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OxfordshireChildren's Services Procedures Manual

Protocol for Case Management, Workflow and Transfers

This chapter is currently under review.

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Overarching Principles
  3. Transfer principles
  4. Initial Contacts/New Referrals
  5. Child and Family Assessments
  6. Transfer Points
  7. Assessment Team Involvement in Open Cases
  8. Cases Transferring to LAC/LC for Leaving Care Services
  9. UASC
  10. Ceasing CSC involvement
  11. Housing
  12. Adoption Support Team
  13. Children’s Disability Service
  14. Restricted Access Cases

    Appendix 1: Terms of Reference for Children and Young People’s Pathway Joint Referral Meetings

    Appendix 2: Kingfisher Processes and Workflow

    Appendix 3: From Arrival to Case Closure - processes for unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASCs)

    Appendix 4: Key Worker Protocol

    Appendix 5: Letter to OLA re Transfer-in Conference requests

1. Introduction

This protocol sets out case management arrangements for case management responsibilities within and transfers between Children's Social Care teams (Assessment, Family Support, Disability and Looked after Children/Leaving Care teams), and for step-up and step-down between Early Intervention services and Children's Social Care.

The purpose of this document is to:

  • Clarify case management responsibilities, interface and transfer arrangements between operational teams in CSC and between Early Intervention Service and Children's Social Care;
  • Provide guidance as to which teams/service areas cases should transfer to;
  • Identify appropriate transfer times;
  • Identify processes for dealing with workload and threshold issues;
  • Reduce the number of changes in key worker for children and their families;
  • Develop seamless transitions.

2. Overarching Principles

The child remains firmly at the centre whilst interventions change in response to needs and different practitioners move in and out of their lives.

The needs of the child and their parents/carers are paramount and take precedence over organisational and administrative considerations. This means that there will be exceptions to the guidelines outlined within this document. Where this is the case, decisions should be negotiated between relevant Team Managers. In exceptional cases, where agreement cannot be reached, the escalation process should be used, and the matter referred to the relevant senior manager in CSC, who will decide which team holds responsibility and document this on the child’s case record.

3. Transfer principles

  • The document, Terms of Reference for the Children's Pathway (Joint Referral Meeting) sets out principles and process relating to step-up and step-down procedures between EIS and CSC and is attached to this document at Appendix 1, together with the allocation and transfer format;
  • The number of changes of key worker for a child and family should be kept to the minimum possible, and this should remain an underlying principle;
  • At least two weeks' notice should be given of the need to transfer a case from one team to another within CSC. On occasion, this can be difficult for Assessment Teams to predict, but should be adhered to as much as possible;
  • Cases will transfer following discussion between Team Managers or their representatives and all documentation will be completed on FWI including plans and a significant events chronology prior to case transfer. Team Managers can use the transfer checklist for this purpose, which is on Frameworki;
  • Existing meetings will be used as transfer points wherever possible;
  • Cases should be transferred to the appropriate Team Manager without delay and with good handover summaries where needed.  Where there are workload issues, cases will be accepted by the receiving team and discussed with the Area Social Care Manager for decisions about priorities/allocation within the team (see Appendix 4: Key Worker Status Document for Practice and Recording Requirements);
  • Team Managers (or their delegate), should meet at a minimum of monthly to discuss planning for potential case transfers.

4. Initial Contacts/New Referrals

The Assessment teams will deal with new contacts and referrals;

The exceptions to this are:

  • Cases not closed on FWi. These will be treated as open and returned to the last named worker or team, using the Significant Contact on an Open Case episode. Rarely, exceptions apply - see Section 11, Housing.
  • Cases returning within 6 weeks of the closure date on FWi. These will be recorded in a Contact and Referral episode by the Assessment team. The receiving Team Manager will be notified and the case will be transferred to the last named worker or team. This does not apply to Looked After Children who have been rehabilitated at home and supported by the CLA team in their homes for 3 months.

5. Child and Family Assessments

The Assessment teams will complete a Child and Family Assessment on all new referrals where appropriate.

The exception to this is where an assessment is required for an open case.

The depth and breadth of assessment required will be determined by the social worker and their manager, dependent on the presenting needs of the child, and the complexity of the circumstances. For example, the following circumstances are likely to need the most in-depth assessments, where children:

  • Become Looked After;
  • Are the subject of S47 Enquiries and an Initial Child Protection Case Conference;
  • Have complex needs, which require inter-agency planning and core planning processes;
  • Are identified as at risk of child sexual exploitation;
  • Are the subject of a specialist assessments for children with disabilities (disability assessments are completed by CD teams);
  • Are the subject of Care Proceedings and permanence planning;
  • Are the subject of Leaving Care pathway planning.

Completion of Child and Family Assessments may also be required on open cases, particularly at transition points when the child's changing needs and circumstances indicate further assessment is required. Therefore Child and Family Assessments can also be the responsibility of other teams including Family Support, Disabled Children, and Looked After Children/Leaving Care teams.

Child Protection Investigations

If the Child and Family Assessment is being carried out as part of a Child Protection Investigation, the Strategy Discussion and Section 47 Enquiry will be carried out in parallel with the C&F Assessment. The Child and Family Assessment will be completed, once the outcome of the Section 47 Enquiry is known. If the decision is to progress the case to Initial Child Protection Conference, the Child and Family Assessment will be the report to the Conference.

The Assessment Team will be responsible for the completion of the Child and Family Assessment on new CP referrals. Where the Section 47 Enquiry is being conducted on open cases, the Assessment Team will co-ordinate the Section 47 Enquiry and the allocated social worker will be responsible for completing the Child and Family Assessment. (See Section 8, Cases transferring to LAC/LC for leaving care services)

Next steps

Following the Child and Family Assessment, the Assessment team will:

  • Arrange a TAC if appropriate (in line with step-down process), or advise on alternative support available within community resources;
  • Undertake specialist assessments (e.g. young people’s housing assessments, private fostering assessments, UASC new arrivals assessments);
  • S47 investigations, sex offender risk assessments;
  • Pre-birth risk assessments (see separate section on Pre-birth Assessments);
  • Where a Child Protection Plan or Child in Need Plan is required, transfer to the appropriate team at one of the identified transfer points within an integrated approach.

6. Transfer Points

Transition points generate vulnerabilities in case management and disruption for families. Good practice is to plan transfers between teams and coordinate social work staff to minimise change for families and to promote good outcomes. The Assessment Team will notify the receiving team at least two weeks in advance of the need to transfer a case to the receiving team. Regular case discussion between the Team Managers will take place to agree the arrangements for transfer.

6.1 Children in Need

If a Child in Need Plan is identified, the transfer point will be at an Initial Child in Need Core Group meeting.   

Guidance:
  • Discussion and agreement between the transferring team and the receiving team to agree plans and timescales;
  • The receiving team manager will chair this meeting in complex cases, or designate the social worker to chair the meeting in less complex cases. The Assessment Team social worker will attend;
  • Assessment teams will inform families and referrers of the outcome and basic information concerning the new team (name of team, team manager, address, and telephone number);
  • Assessment team will close their involvement on FWI and enter transfer details. Receiving team managers must be aware of the transfer before amending FWI.

6.2 Child Protection Conferences

Cases requiring a Child Protection Conference will remain with the Assessment teams until Conference although Family Support Teams will become involved as soon as possible. New social workers should meet the family before conference where possible and contribute to the development of the plan.

Guidance:
  • On completion of the Section 47 Enquiry, Assessment teams will liaise with the receiving Team Manager and Independent Chairs using the Signs of Safety discussion form;
  • If the need for a Conference is agreed Independent Chair will arrange an Initial Conference within prescribed time frames (15 days of Strategy Discussion where S47 investigation was begun);
  • The Assessment team will discuss the case with receiving team and inform them of the Conference date as soon as it is known;
  • The Assessment team will provide the Conference report (i.e. the completed Child and Family Assessment document) incorporating the Genogram, Chronology, risk assessment and proposed protection plan. The receiving team will attend the Conference;
  • Cases will transfer to the new worker following the Conference;
  • Following the Conference, the Assessment team should:
    • Write to child, parent/carer with information concerning the new team (name of key worker/contact person, address, and telephone number);
    • Close their involvement on FWI and enter transfer details.

6.3 Transfer-in Child Protection Conferences

Currently these cases are managed by Assessment Team. (In future this will be the responsibility of the Family Support Team, when the agreed new staffing arrangements are in place).

The Assessment Team will enter the information on to Frameworki and notify the Independent Chairs' Team, so that temporary registration can be completed.

To enable a decision can be made about whether a transfer-in conference is required, the relevant documentation should be available from the OLA:

  • A copy of the current Child Protection Plan;
  • Copies of all previous Child Protection Case Conference minutes;
  • A copy of the last Core Group meeting minutes;
  • A current risk assessment reflecting the impact of the family’s move;
  • At least 48 hours before Transfer In conference, updated report for Transfer In Child Protection Case Conference provided for Independent Chair and Team Manager, having been shared with family.

To facilitate this process a letter will be sent to local authorities by the CCA when they make a request for a conference. See Appendix 5: Letter to OLA re Transfer-in Conference requests.

A decision about whether to accept the case for a Transfer-in Conference will then be made. The Independent Chair will be pro-active in assessing the documentation prior to the Conference. 

6.4 Child Sexual Exploitation cases and Kingfisher Team

See Appendix 2: Kingfisher Team processes and workflow, and flowchart.

6.5 Looked After Children (Section 20)

The completion of movement and financial assessments forms are the responsibility of the teams holding case responsibility at the point at which the child becomes Looked After.

Following discussion and on receipt of the relevant FWI request, the Placement Duty service identifies a placement with all procedural checks/approval etc in place.

First Statutory LAC Review (28 day)

If the child is in the Assessment team and is remaining within the Looked After system the case will transfer at the first statutory LAC review. Apart from children who meet the eligibility criteria for disability teams, most children with rehabilitation plans will transfer to the Family Support team. In some cases it may be clear by the first review that a child will not be returning home. In these cases transfer to the LAC/LC team will be appropriate at the first review. In such cases the care plan and review form must reflect the rationale for this decision. The receiving team will become involved prior to transfer and will contribute to the review plan and will attend the review.

See Appendix 3: From Arrival to Case Closure - Processes for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASCs)

If the child becomes Looked After from within the Family Support team, the 28 day review will only trigger a transfer if the same criteria as above are met (i.e. if it is clear at this stage that the child will not return be returning home). The transfer will be planned for the second review (4 months), when the care plan is clear that the child (ren) should remain looked after. The documentation must reflect a plan for permanence/longer term care.

Guidance: The Assessment team

  • Set up the 28 day statutory review and invite the relevant parties;
  • Complete a Child and Family Assessment, the Care and Placement Plans, and the Social Worker's report to LAC Review. The decision about which team to transfer to will remain with the Assessment team and will be dependent on the Child and Family Assessment and subsequent planning;
  • Following the statutory review, the Assessment team will:
    • Write to child, parent /carer with information concerning the new team (key worker/contact person, address, and telephone number);
    • Close their involvement on FWI and enter transfer details.

6.6 Court - Children Subject to Care Proceedings

General

N.B. The Public Law Outline provides the legal framework for this work. Care proceedings will be initiated when it is considered children should be removed from home for their protection. Pre-proceedings work may be appropriate as a first step where it is decided that a legal framework is necessary but the plan is not removal from home at that stage. Alternative options to care proceedings should always be considered.

When care proceedings are initiated, the following guidelines will apply:

  • All potential applications (including pre-proceedings) must be agreed by the Area Social Care Manager before referral to Legal Panel and then by the Legal Panel;
  • If the Assessment Team is taking a case to court they will liaise with the Family Support Team as early as possible and plan to transfer at the first hearing. The receiving social worker should be identified prior to the hearing date;
  • The IRO team needs to be notified as soon as possible by the team holding the case that proceedings have been initiated and a named IRO allocated within 2 days of the ICO hearing if the child becomes LAC;
  • Legal Proceedings commenced in the Family Support team will remain with the team until the final hearing;
  • Joint work with the LAC team will commence at the point when the decision for permanence is agreed by the Adoption and Permanence Panel or, in cases of contested adoption plans, by the Adoption Agency Decision-Maker. At this point the LAC/LC team will proceed with the statutory LAC processes and procedures, including family finding, working together with the Family Support Teams towards the final hearing and agreed transfer point;
  • The LAC/LC SW should where possible be involved in the development of the Child Permanence Report and should have some direct contact with the child during this period to support the transfer of the case after the final hearing. This will need to be agreed between the teams according to what is possible and what will be in the best interest of the child/young person. The child's best interests are paramount.  
Interim Care Order/Care/Placement Orders

The team holding the case will initiate court proceedings and provide reports, ensure there is an up to date Child and Family Assessment, Chronology and Care Plan for the interim care hearings. The FS team will be responsible for all interim statements and Care Plans, further assessments (as required) and final care plan to court.

Guidance:

  • The LAC/LC team should work together to support the FS team at the point where permanent alternative care is the likely outcome (twin track planning). This will depend on the individual case and identified issues/needs;
  • At planned transfer points the receiving team will be present at the court hearing. Both the current and the receiving teams should be represented at the final hearing if the case is to transfer from FS to LAC/LC;
  • Following the court hearing when a case is transferring, the transferring team will:
    • Write to child, parent/carer with information concerning the new team  (key worker/ contact person, address, and telephone number) and placement details if appropriate;
    • Close their involvement on FWI and enter transfer details.
Secure Order Applications on care grounds

In situations where teams apply for secure orders on young people they will:

  • Seek initial approval (following discussion with Area Social Care Manager) from the Deputy Director for a secure order application for 72 hours;
  • Liaise with the placement duty service which will identify a suitable placement;
  • Complete all the necessary reports for both the placement and the court hearing;
  • Where appropriate (e.g. case in the Assessment team and assessed as requiring longer term work) receiving Team Manager to be alerted at the earliest opportunity.

Following the granting of a secure order on care grounds, the holding team will set up and chair the LAC 72 hour placement meeting and complete the appropriate LAC documentation.

Where the Assessment team has instigated the court proceedings, case to transfer to the Family Support team at the first review although the receiving team should be engaged in the process to support the transition process

If a case transfer is required, the Assessment team should:

  • Write to child, parent/carer with information identifying the new team (key worker, address, and telephone number of the team) and placement details (if appropriate);
  • End this involvement on FWI and enter transfer details.

7. Assessment Team Involvement in Open Cases

Child Protection

Assessment teams will be available for consultation on child protection matters.

The allocated key worker and team will remain involved and cooperate with the agreed plan

In situations requiring S47 enquiries, the Assessment team will lead the process. This will include:

  • Arranging the Strategy Discussion;
  • Undertaking the investigative and memorandum interviews where appropriate (to be discussed and agreed at the strategy meeting);
  • Providing a written record of their involvement;
  • Completing a summary sheet for distribution to relevant personnel and discussion at the safeguarding panel;
  • The JR hospital team will manage and coordinate investigations on cases already open to another team, where the child/young person is admitted to hospital with a significant injury (see Protocol for the Management of Child Protection Assessments on Open Cases where Children are Admitted to John Radcliffe Hospital - link available from Frameworki, Tools);
  • Case responsibility will remain with the key worker, who will stay involved throughout the process.

Pre- Birth Risk Assessment

Priority for Pre-Birth assessments to be completed by the hospital team will be on cases not currently open or previously known to Children’s Social Care. NB: The Community Parenting Team is also carrying out pre-birth assessments as part of a pilot (using the Parents under Pressure programme). Cases are randomly allocated to this team by the JR hospital team.

Referrals to the JR Assessment team will also be considered in the following cases.

  • Assessment of pregnant young women living apart from their family where it is the family members that are the focus of social work involvement;
  • Where previous children have been removed and there is a need to reassess parent’s capacity to care for the unborn baby;
  • Where there are significant concerns about a care leaver and/ or their partner’s parenting abilities. The referring team will continue to provide ‘leaving care’ services.

The Assessment team based at John Radcliffe Hospital will also provide:

  • Consultations and advice on pre-birth risk assessments;
  • Liaison with hospital staff;
  • Planning around hospital stays/delivery;
  • Contributions to CPCC and core group meetings in complex cases with hospital involvement;
  • Cases involving a home delivery should be allocated within the Community Assessment teams. Such cases should be discussed with the Hospital Team Manager in the first instance.

There is no equivalent service set up at the Horton Hospital, Banbury. The current expectation is that for cases where the birth plan is not held by the JR Hospital team, the relevant area team will take responsibility for the pre-birth assessment and plan.

8. Cases Transferring to LAC/LC for Leaving Care Services

If a child is relevant/former relevant or qualifies for LC status and support they will transfer to the LAC/LC team at the appropriate point. Identified cases will be discussed prior to transfer.

9. UASC

The Assessment Team will undertake all assessments/ age assessments of new arrivals (see Appendix 3: From Arrival to Case Closure - Processes for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASCs))

All under 16s will become ‘Looked After’ children and will be placed with Foster Carers. After 28 days the first review will take place and the case will be transferred to the Looked After and Leaving Care team at the review. A Child and Family Assessment will be completed by the Assessment Team.

Young people deemed to be 16+ will also be accommodated but placed in supported accommodation provided by Key 2. At the first review (within 28 days) the case will be transferred to the Looked After and Leaving Care team in conjunction with the allocated LAC social worker/senior practitioner and LCPA to ensure smooth transfer at 18.

Any child protection issue will be referred to the Assessment Team duty managers, who will co-ordinate a S47 strategy meeting. The case will remain open to the key worker/team for the Looked After Child.

Guidance:

When transferring a case, the holding team will update FWI.

All the information relating to the young person will be recorded on the relevant monitoring forms used by the service area, by the appropriate team and made available to the Assessment Teams and the Leaving Care Administrators in order to inform/update government records.

10. Ceasing CSC involvement

All teams planning to cease working with a child and family should consider a TAC as part of a structured step-down plan. See Appendix 1: Terms of Reference for Children and Young People’s Pathway Joint Referral Meetings.

Cases from any team being re-referred within 6 weeks if ceasing involvement will remain the responsibility of the last responsible team. The exception to this would be if the referral reason required a new Child and Family Assessment e.g. on a different sibling or because of a new type of concern. If a social worker receives new information on a closed case, it is the responsibility of the social worker receiving the information to discuss it with their team manager and agree if the case should be referred to the MASH and/or re-opened.

Cases where the LAC team has ceased involvement following a child's rehabilitation home should be received by the Assessment Team and a planned transfer back to the LAC team made if it is less than 3 months since the rehabilitation plan was implemented, and the reasons for referral are of a similar nature.

11. Housing

Young People aged 16/17 being assessed under a Young Person’s Housing Assessment ("Southwark ruling") will be held by the Specialist Housing worker in the Assessment teams until the first review and transferred to the Specialist Housing worker in LAC (regardless of legal status i.e. S17 and S20).

Guidance:

See Protocol for Assessing and Supporting Homeless 16 and 17 year olds in Oxfordshire Procedure - link available from Frameworki, Tools.

All LAC recording should be completed in the usual way and a full support package in place prior to transfer.

12. Adoption Support Team

When the Adoption Support team is working with adoptive families and there is a danger of family breakdown, the Adoption Support Team Manager will discuss with the relevant team manager, and agree action required.   

13. Children’s Disability Service

When a request is received by the Assessment team for a Disability Assessment the Assessment team duty senior will discuss the purpose of the contact/referral with the referrer to establish whether there are any safeguarding concerns or imminent risk of placement breakdown: in these cases the Child and Family Assessment remains the responsibility of the Assessment team. The Assessment team duty worker also needs to advise the referrer of alternative support options available in the community and to check whether these have been explored before deciding whether a Specialist Disability Assessment is required. Once it is clear that there are no specific safeguarding issues and a community support plan would not be appropriate the case can progress for a Specialist Disability Assessment (which will be completed using the Child and Family Assessment).  The contact/referral should be discussed with the Children's Disability Team Manager before the case is transferred to the area CD team.  

The CD teams will retain case responsibility where the child has permanent and substantial impairments and who require attention and supervision substantially in excess of that normally required by a child of the same age. These are children who have a moderate to severe learning disability and/or a significant physical disability.

Children who are diagnosed with Asperger's or high functioning Autism and who require on-going social work support  e.g. around safe management of behaviour, work around parenting or placements will be transferred to the Family Support teams once the  assessment has been considered by Priority Panel. The case transfer will be managed using the guidance re transferring CIN cases (as above, p3 -4). CD teams will complete fwi records and the transfer will be discussed with the receiving Family Support Team Manager.

NB. In order to ensure that specialist care packages are equitably allocated the multi-agency Priority Panel should be used to benchmark care packages allocated to disabled children, including those with HF autism/Asperger's, who do not meet the eligibility criteria for case management within the disability teams. Case management responsibility transfers across to the Family Support team following Panel. If parents opt to access agreed care packages via direct payments, the CD social worker will set up the direct payment processes to assist the Family Support team and the case will transfer to the Family Support team for CIN planning and review.

Care packages agreed by Priority Panel for this group of children will be funded for 6 months by Disability budgets; after 6 months the care package should be reviewed by the Family Support Team and if funding needs to continue this will be funded from the Family Support team budget. (See Children's Disability Service and the Multi Agency Priority Panel Process - Eligibility Criteria and Service Allocation Guidelines for Community Support/Short Break Care Procedure).

14. Restricted Access Cases

If a member of the child's immediate family e.g. parent/grandparent/sibling is working in a post in the receiving team the team manager will need to approach a team in another area to transfer the case.

If a family link is identified in an area office then the team manager will need to restrict access to the case record and take responsibility for managing confidentiality and anonymity.

If the team manager believes the case cannot be managed in an area office using established processes and procedures agreement should be sought from the Area Social Care Manager to agree transfer to another area and time scales.

Appendix 1: Terms of Reference for Children and Young People’s Pathway Joint Referral Meetings

Overarching Principle

That the child remains firmly at the centre whilst interventions change in response to needs and different practitioners move in and out of their lives.

Aim

Universal, Targeted and Specialist interventions aim to improve outcomes for children by strengthening the resilience of children and their families, by reducing the risk factors associated with poor outcomes, and by preventing and protecting from harm.

Purpose

  • The ultimate aim is to embed step-up and step down processes within everyday practice so that Children’s Social Care and Early Intervention staff have the confidence to manage this without the need for joint referral meetings. However to make sure that we can closely scrutinize and quality assure the process  we are temporarily extending  Joint Referral Meetings to facilitate and monitor the step up/step down process;
  • To agree planned step down, step up and allocation processes on a multi-professional basis, which is both timely and appropriate to need and to ensure a single plan is developed;
  • To extend existing information sharing functions for previous multi-professional involvements and critical analysis of previous multi-professional interventions;

Process

Step Up

Case discussions to take place in Joint Referral Meeting with clear case plan pathway and case responsibility.

Step Down

For a referral or an assessment that does not meet the CSC threshold, discussion would take place regarding the appropriateness of EI involvement or signposting elsewhere.

For cases that are subject to a Child Protection Plan and where it has been identified that CSC involvement will cease, discussion at the Joint Referral Meeting would take place 3 months prior to step down of CSC to targeted or universal services. Step down to either Early Intervention or other services would then always be through a Signs of Safety Step Down TAC organised by the Social Worker.

For cases that have Family Support, Children in Need involvement or longer term work following the ending of a Child Protection Plan, the Family Support Team Manager or their delegate will attend the Joint Referral Meeting a minimum 6 weeks prior to step down of CSC to targeted or  universal services. Step down to either Early Intervention or other services would then always be through a Signs of Safety Step Down TAC organised by the Social Worker.

Complex Cases

Case discussions would be held relating to appropriate intervention, lead professional, case planning and integrated pathways.

Questions to be considered at the Joint Referral Meeting for Step Down

  • What were the needs and risks in this situation requiring Social Work intervention?
  • What level of CSC intervention was there? (CP/CIN/LAC);
  • What work has been done to reduce risk and strengthen family functioning?
  • Why is case stepping down at this time?
  • What outcomes remain to be achieved through integrated working model?
  • What would it look like if risk were to increase again?
  • What actions should be taken if risk increases again?
  • Are there any remaining safeguarding issues?

Questions to be considered at the Joint Referral Meeting for Step Up

  • What were the assessed needs requiring Early Intervention?
  • What work has been undertaken already?
  • What outcomes have been achieved?
  • Why does the case need intervention by Children's Social Care?
  • Are parents aware and in agreement with progression to Children's Social Care?
  • What needs to be achieved before step-down?

Working Agreement

Information Sharing

Information sharing is on a need to know basis and with the consent of children, young people and their families. Appropriate records will be shared with permission from third parties e.g. Child and Family Assessment and Core Group minutes with permission from child/young person and family and agreed via the Conference Chair. The Step Up/Down Allocation Transfer Form will also be used.

Recording

Decisions made at joint allocations to be recorded on relevant systems and the meetings minuted.

Notification

Early Intervention Hub will be notified of cases to be discussed at Joint Referral Meetings 2 working days prior to the meeting in order to allow time for agency checks - named link to be identified for each of Northern, Central and Southern Meetings.

Venue and Frequency

Venue to be agreed but there will be one Joint Referral Meeting in each of the Northern, Central and Southern areas.

Meetings will take place on a weekly basis, and will be cancelled if there are no cases to discuss.

Membership

All to attend every meeting:

  • Each Hub Service Manager or Team Leader as deputy, when SM is not available;
  • CSC Locality Senior;
  • Assessment Team Manager or delegate;
  • Area Children’s Centre and Childcare Manager or their delegate;
  • PCAHMS;
  • Thriving Families SP or above;
  • Minute taker.

On a case by case basis only:

  • Family Support Manager or delegate for a planned step down.

Review

Reviewed August 2013 and subject to further review in February 2014.

 

Children's Services Pathway

Click here to see Workflow Step Up/Step Down.

Click here to see Step Up/Step Down Allocation/Transfer Information.

Appendix 2: Kingfisher Processes and Workflow

Referrals should be directed to the Children's Assessment teams although some may come through Thames Valley Police and some taken by Kingfisher itself.  Referrers should not be passed from one agency or service to another so that referrers are not deterred from making future contact or information is lost in transition.

Kingfisher will also provide a duty/consultation service should the outcome of such a consultation be a referral, callers should be directed to the Assessment teams.

Both Kingfisher and the Assessment teams will offer advice, guidance and signposting to partner agencies and the public.  Use of the screening tool should be encouraged when discussing potential referrals with other agencies.

The Assessment teams should use the screening tool when considering any referral of a child over ten years old including children named in domestic abuse reports and those discussed at the Missing Persons Panel.

All information must be entered on CEDAR and FWi and all systems checked for additional information.

All referrals will be reviewed by police and social care team members and actions agreed.

Information Only

Where there are indications of potential CSE but not enough evidence to warrant immediate action, information will be collated and updated as and when further information is received.  Each child will in this way have a record of information, concerns and where relevant, links to other potential victims.

Strategy meetings

Where referrals need to be progressed and action taken, a multi-agency strategy meeting will be convened and chaired by the Detective Sergeant, the Team Manager or the Senior Practitioner.

Outcomes could include a S47 investigation, a full assessment (currently IA/CA) or transfer from Kingfisher to a team around a child/family (TAC/TAF) the Early Intervention Service (EIS) or another service provider.

Health

All children referred to Kingfisher where action is needed, will be offered a general health check by the health worker.  This might lead to advice on contraception, terminations or treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI) other specialist health services will be identified and contacted where appropriate.

Conferences

Multi-agency conferences will be convened following a S47 investigation or an assessment.  As a result, children may be made subject to a child protection plan or a child in need plan.  All such plans will be reviewed in accordance with CP procedures.  Child in need plans will include a sub category for ‘children at risk of sexual exploitation’.  Conferences will be convened, chaired and reviewed by the Independent Chair who will operate fully within the Kingfisher team.  However, they will remain ‘independent’ and, therefore, able to provide challenge by participating in meetings and training opportunities within the Safeguarding team of the Independent Chairs (ICS) and Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs).

Looked After Children and Care Proceedings

Should a child become subject to care proceedings through an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) or a Police Protection Order (PPO) or should care proceedings be initiated by Kingfisher, the case will transfer to the family support service at the first hearing in accordance with the transfer protocol.  However, a member of the Kingfisher team may remain involved in relation to CSE issues, possible criminal proceedings or a significant relationship with the child.

Should a child be accommodated under S20 Kingfisher will continue to provide the key worker beyond the first review in the majority of cases.  The Independent Chair in Kingfisher will continue to chair LAC reviews.

Legal Proceedings

Should the plan agreed at conference or following a S47 investigation be to seek agreement for care proceedings the usual guidance should be followed.

FWi

All work undertaken by the Kingfisher team will be recorded on FWi in accordance with usual practice.  There will be a new referral code for CSE, a new outcome from a Child and Family Assessment and a new category on CIN, LAC and CP plans.

Transfers

Although the Kingfisher team will usually remain involved for longer than the Children's Assessment teams there will need to be some throughput of work if the team is to be able to focus on children most at risk.

In some cases children may be transferred in relation to case responsibility although the worker from Kingfisher may remain involved if there is a significant relationship with the child.

Therapeutic Work

Key workers (including police and health) from the Kingfisher team will remain involved where appropriate and where there is a significant relationship with the child.

The Step-out Project will provide one to one as well as group support to victims.  It is hoped that this project will be extended by adding another project worker as well as a parent's worker in the future. There will be fast track access to CAMHS where appropriate and individual needs will be assessed and support purchased where necessary, e.g. play therapy.

Criminal Proceedings

Where appropriate (in cases where there is sufficient evidence) criminal proceedings will be progressed by Thames Valley Police within Kingfisher in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and where relevant the Serious Crimes Team.

 

Kingfisher Team Workflow

 

Appendix 3: From Arrival to Case Closure - Processes for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASCs)

This summary identifies the main pieces of work, responsibilities and transfer points.

Work completed by Assessment Team

  • After an initial referral is made, the Central Assessment Team will assess the need for support for the young person. This usually involves a Merton-compliant age assessment, which is completed by two workers;
  • UASCs need to be supported under the Children Act 1989 Section 20 (due to the Hillingdon Judgement), unless they are assessed as actually not being unaccompanied, then Section 17 of the Children Act can be used, or the Southwark Ruling if the situation is a family breakdown;
  • Once a young person is accepted as a UASC by the Directorate, relevant people are informed by Central Assessment Team;
  • Central Assessment Team will then support the young person until the first LAC review takes place (within 28 days of the young person becoming looked after). At the first LAC review, the case transfers to a worker from the LAC and LC Team;
  • The main UASC workers are Jackie Lewis, Maria Rahimi and Sara Younas. The Administrator is Katie Hutton.

Budgets

  • UASCs are supported by the Home Office budget, rather than individual team budgets;
  • The Home Office need to accept that a young person is a UASC in order for OCC to receive this funding. LAC and LC Team Administrator is responsible for liaising with the Home Office about the grant money for UASCs;
  • In certain circumstances, a young person, who is accepted as a UASC and then finds a family member, may remain a UASC and funding still be provided by the Home Office, for example if that family member can show they cannot be financially responsible for the young person;
  • A young person who has immigration issues and is going through family breakdown cannot be supported as a UASC because they have been supported by family previously so would not be accepted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) onto the UASC grant claim, so we would receive no funding for them. Young people in this situation can be supported under Section 17 or the Southwark Ruling.

Age disputes

  • Many UASCs dispute their age assessments. In this case, they will be advised to speak to their solicitor about this. Turpin and Miller Solicitors can support young people in challenging their age assessment;
  • Advice should be sought from Legal Department when dealing with age disputes).

UASCs under 16 with Assessment Team

These young people will be placed in foster care in a placement found by the Placement Duty Team.

Tasks that Assessment Team will carry out:

  • Care plan;
  • Placement plan and placement planning meeting;
  • Consent to medical treatment form;
  • LAC visit;
  • Subsequent LAC visit;
  • PEP;
  • Following of immigration process;

Tasks that need to be done by the foster carers:

  • Purchasing of a suitable wardrobe of clothes;
  • Health appointments including TB screening at the Churchill Hospital, and Initial Health Assessment;
  • Support with any immigration appointments;
  • Registration with leisure services - gym, library;
  • Orientation into the local area;
  • Support in attending the Orientation Programme;
  • School uniform shopping.

UASCs over 16 supported by Assessment Team

These young people will be housed by Key2 in their UASC shared houses.

Tasks that will be done by Key2:

  • Moving into their house and settling in, signing of tenancy agreement and health and safety;
  • Support with food shopping;
  • Support with money management - they will hand out their weekly allowance to start with;
  • Health appointments  - GP, dentist, optician, TB screening, Initial Health Assessment;
  • Clothes shopping - see section below;
  • Gym induction and clothes shopping - see below;
  • Cooking sessions;
  • Support in attending the Orientation Programme.

Asylum process

  • All UASCs need to claim asylum to comply with the law and ensure we receive UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) grant money for them.
  • Some UASCs will have already claimed asylum before they come to CEF. If not, they all need to claim asylum as swiftly as possible. (See detailed UASC guidance for more information).

Summary of FWi tasks and documents completed by Assessment Team prior to case transfer to LAC/LC

  • LAC visits - within one week and then within the first month;
  • Age assessment - stand-alone piece of work;
  • Child and Family Assessment - stand-alone piece of work;
  • Placement Plan;
  • Care Plan - if the young person is 16+, this will pull through into the Care/Pathway Plan when it is created after the first LAC review;
  • Chronology;
  • PEP core document.

First LAC review - Case transfer to Looked After and Leaving Care Team

  • This happens at the first LAC review meeting;
  • The above work should be completed by this point;
  • There may be delays with the immigration process due to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). This work will then need continuing urgently by LAC and LC as soon as the case transfers.

Transition at 18 for young people with five years limited leave to remain

  • The usual procedures for a citizen young person should be followed;
  • CEF is no longer financially responsible, so the young person will need to claim benefits, either Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance;
  • A Young Person's Housing Assessment needs to be completed prior to their 18th birthday and sent to Oxford City Council.

Transition at 18 for young people who had leave to remain until they were 17.5 years old, and have applied for further leave to remain

  • CEF is no longer financially responsible, so the young person will need to claim benefits, either Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance;
  • Given their very uncertain immigration status, it is likely these young people will be able to remain in Key2 and claim housing benefit. Key2 will help with this.

Transition at 18 for young people who are ARE

  • Transfer onto the ARE financial policy.

Appendix 4: Key Worker Protocol

Definition of key worker

Assessment, child protection, child in need and looked after child cases -

  1. All cases allocated for assessment or a service post-assessment must have an allocated key worker, who holds case responsibility;
  2. The key worker must be a qualified social worker, with the appropriate level of experience, commensurate with the type of work being undertaken, with two exceptions, detailed below; 
  3. Leaving Care Personal Advisors (LCPA) may become the key worker for looked after children and young people only if they are qualified social workers, and have the appropriate level of experience;
  4. LCPAs may be the key worker for young people who are care leavers (that is, young people aged 16-18 who qualify for leaving care services, and who were previously looked after under section 20; and care leavers over 18 who were previously subject to care orders);
  5. Direct Payments Workers (DPW) may be the key worker, under the supervision of the Team Manager, in specific circumstances - after the assessment is completed and a child in need plan is in place, and no additional services other than direct payments are required;
  6. Student social workers (SSW) may not be the key worker for cases with which they are working. Their supervising social worker will be the key worker;
  7. Newly qualified social workers (NQSW) who are not yet registered with HPC may not be the key worker. The supervising social worker/senior practitioner will be the key worker. 

Recording of key worker status on Frameworki

  • It is the Team Manager's (or their delegate's) responsibility to allocate and de-allocate the key worker and reassign case responsibility on Frameworki;
  • Following referral and the decision to proceed to assessment, a key worker must be allocated without delay;
  • At transfer points, the key worker must remain allocated until the case is transferred to the new team;
  • If it is not possible to allocate a key worker for any reason, the case must be identified as unallocated, by using the "awaiting allocation" worker relationship;
  • If the key worker is the LCPA or DP, their status should be entered on to Frameworki twice, to show them as both "key worker" and "LCPA" or "DPW";
  • If a SSW or NQSW (until registration) is working with a case, they should be recorded as an "involved worker", and the supervisory social worker should be recorded as both "key worker" and as "supervisory social worker".

Appendix 5: Letter to OLA re Transfer-in Conference requests

Dear Colleague,

Re: Request for Transfer-In Child Protection Case Conference re………

Thank you for your recent communication in respect of the above child(ren) moving to this area.  In order to progress your request for a Transfer In Child Protection Case Conference, under the terms of our protocol further information and action is requested.

Documentation required:

  • A copy of the current Child Protection Plan;
  • Copies of all previous Child Protection Case Conference minutes;
  • A copy of the last Core Group meeting minutes;
  • A current risk assessment reflecting the impact of the family’s move;
  • At least 48 hours before Transfer In conference, updated report for Transfer In Child Protection Case Conference provided for Independent Chair and Team Manager, having been shared with family.

Action required:

  • In advance of Conference, Local Core Group of professionals identified by yourselves (please request further information on local links if necessary), provided with Child Protection Plan and included on invitation list to Conference;
  • On receipt of the above, the allocated Independent Chair will contact you to discuss the issues relating to Conference and a Case Conference administrator will contact you to agree the invitation list.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,
Independent Chair