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4.1.6 Protocols Concerning the Interface between Children with Disabilities Team, Children Families and Education Services

AMENDMENT

In January 2018, this chapter was reviewed and revised to reflect local policy and procedure.


Contents

1. Local Context
2. Management Structure for the Children with Disability Team
  2.1 Division of Role and Responsibilities
  2.2 Frequency of Supervision
3. Case Management of Cases currently held by the Children with Disabilities Team
  3.1 General Case Management
  3.2 Step-Up Arrangements when there are Safeguarding Concerns on Cases Open to Children with Disabilities Team
  3.3 Management of Cases where Disabled Child is Looked After
4. New Referrals
  4.1 Safeguarding Referrals Involving Disabled Children
  4.2 Non-Safeguarding Referrals in relation to Disabled Child
5. Cases Open to Teams in Children's Social Care & Safeguarding Concerning Disabled Children
  5.1 Support from Children with Disabilities Team
  5.2 Closure/Step-down Arrangements of Safeguarding Cases
  5.3 Step Down from the Children with Disability Service
6. Resource Allocation/Decision-Making Forums


1. Local Context

In Portsmouth, we have a commitment to early help for children with disabilities by identifying and assessing their needs at the earliest point and provide multi-agency support, with a single co-ordinated plan to meet their needs, led by an identified lead professional. This will be how we support children going through transitions into different service areas including Adult Services. With the introduction of the SEND reforms, we have embarked on the first stage of service integration by collocating the children with disability social care service with the SEN teams in Education in order to have a joined up assessment and planning approach with the child at the centre of service provision.

This protocol details how the management and interface between teams within Children Families and Education Services will work together to ensure a seamless transition for children with disabilities and their families.


2. Management Structure for the Children with Disability Team

To ensure effective integration within the SEN team whilst also maintaining clear lines of accountability in relation to cases requires a collaborative matrix management approach. The supervision of the casework function will be held by the Head of Service, Children and Families Services and the non-casework and staff issues will be managed by the Head of Inclusion, Education.

2.1 Division of Role and Responsibilities

Social Care Commissioning Manager SEN Commissioning Manager

Casework senior management decision making for Looked After Children and Children in Need.

Short term breaks when specialist services required include Access to Beechside. Accommodation issues.

Casework related budgets:

  • Direct payment;
  • Care Management;
  • OT Specialist Equipment;
  • Joint Exceptional Needs Initiative (JENI).

Staff issues/Staffing budget

Absence & Management

Annual Leave

Future roles and function of the team

Education, Health & Care Planning

Recruitment

Team Development & Training (with access to Social Care training)

PDRs

Managing links with the team

Roles and Responsibilities

2.2 Frequency of Supervision

Line Manager supervision will take place monthly in accordance with corporate policy. Case work supervision will take place in a planned way once every 2 months and in addition on a needs basis.

Team Manager will be required to attend monthly management All Inclusive meetings Managers (AIM), the monthly All Manager's meeting held for Children and Families Services, the All Staff forum for the team to provide them with the opportunity to keep abreast with new guidance, legislation and changes happening in Children and Families Services. The team manager will also be required to represent Children and Families Services on Inclusion Support Panel.


3. Case Management of Cases currently held by the Children with Disabilities Team

3.1 General Case Management

The principal legislation for care support services for children, young people and their families is the Children's Act 1989. Under Section 17 of the Children's Act, disabled children are 'Children in Need'. The Act places on Local Authorities two general duties to children in need: to safeguard and promote their welfare and to promote their upbringing by their families wherever possible. Therefore the team will work to the procedures Children and Families Services Safeguarding procedures.

Other relevant legislation includes: Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children, known as the Short Breaks Duty Regulations in Section 25 of the Children and Young Persons Act 2008; Section 20 of the Children's Act 1989; Chronically Sick and Disabled Person's Act 1970, Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 and Disability Discrimination Acts (1995 and 2005) and Equality Act 2010; and Children & Families Act 2014.

Additional legislation includes: Disabled Persons Act 1986; Education Act 1993: Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995; United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989: The Human Rights Act 1998.

The Children with Disabilities team will co-ordinate an assessment of need for a child or young person who has a substantial, enduring and permanent physical, visual, hearing or intellectual impairment and that resulting from this impairment, the child is limited or prevented from undertaking activities appropriate to their daily living.

They will usually have:

  • A significant, permanent and enduring physical disability which leads to dependence on aids and adaptions;
  • A severe/significant global learning disability;
  • A severe and enduring communication disorder;
  • Autism with a severe/significant global development delay;
  • A significant sensory impairment.

Additionally, a child or young person should be eligible for D.L.A., with the carer's component.

Requests for Occupational Therapy Input for children will be assessed for by an Occupational Therapist within the CWD Team. For scope of services please see OT policy & procedures that also gives the legislation under which OT work.

Referrals may include but not exclusively be for environmental adaptations, specialist equipment, devising strategies to assist with moving & handling, postural management & activities of daily living. Child In Need reviews will take place on all open cases to the team at 6 monthly intervals.

More frequent three monthly reviews or on a needs basis should be held when required. More frequent reviews may be required for cases where there is a risk of family breakdown or where the needs need to be reassessed in the light of changing circumstances/transitions or when the case has safeguarding features that heighten concern for the child's welfare. This list is not exhaustive but indicative of the type of cases when more frequent reviews need to be held. Management decision making on the required frequency of CIN reviews needs to be recorded on CCM with reasons.

3.2 Step-Up Arrangements when there are Safeguarding Concerns on Cases Open to Children with Disabilities Team

If a safeguarding issue arises on a case that is already open to the Children with Disabilities team that needs to be an investigation under Section 47 Children Act 1989, a referral will be made to MASH.

The MASH will take full responsibility for managing and conducting any S47 investigation, although the case will remain open to the Children with Disabilities team until it has been established that there are no safeguarding concerns, or they have been resolved.

If the Section 47 investigation identifies on-going safeguarding concerns, the case will need to be reallocated to the most appropriate team and follow the established safeguarding pathway. In such cases, the Children with Disabilities team worker will continue to work alongside the allocated worker, and provide support in relation to the disability-related needs. The length of involvement will be determined by the extent of the child's needs.

Disabled children may experience the same types of physical, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect suffered by non-disabled children. However, there are also certain types of harm experienced by disabled children that are not always recognized. It will be important to be aware of these issues when children's social care services or the police are receiving a referral concerning a disabled child.

Examples:

  • Failure to meet the communication needs of a hearing impaired child to the point where his or her development is impaired;
  • Physical interventions (including restraint) are not carried out in accordance with good practice guidelines and the protocols agreed by the Multi-disciplinary team: (See Restrictive Physical Intervention Policy and guidance); Schools should have their own restraint policy;
  • Inappropriate behaviour modification through, for example, the deprivation of medication or food, limiting movement, removing essential equipment;
  • A parent seeking residential schooling to the exclusion of access to ordinary family life and social and emotional development;
  • Misuse of medication;
  • Invasive procedures which are unnecessary or carried out against the child's will, or by people without the right skills or support;
  • Being denied access to medical treatment;
  • Ill-fitting or inappropriate equipment which may cause pain or injury;
  • Being denied mobility, communication or other equipment;
  • Being denied access to education, play and leisure opportunities;
  • Failure to maintain appropriate therapeutic regimes leading to significant deterioration in health;
  • Failure to take appropriate action to maintain health through monitoring conditions.

3.3 Management of Cases where Disabled Child is Looked After

The Children with Disabilities team would continue to hold cases where children are currently Looked After.

Existing cases would continue to be worked and managed in accordance with both statutory regulations and departmental policies and procedures. Any need to vary the child's plan would continue to follow Children and Families services Safeguarding procedures and decision-making processes.

It is proposed that new cases would transfer from the Through Care Team to the Children with Disabilities team where the social work task is primarily concerned with meeting the needs arising from the child's disability, and there is a clear agreed plan in place. For example, the child is placed in their identified placement, Court proceedings have been concluded and the legal status secured.

It is suggested that a named worker from the Children with Disabilities team would be linked to the case following formal agreement at Permanence Panel and co-work the case alongside the allocated social worker in the Children Looked After team until long-term linking had been agreed. This would enable the worker from the Children with Disabilities team to form a working relationship with the child and ensure that the needs arising from the child's disabilities were fully considered prior to long-term linking.

Where the Children with Disabilities team are working with a child who it considers needs to be Accommodated, the allocated worker will adhere to the current procedures for making such decisions and make a formal referral and presentation to the Resource Panel.

The team will adhere to the transitions procedure for young people moving to adult services to ensure a smooth transition and transfer of responsibility to Adult Services.


4. New Referrals

4.1 Safeguarding Referrals Involving Disabled Children

The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team will review all Inter-agency referral forms submitted to the service. All safeguarding referrals will follow the established safeguarding pathway and departmental protocols.

Where a safeguarding referral relates to disabled children, the MASH can request a consultation with the Children with Disabilities team to ensure that the child's needs arising from their disability are considered and the most appropriate intervention recommended. In such cases, the request should be emailed to the manager of the Children with Disabilities team and copied to the team's duty inbox, so that the most appropriate worker can be identified to support the case.

The extent of the team's involvement will be dependent on the complexity of the child's needs. In some cases this may result in a single contact that provides advice/guidance about local services and/or signposting to community based support. In more complex situations, cases may require a co-working arrangement whereby the worker from the Children with Disabilities team takes a longer-term responsibility for the disability related dimensions of the child's plan. However, the safeguarding team will retain responsibility for other aspects of case management.

4.2 Non-Safeguarding Referrals in relation to Disabled Child

With an Inter-Agency Referral Form (IARF)

The MASH team will review all IARFs to ensure that the IARF does not contain any safeguarding concerns. The outcome will be recorded as a Contact in CCM. IARFs will then be passed to the MASH.

If the IARF is not accompanied by a Single assessment and Recommendation Support Tool, then the MASH will contact the lead professional to request these documents.

The MASH will quality assure single assessments to ensure that they contain sufficient information to make a decision. If the assessment requires further work then the MASH will contact the assessor and provide guidance on how to improve the quality of the assessment.

Completed single assessments and Recommendation Support Tool forms will be forwarded to the manager of the Children with Disabilities team who will review them at weekly meetings with the Short Breaks Officer.

Where the child is eligible to access the targeted short break offer, the Short Breaks Officer will contact the family to make them aware of the available support and how to access it. If the information contained with the single assessment and Recommendation Support Tool score suggests that the targeted short break would not provide an adequate level of support, the Children with Disabilities team will open a referral and update the assessment to determine what if any further action is required.

Without Inter-Agency Referral Form

Contacts that do not include an IARF will be processed by the MASH as outlined above.


5. Cases Open to Teams in Children's Social Care & Safeguarding Concerning Disabled Children

5.1 Support from Children with Disabilities Team

Where a disabled child is open to another team in Children and Families Services, the Children with Disabilities team could be approached to provide advice and guidance in respect of the disability support needs.

However, the extent of involvement will be dependent on the complexity of the child's needs. For example, it may result in a single consultation that provides information about local services, and/or signposting to other community based support. However, in more complex cases, it may require a more comprehensive co-working arrangement whereby the worker from the Children with Disabilities team takes a longer-term role in relation to supporting the disability dimension of the child's plan. However, the case holding team/worker will retain full case management.

Requests must be emailed to the manager of the Children with Disabilities team and copied to the team's duty inbox, so that the most appropriate worker can be identified to support the case.

In the first instance a worker from the Children with Disabilities team will provide a one-off consultancy to review the case with the allocated worker, and provide advice/guidance in respect of disability-related needs, and signpost to the most appropriate community-based services. They will also consider whether they meet the eligibility criteria for the targeted short break offer.

If a child has more complex needs that cannot be met by universal and targeted services, it may be necessary to complete a referral to the in order to request additional support. If this is the case the worker from the Children with Disabilities team will advise the allocated worker of the process.

5.2 Closure/Step-down Arrangements of Safeguarding Cases

Where a case-holding team is looking to close a case concerning a disabled child following safeguarding intervention, and there is a need for on-going support in respect of the child's disability, the case holding team can make a referral to the Children with Disabilities team.

In the first instance, it is proposed that the case-holding team should notify the manager of the Children with Disabilities team at the point where they are considering case closure, and outline why such intervention is required. If it is agreed that there is a clear role for the Children with Disabilities team, the manager will identify a suitable worker to receive the case, and notify the referring team. Thereafter the process will follow the usual step-down processes.

5.3 Step Down from the Children with Disability Service

Step down arrangements will follow the procedure as outlined in the child in need procedures.


6. Resource Allocation/Decision-Making Forums

Decisions about resource allocation are currently made through the CWD Resource Panel which is chaired by a senior commissioning manager from Children and Families Services. These decisions range from an allocation of community-based support, Direct Payments as well as access to both Beechside and Family Link Scheme. These decisions will now be made by the Head of Service, Children and Families Services for agreement with the team subsequently presenting the plan to the Inclusion Support Panel in order to be formalised via the Education, Health & Care Planning process.

End