states that ‘a child shall be
           taken to be in need if:

           ‘he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of
           achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or
           development with the provision to him of services by a local
           authority;his health or development is likely to be significantly
           impaired, or further impaired without the provision for him of such
           services or he is disabled’.

    Children within the child protection and looked after children’s systems
    are Children in Need.

    m      Child Protection (CP) – a primary task for Children’s Social
           Services is to protect children who are at risk of significant harm
           (legal definition) through abuse or neglect. Effective child
           protection services require collaboration across a number of
           organisations. Social Services practitioners engaged in child
           protection work link closely with the police.

           Children’s Social Services are currently responsible for
           maintaining a child protection register of children whom a child
           protection conference has agreed are at continuing risk of abuse
           or neglect and require a child protection plan.    The register may
           not be necessary once information sharing indexes are in place
           across the country.

           The child protection plan must be reviewed at regular intervals set
           by statutory regulations. The % of reviews held on time is
           monitored by government under the Performance Assessment
           Framework and contributes towards the authority’s star rating.

    m      Looked after Children (LAC) – children may be subject to a care
           order made by a court or accommodated at the request of their
           parent(s). Children normally come into care because they have
           been abused or neglected. If a child is subject to a care order this
           means that his/her parental responsibilities are shared between
           the parents and the local authority through its social services. This
           means that to all intents and purposes the rights and
           responsibilities of a parent are held by Social Services on behalf

4                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
Children, Families and Education Directorate - Children's Social Services Index of Social Work Tasks and Responsibilities
of the local authority and operated through the child’s social worker.
       If the child is accommodated parental responsibility remains with
       the parents.

       Plans for looked after children are set out in Care plans, which must
       be reviewed at regular intervals as set out in statutory regulations.
       Local authorities are assessed on the % of reviews conducted on

m      Disabled Children - the Children Act 1989 Act sets out that a child
       is disabled if he is ‘blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from mental
       disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently
       handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other
       disability as may be prescribed’. In this context ‘development’
       means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural
       development. ‘Health’ means physical or mental health. The Act
       emphasised the need to recognise disabled children as children first
       even though they may have specific needs.

m      Working in partnership - the Children Act 1989 also requires
       Children’s Social Services to work in partnership with parents,
       carers and other agencies in the best interests of children.
       Partners include a whole range of colleagues from other parts of
       the local authority, health agencies, police, and schools, Youth
       Offending Service, Probation, Asylum service, District Councils and
       the voluntary sector.

Inevitably the form of partnership with other agencies will be different from
that entered into with parents/family or children. Partnership can mean
many things and does not necessarily mean equality in terms of decision
making and it is important to be clear which it is in any given

The role of the social worker requires them particularly to be expert in
developing successful partnerships with children and their families, often in
circumstances where they are protecting children and promoting their
welfare while the family are in conflict with each other and the authority.
Achieving a successful partnership on a long-term basis is therefore a
challenging task that goes through various stages that require patience,
time and commitment to maintain.

                 Children, Families and Education Directorate                   5
Children, Families and Education Directorate - Children's Social Services Index of Social Work Tasks and Responsibilities
The Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and their
    Families (DOH 2000) is statutory guidance that is fundamental to social
    work as it sets out the way social workers must collect, record,
    understand and analyse information against 3 key dimensions often
    referred to as the ‘assessment triangle’:

           m      Child’s individual needs
           m      Parenting capacity
           m      Family and environmental factors

    The framework comprises:

    m      An initial assessment that must be completed within 7 days. Initial
           assessments undertaken by professionals from other agencies
           can be accepted by Social Services as long as they provide
           sufficient information across the dimensions and this is used to
           inform an analysis of the problems. The Common Assessment
           Framework (CAF) is similar to a social work initial assessment.
           The initial assessment determines whether a case is eligible for a
           social work service;

    m      If the initial assessment confirms that the case is eligible then a
           core assessment, which is a specialist social work assessment, is
           pursued in order to determine the level of the child’s needs and
           how these might be met. This process must be completed within
           35 days. Core Assessments often run in parallel with child
           protection investigations and care proceedings. Social workers
           rely on contributions from colleagues in health and education to
           provide a holistic view of the child and their family. The framework
           timescales are monitored by DfES as part of the Performance
           Assessment Framework that applies to Social Services activities;

    m      Other specialist assessments might also be required. These are
           separate from and additional to core assessments and not subject
           to the same timescales.

    The NHS & Community Care Act 1990 introduced the
    purchaser/provider concept and provides the framework for Children’s
    Social Services commissioning function. Funding of services
    commissioned through voluntary organisations is made in accordance
    with powers under S.65 of the Health Services and Public Health Act
6                Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
Children, Families and Education Directorate - Children's Social Services Index of Social Work Tasks and Responsibilities
The social work practitioner
Title - the title of ‘social worker’ is reserved to those with specific
qualifications and social workers now have to register with the Social
Care Council in order to work as a social worker. To retain their
registration social workers have to demonstrate that they have engaged
in required levels of relevant training and development.

Statutory tasks - there are certain tasks that only a registered social
worker employed by a local authority may undertake. These include:

m      Undertaking child protection investigations;
m      Undertaking initial, core, foster and adoption assessments;
m      Developing and driving the Child Protection (or CIN) plan;
m      Initiating legal proceedings to apply for a range of orders including
       admitting children to the care system and placing them for
m      Developing and driving the LAC care plan, which covers all the
       needs of the child including rehabilitation, his/her health, education
       and after care arrangements;
m      Undertaking key worker (Lead Professional) function for LAC and
       discharging the parental responsibilities in partnership with parents
       depending upon the legal status of the child. This includes
       primary responsibility for promoting the health, education and
       welfare of the child;
m      Leaving care functions;
m      Independent Reviewing Officer functions;

Qualification - social workers become qualified through a 3 or 4 year
degree course or by studying for a post graduate degree. They are
trained to use a range of theoretical and conceptual models to inform
their work including:

m      Child development
m      Child psychology
m      Psychodynamic theory
m      Attachment theory
m      Learning theory

Training and development – social workers are required to complete
post qualifying training leading to the Child Care Award.
               Children, Families and Education Directorate                     7
Children, Families and Education Directorate - Children's Social Services Index of Social Work Tasks and Responsibilities
Core tasks and skills - social work tasks may be described as:

    m      Direct - which include assessment, surveillance and control,
           counseling, mediation, work with families to change their
    m      Indirect – which include case management, purchasing services
           for individual children, commissioning services for cohorts of
           children, monitoring performance, supervising and developing

    Social workers seldom occupy only one of these roles with a client or
    family or group.   There are also additional tasks associated with social
    work specialisms.

    Supervision – regular ‘clinical’ supervision by a qualified Practice
    Supervisor or line manager is necessary to ensure that social work prac-
    tice is safe and effective. This supervision not only monitors performance,
    workload management and promotes personal development but also sup-
    ports the social worker in managing the often traumatic events that they
    witness and helps them make difficult decisions relating to the lives and
    welfare of children.

                    Standards and Inspection
    The Commission for Social Care Inspectorate (CSCI) is currently
    responsible for ensuring that standards within children’s Social Services
    are met. CSCI is due to become integrated with OfSTED. The key CSCI
    Standard that sums up social services responsibilities is:

    ‘Children and their families receive responsive services which avoid
    family breakdown wherever possible, prevent harm and promote
    children’s life chances’.

    Children’s Social Services performance is assessed annually under the
    Performance Assessment Framework (PAF) as part of the Annual
    Performance Assessment (APA) process. For the first time in 2005 this
    assessment was undertaken jointly with Local Education Authority

    The Integrated Inspection programme that is currently being piloted will
    also involve a Joint Area Review (JAR) which will cover all services for

8                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
Chapter Two
     Introduction to Children’s Social Work
                Services in Kent

The purpose of the Children’s Social Services Division is to plan, deliver,
commission and develop services that provide protection for children at
risk of abuse or neglect, that comprehensively meet the needs of children
who are in public care, and that provide support to Children in Need.

Children’s Social Services, often in partnership with other statutory
agencies and the independent sector, also has an important leadership
role in the community to provide guidance and services that prevent the
need for interventions in families.

Kent’s Children’s Social Services Division, one of the largest in England,
consists of 1,300 staff and 75 staff teams. The service has a net budget
of £75m.

Following the Children Act 2004, Children’s Social Services Division was
separated from Adults Social Services and combined with education
services to establish a new entity: the Children, Families and Education

The period 2006/7 is the first operational year for the new Children’s
Social Services Division, and has been marked by significant change.

               Children, Families and Education Directorate                   9
     Children’s Social Services had achieved 3 stars before re-organisation
     and the Division has sustained its performance with a classification of
     excellent through the Government’s Comprehensive Performance
     Assessment in November 2006 with 15 PAF Indicators in the top
     performing Bands. Particular achievements were improving stability of
     Looked after Children and the timeliness of reviews for looked after
     children and children on the CP register. All CP reviews were held within
     timescales and 96% of LAC reviews were held on time.

     Children’s Social Services Division (CSS) is part of the Children, Families
     and Education Directorate and its work is organised as follows:

     m      Assessment (and intervention services) – Duty, Long Term teams,
            Family Support teams and Private Fostering
     m      County and Specialist Services – Asylum, Family Group
            Conferencing, Disabled Children’s, Fostering and Adoption
            Services and Residential & Respite units
     m      Commissioned services and collaborative working
     m      Business support - Planning, performance monitoring, contracting

     The assessment and intervention services are organised into 12 Districts
     that have the same boundaries as Kent’s 12 District Councils. These in
     turn are linked in groups line managed by a Head of Service:

     m      East Kent group – Swale, Thanet and Canterbury
     m      Mid Kent group – Dover, Folkestone, Ashford, Maidstone
     m      West Kent group – Gravesend, Dartford, Swanley, Tonbridge &
            Malling, Tunbridge Wells

     Services are delivered from 75 teams and the deployment of these teams
     can be found in Appendix 4.

     The organisation of Children’s Social Services is kept under review to
     ensure that it is as efficient, flexible and cost effective as possible.

10                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
Management - the CSS senior management team comprises:

m      Director of Children’s Social Services Division
m      3 operational Heads of Service (Assessment and intervention
m      Head of Specialist Services Unit
m      Head of Asylum Unit
m      Head of CSS Business Unit

The wider management team includes the 12 District Managers and
Service Managers for Disabled Children, Asylum, Fostering, Adoption,
Family Group Conferencing and Residential/respite services.

All managers of children’s social work operational must be qualified social
workers and experienced in children and families social work.

Social Workers – Kent Children’s Social Services employs approximate-
ly 300 qualified social workers in front line and fostering and adoption
services at any one time. The detail of how these practitioners are
deployed can be found in Appendix 4.

Recruitment & retention of social workers – there is a national
shortage of social workers and Kent has been proactive in developing a
range of recruitment and retention practices known as the Staff Care
Package that include:

m      Ready for Practice scheme (Kent growing its own)
m      Competitive salaries
m      Range of roles that extend practice – Practice Supervisor, Senior
m      Skill mix approach
m      Exchange programme
m      Sabbaticals

Professional training and development – Kent has a dedicated
Children’s Professional Training Manager and Training Consultants who
together co-ordinate the provision of a range of professional training that
supports the Post Qualifying Framework and includes mandatory courses

               Children, Families and Education Directorate                   11
that are intended to equip newly qualified practitioners for the complexity
     of their tasks. Increasingly, training is multi-agency in nature. Kent also
     provides a range of development opportunities that include coaching,
     mentoring, shadowing, secondments and topic based workshops.

     Supervision and support – Kent Children’s Social Services has a spe-
     cific supervision policy that sets out the requirements and commitments in
     relation to the supervision of social work practitioners. Specialist dedicat-
     ed Practice Supervisor posts were created in 2003/4 in recognition of the
     importance of this task.

     Para professionals – as part of the skill mix approach Children’s Social
     Services has gone through a process of identifying core tasks that only
     social workers may undertake and have delegated others either to skilled
     support staff or para professionals.

     Most teams now have assistant practitioners whose role it is to support
     social workers in undertaking their core tasks. These staff have their own
     training and development path and there is no expectation or guarantee
     that they will qualify as social workers.

                                 Core activity
     Every year Children’s Social Services receives in the region of 14,000
     referrals, undertakes around 2,500 child protection investigations and is
     working with:

     m      700 children on the Child Protection Register
     m      1,250 Looked after Children
     m      900 disabled children
     m      200 unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people

     A table setting out greater detail of CSS core activity is provided in
     Appendix 4.

                       Commissioning services
     Kent Children’s Social Services commissioning role is located at various
     levels within the organisation depending upon the size, level and cost.

12                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
The services it commissions fall into two categories:

m      Statutory
m      Non statutory

Commissioned statutory services may be located in-house or externally.
Examples of services that are commissioned in-house are:

m      Fostering, including specialist fostering schemes
m      Adoption Support Service
m      Residential Respite for disabled children
m      Specialist residential provision for children with severe attachment
       disorders (Alderden House)

These are part of Specialist Services.

The following statutory services are commissioned through external

m      16 Plus Leaving Care Service - Rainer
m      Complaints and Representation Service for CIN - NCH
m      Independent Support for Adopted Adults and their families - NCH
m      Upfront Advocacy Service for Kent LAC – Church in Society

Children’s Social Services also commissions non-statutory services
externally jointly with other agencies. These may be categorised as
treatment or early intervention. For example:

m      The Cherry Tree, Oak Tree (both NCH) and Chilston (Barnardos)
       services were jointly commissioned with Health to provide
       treatment for children who have been sexually abused;
m      Homestart has been commissioned in some Districts to provide an
       early intervention service for vulnerable families.

Children’s Social Services spends approximately £12m on services
commissioned from voluntary organisations and a further £5m+ on
placements and other services for individual children.

               Children, Families and Education Directorate                   13
Business and Performance
                       Management Unit
     The Business and Performance Unit provides a range of business
     support services to assist the districts and the other children’s social
     service units to plan, commission and deliver the pattern of social work
     services required to meet identified needs.

     Services provided include:

     m      A small planning section that assists with service developments
     m      Contracts support team that oversees 150 contracts and service
     m      Management Support team that oversees the CSS property
            portfolio of 45 buildings, some office facilities and a customer care
     m      A Performance Monitoring section that produces management and
            performance monitoring information and maintains data quality to
            monitor the effectiveness of CSS

14                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
Chapter Three
                   Kent Policy Framework

In addition to the national policy and legislative framework, Kent has
developed a range of local policy to reflect its priorities. Set out below are
the key policies that shape the way Kent’s Children’s Social Services
operate. A table setting out further detail of the local policy framework is
set out in Appendix 3.

          Permanence and Stability Policy
It is well evidenced and documented that being in the looked after
children system does not benefit children in terms of their health,
education, family and social relationships or success in adult life despite
the efforts of dedicated foster carers and professionals. Looked after
Children are over-represented in prison populations and amongst the
homeless. Their experiences and the instability of their lives means that
their health and educational opportunity and attainment is generally poor.

Therefore, it is Kent’s policy to achieve permanence by:

m      Preventing children becoming looked after wherever possible.
       Social workers are expected to make every effort where it is safe
       to do so to maintain a child in his/her home or within their
       extended family or community;
m      Considering adoption for all children 10 and under where it is not
       possible for them to remain within their extended family. Long

               Children, Families and Education Directorate                      15
term care is a last resort for younger children but may provide stability for
     older children.

     Kent’s Permanence and Stability policy is supported by 2 further policies:

     m      Family Group Conferencing (FGC) - Family Group Conferencing
             is a process that engages families in decision-making when a
            child from the family is at risk of being taken into care and where
            the Social Services agrees to enter into a partnership with the
            family network and the parents to plan and make decisions that
            will keep children safe.

            The FGC model works on the principle that parents and their
            family network have a right to be involved in decisions that affect
            them, that given good information, families can make effective and
            safe plans, and that the clients and their families know themselves
            best. It is an effective tool for devolving power to families that
            has traditionally been held by professionals. Research shows
            overwhelmingly that when families are given an opportunity to
            enter into this method of planning and decision making they are
            more likely to have ownership of plans and decisions than when
            professionals make them on their behalf.

            It is now mandatory that all children in Kent who are 10 and under
            must be offered a FGC if they are at risk of being taken into care
            or have been taken into care in an emergency. However, it is
            important to recognise that the process cannot deliver a solution in
            every case.

            There is also a FGC service being piloted in West Kent targeting
            children with poor school attendance and a FGC service for
            adult’s services.

     m      Kinship care policy – this policy emphasises a commitment to
            retain children within their extended families or communities
            wherever possible if they cannot continue to live with their parents.
            It also reinforces Kent’s commitment to the ‘no order’ principle set
            out in the Children Act 1989. In essence this means that a court
            order should only be used to protect a child where it can be
            demonstrated that such an order is necessary. Therefore,
            wherever possible Kent tries to facilitate kinship arrangements that
            are based on agreement rather than legal directives, so
16                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
normalising a child’s living arrangements without the need for the
       child to be formally ‘looked after’.

          Eligibility and Threshold Criteria
Following the publication of Messages from Research (DoH) HMSO 1994
Kent was one of the few local authorities to attempt to embrace the prin-
ciple of prevention and early intervention and to extend its services to all
children in need rather than restricting eligibility to those at risk.
However, the Safeguards Inspection in 2000 identified that this aspiration
was being pursued at the cost of protecting children.

Therefore, Kent Children’s Social Services reviewed its Eligibility Criteria
and came to the following conclusions:

m      Social workers are not the best people to provide early
       preventative or intervention services as they have statutory
       powers and their involvement can be stigmatising and raise
       anxieties and hostility;
m      Preventative and early intervention services are best
       commissioned on a multi-agency rather than a single agency
m      Voluntary sector providers have particular expertise in this area of
       work and are more likely to be seen as user friendly;
m      Social Workers are in short supply and their skills and experience
       are required for statutory work;
m      Children’s Social Services could not manage the high number of
       referrals and retain its focus upon its primary tasks – child
       protection and Looked after Children;
m      Children’s Social Services was not funded to provide services to
       this wider group of children.

A CIN Matrix was, therefore, developed to guide and help Duty managers
when evaluating referrals in order to focus scarce CSS resources where
these are most needed, namely children who are experiencing a high
level of need, which is likely to result in them being at risk of significant
harm if there is no intervention or they are disabled children with
profound and complex needs who might be at risk of family breakdown.
The CIN Matrix headings are deliberately designed to use both the
language of social work and definitions that are common to other

               Children, Families and Education Directorate                     17
services and identifies children/families under the following headings:

     m      Children in need of protection (statutory intervention, tier 4 or 5)
     m      CIN with high priority needs (statutory services, tier 3)
     m      CIN with moderate needs (early intervention, tier 2)
     m      Vulnerable children (primary prevention, tier 1)

     While Kent Social Services had no choice but to restrict eligibility to its
     direct services to ensure that it could respond appropriately to child protec-
     tion referrals it continues to be committed to prevention and early interven-
     tion and strengthened its commissioning role to ensure that a range of
     services designed to reduce the incidence of risk and avoid harm or family
     breakdown are developed.

                        Commissioning policy
     Kent Children’s Social Services distinguishes purchasing a service to
     meet the specific needs of a particular child from commissioning services
     for groups or cohorts of children and their families with similar needs.
     Children’s Social Services does both but became a major commissioner of
     services for vulnerable children and their families following the NHS and
     Community Care Act 1990. Kent took a decision that wherever possible
     and appropriate it should apply commissioning principles to children’s
     provider services. The following criteria were developed to help deter-
     mine whether a service should be purchased or commissioned in-house or

     m      Where there is a statutory duty to provide service directly (for
            example, it is not possible to commission others to undertake child
            protection investigations or to instigate care proceedings);
     m      The authority needs to provide them because the external market is
            unable or unwilling to provide them to the standards determined
            and at a price the authority is willing to pay;
     m      The authority elects to provide a proportion of the service to avoid
            over-reliance on external providers;
     m      Where customer choice and/or public expectation of public
            provision in the mixed economy is an essential ingredient;
     m      The services are preventative or early intervention – because it was
            recognised that the statutory nature of children’s social work

18                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
services is seen as stigmatising and may deter those who need
      them from seeking help voluntarily at an early stage.

To facilitate the commissioning process Children’s Social Services use a
language that it has in common with Health to define levels or tiers of
service or interventions. An integrated table of definitions (Levels of
Service and Need) has been developed to try to extend this common lan-
guage across mainstream agencies.         CSS commissions:

m     Statutory services that are specialist and support the core activity of
      CSS (Tier 3 or 4) such as Fostering and the 16Plus Service. The
      former is commissioned internally and the latter externally in
      accordance with the rules set out above.
m     Non statutory services that are always commissioned externally
      may be:
      m      Specialist (tier 3) services, e.g. NCH Cherry Tree treatment
      m      Early intervention services (tier 2) that are designed to
             prevent family breakdown and support CSS Permanence
             and Stability and Eligibility and Threshold Criteria policies.

Increasingly common interests have enabled the joint commissioning of
both statutory and non statutory services with other agencies (e.g. Thanet
multi-agency service and Adolescent Resource Centre in West Kent and
the Primary Intervention Project).

The concept of collaborative commissioning was born following the
development of Kent’s Preventative Strategy and the Children’s Consortia.
This is distinguished from joint commissioning which is where two or more
agencies jointly fund a service. Collaborative commissioning is where
agencies pool resources other than money (such as staff) to provide a
service. Examples of collaborative services are:

m     WAVE in Dover
m     Causeway in Folkestone

Children’s Social Services is not funded to provide preventative or early
intervention services and investment in early intervention services is
always fragile. One of the major challenges facing all children’s social
services is developing the capacity to provide preventative and early
intervention services in the face of continuing pressures to resource Child
Protection, Looked after Children services and services for high level
                Children, Families and Education Directorate                    19
Children in Need and disabled children. Many recent initiatives (such as
     WAVE and Causeway) were part financed by savings within Social
     Services as a result of reducing the number of Kent LAC under PSA1, and
     by PSA1 reward money.          The hope is that the services will impact and
     reduce referrals into Children’s Social Services so enabling it to invest
     further in early intervention.

                   Looked after Children policy
     Kent is taking a holistic approach to achieving the 5 Every Child Matters
     outcomes for Looked after Children as set out in the Healthy Care
     programme which reflects the fact that outcomes for Looked after Children
     depend upon a variety of factors and that the term ‘health’ should be seen
     as a broad concept. Healthy Care has identified the following 6 key
     standards, which broadly correspond to the developmental needs set out
     in the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their
     Families, that local authorities should aspire to. Looked after Children

     m     Feel safe, protected and valued. They should be able to develop a
           sustained committed relationship to at least one carer;
     m     Live in a caring, healthy and learning environment;
     m     Feel respected and supported in their cultural beliefs and personal
     m     Have priority access to excellent and effective health care;
     m     Have opportunities to develop personal and social skills and talents
           and abilities and to have free time to spend as they choose on play,
           culture or leisure;
     m     Be prepared for leaving care by being supported to live, care and
           provide for him/herself in the future.

     To achieve these standards Children’s Social Services must address the 4

     m     Policy – identify services that meet the needs of Looked after
     m     Partnership – work with appropriate multi-agency partners at a
           strategic level to plan and commission those services;
     m     Practice – ensure that both practitioners and carers are committed
           to promoting the well being of Looked after Children and are well

20                Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
trained and supported to do so;
m      Participation – respect for the rights and responsibilities of Looked
       after Children and their carers and involve them in all aspects of
       service delivery.

Kent’s policy also emphasises the importance of Corporate Parenting.
This concept of Corporate Parenting has existed for many years but was
re-introduced and clarified under the Quality Protects initiative in 1998 to
raise the profile of Looked after Children with Elected Members and other
professionals within the local authority as a way of improving outcomes,
particularly educational outcomes, for LAC. The message behind it was
that the local authority as an entity should take responsibility for promoting
the well being of their LAC.

The principle of corporate responsibility remains important despite the fact
that the Children Act 2004 placed a duty on all statutory agencies to pro-
mote the education of LAC and DoH has published Healthy Care
Standards, which provide the framework for health authorities and local
authorities to promote the best interests of LAC.

Corporate parenting must be distinguished from parental responsibilities.
The latter are the parental rights that are vested in Children’s Social
Services when a child is in care. Corporate parenting does not confer any
rights upon individuals or departments or schools. Rather it is a philosophi-
cal commitment to prioritising the interests of these vulnerable children.

           Recording and file management
Recording requirements for Children’s Social Services are very detailed
and currently comprise a combination of physical files that have 9 sections
and a computerised record of key actions.

Children’s Services is required to adopt the Integrated Children’s System
(ICS) which is a computer-based client record system that integrates the
Framework for Assessment and Looked after Children paperwork and
which will partially replace paper files. ICS will save practitioner time as it
is programmed to cascade information to other documents within the
system thus avoiding duplication.

                 Children, Families and Education Directorate                     21
Chapter Four
          Assessment and Intervention Services

     County Duty Service (CDS) – is a dedicated call centre set up to
     manage, screen and filter the high number of referrals received by
     Children’s and Adult’s Social Services. CDS ensures that the information
     received is adequate, that the appropriate referral form is completed,
     checks whether the child/family is already known, logs the referral on the
     Children’s database and acknowledges receipt of the referral and then
     routes it through to the appropriate team – usually the Duty and Initial
     Assessment Team (DIAT).

     Duty and Initial Assessment Teams (DIATs) - these are small teams
     that operate a ‘triage’ system to manage the 13,000 plus referrals that
     are received annually. They determine the nature of the referral/case and
     take any urgent action required. DIATs also provide a consultation
     service for professional colleagues who need advice about whether a
     child is at risk of harm. Cases only remain the responsibility of DIATs for
     a short period.

     DIATs have primary responsibility for initiating whatever action is neces-
     sary to protect children who are suffering or likely to suffer significant
     harm from sexual, physical or emotional abuse or neglect or because of
     the absence of someone to care for them. Social Services DIATs have
     primary responsibility for:

     m     Providing consultation about child protection
     m     Initial Assessments – analysis of information gathered to inform
           decision making (Assessment framework – prescribed timescales

22                Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
for completion are measured as part of PAF)
m      Forensic interviews with the police
m      Undertaking S. 47 enquiries (S.47 of Children Act 1989 sets out the
       duty of Social Services and the Police to investigate/make
       enquiries) into allegations or suspicions of abuse
m      Listening to children and taking their views into account where
m      Triggering Legal Planning meetings to determine whether
       evidence is sufficient to remove child from family or institute care
m      Triggering initial child protection conferences
m      Initiating urgent court action to protect children
m      Co-ordinating the initial child protection plan for children at risk of
m      Initiating a Family Group Conference
m      Working with the family to try to establish a safe environment for the
m      Promoting and maintaining contact with parents wherever possible

Fundamental to this work is considerable collaboration with police,
hospitals, community paediatricians, health visitors and schools.

Wherever possible, decisions must be shared with and agreed with par-
ents, and the wishes and feelings of children should be taken into account.

Initiating court proceedings to remove a child from their family is normally
the last resort. The threshold for compulsory intervention is:

  ‘that the child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm and that the
 harm is attributable to lack of parental care or control and that the efforts
 of Social Services to co-ordinate a range of services to resolve parenting
     difficulties have failed to raise the standard to an acceptable level’.

Kent has introduced Family Group Conferencing as a key decision-making
mechanism for children 10 and under on the cusp of care.

Out of Hours Service (OOH) - Social Services are also required by law to
provide child protection services 24 hours a day and Kent has an OOH
service that provides an emergency service for both children’s and adult’s
services including mental health, which has the same priority for adult’s
services as child protection within children’s services. This Service

                 Children, Families and Education Directorate                      23
responds to new referrals and also pursues outstanding urgent concerns
     on open cases that could not be concluded during the day. There is an
     ‘alert’ system in place to facilitate this. It has a core of dedicated social
     work staff and employs others on a sessional basis (often those already
     operating during the day).

     Long Term teams - DIATs transfer cases to these teams when longer-
     term involvement is required. They carry high level Children in Need,
     Child Protection and Looked After Children cases and their role is to drive
     the child’s plan to achieve the desired outcome, whatever that may be.
     Long term teams may need to trigger new protective actions during the
     time they hold a case; this may be a child protection investigation, initial
     case conferences or care proceedings through the courts. Key tasks
     include specialist ongoing direct work, for example:

     m      Core Assessments – analysis of information informs planning
            process (Assessment framework – prescribed timescales measured
            as part of PAF)
     m      Review CP Case Conferences
     m      Determining whether evidence is sufficient to remove a
            child/children from family or institute care proceedings
     m      CHIN planning meetings (where social workers are working with
            families on a voluntary basis to prevent harm)
     m      Collecting evidence for care proceedings
     m      Court reports
     m      CHIN,CP and Care plans (planned interventions to promote change
            in family functioning/dynamics to enable a child to remain or return
     m      Rehabilitation (return home to parents)
     m      Statutory home visiting requirements
     m      Listening to children and taking their views into account
     m      Pursuing contingency plans in line with permanence policy (i.e.
            adoption plan for all LAC aged 10 and under) completion of Form E
     m      Looked After Children system (materials that record how
            practitioners carry out their responsibilities)
     m      Statutory reviews (CP & LAC) (timescales reported to DfES as part
            of PAF)
     m      Assessments of young carers
     m      Assessments of privately fostered children
     m      Assessments of kinship carers

24                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
m      Supporting LAC in foster placements – contact, health, education
m      Supporting/supervising LAC placed at home and preparing case for
       discharge of care order

With the exception of the CIN planning meetings all the activities listed
above are statutory.

When placing a child in a foster or residential placement social workers
have up to 36 actions to complete depending upon whether the placement
is planned, emergency or a placement change.

Social workers in long-term teams work closely with colleagues from
health and education to achieve the plans for children.

Family Support Teams (FSTs) - each District has a family support team
(FST) offering a range of ‘change promoting’ intervention services that
have developed in response to local priorities. Each team will have a mix,
of social workers and para-professionals. FSTs’ primary function is to
support front line social workers in achieving their plans for high level
CHIN/CP and LAC. To this end they provide a range of specialist
assessments or ‘change promoting’ interventions to parents and children

m      Intensive assessment (group or individual) for courts
m      Specialist assessments of parents with learning difficulties or mental
       health problems
m      Parenting programmes (including domiciliary support)
m      Brief solution focus therapy
m      Intensive mediation
m      Parenting order service
m      Crisis intervention with adolescents

Specific counseling/direct work services for adolescent CIN and Looked
after Children are also provided (in some Districts through dedicated
Adolescent Resource Centres (ARCs) to promote resilience and address
trauma such as:

m      Counseling for loss, depression, anger management and self-
       harming behaviour
m      Life story work to help make sense of what has happened

                Children, Families and Education Directorate                    25
m      Promoting self esteem
     m      Working with young person to help develop life skills, self protection
            skills, improve concentration
     m      Preparation of child for adoption
     m      Advice regarding sexual health, drugs/alcohol misuse

     FSTs are also, increasingly, providing packages of support to foster carers
     to help prevent placement breakdown where children have behavioural dif-
     ficulties or are not in school.

     Some FSTs are also involved in collaborative work with other agencies to
     provide early intervention projects. They may provide supervision, line
     management, para-professional support and very occasionally social work
     support (see below).

     Private Fostering – this is a small service located in 3 Districts that has
     the responsibility to identify and promote the well being of privately fos-
     tered children. The team is required to work with colleagues in health
     and schools to locate, identify and assess the needs of these children.

26                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
Chapter 5
            County and Specialist Services

          Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking
                 Children (UASC)
These young people are managed through the County Asylum Service
(CAS) that has 2 teams based around functionality rather than
geographical area. One team is responsible for reception & assessment
and the other is responsible for ongoing care & transitions arrangements.
In addition CAS has a HQ policy, finance and information function. The Unit
also operates its own Reception & Assessment Centre, the ‘Appledore

The Service employs some social workers who undertake direct work with
young people. However, the majority of young people are supported by
para professional Young Persons Community Support Workers.

Definitions afforded to ‘unaccompanied asylum seeking children are not
recognised within social care legislation but it was eventually confirmed
that UASC are subject to the provisions of the Children Act 1989 and that
there is a clear presumption that they should be considered to be looked
after. As a result, an increasing proportion of UASC become
eligible for services under the Children (Leaving Care ) Act. For those
failing to gain such eligibility, variation in S24A through the 2002 Children &
Adoption Act extends responsibilities for ‘qualifying children’.

                 Children, Families and Education Directorate                     27
Because of the very specific nature of these young people and the hazards
     they are exposed to such as trafficking, the Asylum Service has had to
     develop a very robust assessment process that includes the challenging
     task of age assessment. Other complexities include:

     m      The variation of client numbers, and emergency nature of
            admission to care makes strategic planning extremely
     m      The Unit continues to respond to adults & families who arrived
            pre-April 2000 and who are still awaiting a decision. Although
            reducing in number these arrangements are likely to remain in
            place until at least April 2006.
     m      No aetiology at point of arrival make undertaking assessments
     m      Mobility of population results in additional demands upon service
            that may end up supporting UASC across the UK.
            The variation of immigration rules, minimal commitment to voluntary
            returns and limited enforcement measures result in unclear
            outcomes for majority of UASC (often resulting in destitution and
     m      The difficulties around interpretation of after-care duties, made
            further complicated in a two-tier authority and insufficient legal
            advice to officers, make planning after-care difficulty.
     m      Exclusion of Immigration Service from duty to safeguard children
            (and to work in partnership to do so).

     CAS’s functions extend beyond the provision of front line teams and the
     scope of involvement requires national and trans-national co-operation. In
     addition to the provision and management of the reception, assessment
     and care of UASC, the Unit is also responsible for provision (and monitor-
     ing of) accommodation, financial maintenance and the full-range of leaving
     care/after care duties

     The unit does not have primary responsibility for investigations and inter-
     ventions related to safeguarding children under s47, these are retained by
     relevant Duty Teams.

     CAS works closely with education and health colleagues. It also links with
     outside agencies at a local, national and international level such as the
     Immigration Service and Special Branch in relation to concerns around
     people smuggling, and less frequently trafficking. There is a KSCB
     protocol regarding responding to trafficking concerns. There are also
28                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
special arrangements in placed for the assessment at port with the
Immigration Service. Kent also takes a lead role nationally and is
engaged in a variety of multi-agency forums, including the development of
the National Register for Unaccompanied Children.

CAS has developed close links with the University of Kent for research,
training and consultancy. There is a Certificate Course for para-profession-
al social care staff and the University has undertaken evaluation of areas of
service intervention.

CAS is working with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities in
the development of the Safe Case Transfer project that will see the on-
going care and support for a number of UASC be taken on by authorities in

    Family Group conferencing service (FGC)
This team is managed on a county basis to provide the decision-making
mechanism required by Kent’s Permanence and Stability policy. It
provides this service to Children’s Social Services, some schools and
Adult’s Social Care. The service has 14 FGC Co-ordinators across the
county whose job it is to facilitate the FGCs. In its first year the FGC
service facilitated 103 FGCs.

                 Disabled Children Service
This specialist service comprises 3 Disabled Children’s Teams, the Deaf
Children’s Team and 3 residential respite/resource centres. Together they
provide services for children whose disability is complex or profound. Kent
children who do not meet these criteria may meet the criteria as a Child in
Need for mainstream services. Teams work to the same regulations/stan-
dards as other frontline teams and have similar tasks as well as having
some additional distinct functions:

m      Carer assessments (for parents of disabled children)
m      Assessments for Direct Payments
m      Transition planning

                Children, Families and Education Directorate                    29
Social workers in this service also face a number of dilemmas in balancing
     the needs of the child and family. There is a particular challenge in ensur-
     ing that the child’s views are represented. In addition, some parents may
     be very protective of their children and reluctant to let them take risks that
     would increase their capacity for independence. Others may require such
     high levels of respite care to the extent that the child appears excluded
     from the family. Transition to adult’s services can be particularly problemat-
     ic for these families. In addition, disabled children’s teams may need to
     trigger new protective actions during the time they hold a case, this may be
     a child protection investigation, initial case conferences or care proceed-
     ings through the courts.

     The 3 specialist residential units provide respite for children with profound
     and complex disabilities. Many of the children accessing the units are not
     formally looked after but the units have to be managed and run to the
     same standards and rules as if the children were looked after. These units
     are in the process of being transformed into multi-agency Resource

                             Fostering Service
     Kent’s policy is to place as many children as possible in family placements
     unless there are clear reasons why a residential placement would better
     meet their need. Kent has invested in and developed a comprehensive
     in-house fostering service and it is its policy not to place in the private

     Social workers in this service are required to have previous experience in
     front line C&F services to ensure that the Service is child-focused and safe.
     The key tasks of this service are to recruit, assess (form F), prepare,
     approve, train, match children to carers, supervise carer practice, support
     and review sufficient foster carers to meet the needs of LAC in Kent.
     The tasks are highly regulated and subject to annual inspection by CSCI.
     N.B. responsibility for the Looked after Children in placement remains with
     the child’s social worker within the fieldwork teams

     The Kent Fostering Service has a Gateway Team, which undertakes the
     recruitment tasks and provides a one-stop-shop for prospective carers.
     Social Workers are required to complete assessments within prescribed
     timescales. The Service has 5 Fostering Panels (membership prescribed
     by Regulations). 4 of the Panels are required to approve foster carers and
30                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
the 5th approves long term and specialist placements. The service
provides a mainstream service as well as a range of specialist schemes
which all have their own terms and conditions:

m      Emergency placements
m      Remand placements
m      Single placements
m      Kinship carers
m      Treatment foster care
m      Therapeutic foster care
m      Respite care for disabled children
m      Day care

The Fostering Service shares a Training Manager with Adoption who
provides specific training to foster carers and adopters. Foster carers are
also offered training to NVQ 3. The Fostering Service provides its carers
with Out of Hours support by linking in with the County Out of Hours
Service. Support packages can be designed to help carers manage
children with complex needs. Placement stability is reported as part of the
PAF process.

Retention of foster carers is also a key element of the Service’s role as it
has to compete with 35+ Independent Fostering Agencies in Kent at any

Children, Families and Education Directorate are funding 4 Education
Support Workers who are based with Fostering Teams to work with foster
carers to help them support and promote the learning of looked after
children in placement.

                         Adoption Service
Adoption is another very specialist service that is highly regulated and
requires social worker skills and competencies. The Gateway team recruits
adopters, and social workers undertake assessment (to prescribed
timescales), preparation, approval (Form F), matching (including
assessment for adoption support needs) and support to adoption order.
Service has 7 Adoption Panels (membership prescribed by Regulations)
who make recommendations in relation to children, prospective adopters
and the match. Area Heads of Children’s Services are the Decision-maker
in all cases.

                 Children, Families and Education Directorate                  31
The Adoption Service’s key task is to find adopters for Looked after
     Children who have an adoption plan. The % of Looked after Children
     adopted is a PAF indicator and Kent has been very successful in increas-
     ing the number of children adopted, including older children or those with
     complex needs. Kent is a member of the S.E. Adoption Consortium.

     The Adoption Service also undertakes the following statutory functions:

     m      Counseling of birth parents who are considering relinquishing their
            babies for adoption. Adoption Service takes on responsibility for
            placing any babies.
     m      Step-parent adoptions
     m      International adoptions by Kent residents.

     Concurrency project – this project was set up in Thanet in response to
     the number of babies being placed for adoption. It enables prospective
     adopters to be approved both as foster carers and adopters so that if the
     rehabilitation plan for the child is not successful the child does not have to
     go through a further move. The project only takes children where the
     prognosis for rehabilitation is poor. Parental consent is also mandatory for
     involvement in the project. Project workers work very closely with
     Children’s Guardians and Courts.

     Adoption Support Service – this new team came into being as a result of
     the Adoption and Children Act 2002. It not only has a responsibility to sup-
     port Kent children, foster carers and adopters but also those children
     placed for adoption in Kent by other authorities.

                               Residential care
     Kent has one specialist residential unit (in addition to Appledore at
     Swattenden already mentioned). Alderden House which provides care for
     up to 7 children with severe attachment disorders that have resulted from
     abuse or neglect. The unit operates on a theoretical model developed in
     Forest Heights, USA and its purpose is to help children trust adults so that
     they can attach to carers and live with families in the community. The unit
     employs its own Clinical Psychologist on a sessional basis. Admission to
     the unit is via a specialist Panel. Every effort is made to ensure that these
     children attend mainstream school.

32                 Index of Social Wo r k Tasks and Responsibil ities
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