Continuum of Need (threshold document)
Oldham Safeguarding Partnership has set out and refreshed a Continuum of Need model. This ranges from children receiving “Universal” support – so considering every child, then considering those with low level needs to those whose needs are more acute requiring specialist intervention.
Children’s needs can and will change and it is imperative that practitioners are able to support a smooth transition across the continuum. This ensures that we provide the right intervention and help at the lowest possible level and the earliest possible time.
Universal: The needs of children are met by universal services such as schools, healthcare services, leisure and community services which are readily accessible to all, as well as the love, care and protection from parents and carers.
Universal Plus “Earliest Possible Help”: Children who may have unmet or complex needs that requires multi-agency support through an early help response involving two or more agencies. This is led by one agency and the aim is to build a plan of support around the child and family to work together to respond to needs.
Targeted Early Help: Children who have multiple and complex unmet need requiring a targeted Early Help response with targeted intervention from Early Help services led by the local authority, where Universal Plus “Earliest Possible Help” has not enabled change to be made. These unmet needs may be complex and could be impacting on the child and family daily life.
Children’s Social Care: Children with acute needs requiring statutory social work level intervention. This could be due to increasing risk or where there is actual or likely significant harm. This will require Social Care to undertake a S17 Children in Need assessment or S47 enquiries.
Family Help Assessment
Early Help is not delivered by one designated team: All professionals working with children and their families in Oldham are responsible for supporting families. Early Help is everyone’s business!
Partner led earliest possible help gets the family the support they need at the earliest stage of the problem. Dealt with swiftly and correctly; the problem might never need to escalate to the MASH front door/Targeted Early Help.
A TAF process means families and workers from different backgrounds will work in partnership to improve outcomes for children and help achieve positive long-term change for families. Following an assessment of the family (using the Family Help Tool - FINAL.pdf). There will be a plan of action on a form called the Family action Plan.
The plan is made in partnership. It is a simple document which states what the family and the people helping the family have agreed together to do to make things better for the child and family.
Relationships really matter, so where possible, one Professional should be the lead main contact for the family throughout the process, so the family don’t have to have lots of confusing conversations.
Local Protocol for Assessment
Under Working Together 2018 Local authorities, with their partners, are required to develop and publish local protocols for assessment. A local protocol should set out clear arrangements for how cases will be managed once a child is referred into local authority children’s social care and be consistent with the requirements of statutory guidance.
Oldham Safeguarding Partnership, in partnership with Action for Children has developed a practice toolkit for professionals working with neglect.