Nationally Children’s Services work within a legislative framework. Two pivotal pieces of legislation are the Children Act 1989 and the Children and Adoption Act 2004. Children’s services are guided by this legislation to ensure that we are meeting our statutory obligations under s17 and s47 of these acts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children in our area. The threshold for tier 3 or tier 4 statutory children’s social care intervention is where there is a safeguarding concern or a complex need. Below is guidance on possible scenarios which professionals may be faced with when working with children and families and which would meet the threshold for statutory children’s services intervention. ‘Significant’ means Consideration of the severity of ill-treatment may include the degree and the extent of physical harm, the duration and frequency of abuse and neglect, the extent of premeditation, and the presence or degree of threat, coercion, sadism and bizarre or unusual elements as well as the protective factors in the child's life that may promote their resilience to adverse factors. 'Harm' means ill-treatment or the impairment of health or development, including for example impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another; 'Development' means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development; 'Health' means physical or mental health; and 'Ill-treatment' includes Sexual Abuse and forms of ill-treatment that are not physical. Physical Emotional Sexual Neglect What examples can you give me for each area? Where a child has disclosed that they have been physically chastised in a way which is considered excessive, harmful and outside the boundaries of the law. Where a child has disclosed that they have been physically harmed which has resulted in the child having a mark or an injury. This may include being punched, slapped, kicked or hit with an implement. Where a child is being exposed to an environment which is deemed emotionally harmful. For example, where a child is living in a home where there is domestic violence or where a parent / carer is excessively emotionally harmful towards the child. Where there is domestic violence, and the parent / parents are not taking appropriate action to safeguard their children from harm attributable to being exposed to the violence. Where there are concerns that the needs of the child are being neglected and the parents are failing to facilitate change. Where a child’s environment is deemed harmful to their health which requires immediate action or where a parent is failing to facilitate change to improve the child’s environment. Where the child discloses or there is evidence that they have been sexually harmed. Where a child sustains an unexplained injury or where the explanation for the injury does not appear consistent with the injury. Child thought to be at risk to themselves or others. Child beyond parental control. Where the child’s health or development is likely to be impaired by a parents inability or unwillingness to meet the child’s needs appropriately. Where the parents behavior or inability to provide the child with appropriate care places the child at risk of harm. Where a child and their family are deemed as destitute and all other service provisions have been exhausted. A key factor in many serious case reviews has been a failure to record information; To take appropriate action in relation to known or suspected abuse or neglect; To make a referral to social care and to share the information appropriately; To understand the significance of the information shared. Police lead initiative Local Authority delivery Purpose – To Improve the way that local safeguarding partnerships deal with child protection referrals, bringing a range of partners together into a single multi-agency safeguarding hub to share information quickly and efficiently. MASH’s being implemented across England Pan London MASH Operational Steering Group Children’s focus – long term joint Children’s & Adult MASH Variation in structure and establishment / participation. Co located partners : Social Care MASH officers Police Public Protection Desk Health representatives Education/Targeted Support Liaison Probation (p/t) CAMHS (p/t) Substance Misuse (p/t) Adult Mental Health Liaison (p/t) Single Points of Contact (SPOC’s): Housing Youth Offending Service Probation Community Safety – ASB Team Comprehensive multi agency risk assessment Reactive, not preventative Intelligence led decision making Cases will step up into Social Care based on more information/assessment. Cases will be safely stepped down to Tier 2, with more information/assessment. Reduction in cases ‘bouncing’ up and down across Tier 2 and 3. Greater partnership working across the Council Greater partnership awareness of thresholds for intervention. Earlier identification of need and risk. Better informed safeguarding decisions. Better outcomes for children. The information provided in the referral is crucial for Children’s Services to be able to make a decision on whether a child meets the threshold for intervention. The Multi-Agency Referral Form (MARF) is designed to help us to focus the referrer on what their concern is and why it requires a statutory assessment. It is important that as much information is included in the referral as possible. It is essential that where there has been an immediate safeguarding concern identified, that the referrer contacts Children’s Services to inform us that they will be sending a MARF. This allows us to be able to give priority to that referral. It is helpful to the decision making process that the referrer is clear and concise in what the concerns for a child are. Is it something the child said? Does the child have an injury? The question that children’s services will ask is: What did the child say? What does the injury look like and what was the explanation for the injury by the child and parent? Where there is concern that informing a parent or carer of a child’s disclosure could place the child at further risk of harm, then the intention of making a referral does not need to be shared with the parent. In cases where this is possible, as good practice, parents should be informed that a referral to children’s services is being made as part of working in partnership with the parent. All professionals making a referral to Children’s Services need to complete a MARF. It is also very important that the details of other family members and professionals involved with the child are recorded on the MARF. This includes names and dates of birth for all family members as well as contact details for all those involved. This enables children’s services to be able to undertake the necessary checks and share the information with partner agencies which may be a determining factor in the level of response from Children’s Services. The MARF needs to be as clear and concise as possible – ideally typed or in clear hand writing. The name of the referrer and contact details need to be clearly recorded. The ‘reason for referral’ section needs to clearly state why you, as the referrer, believe that a safeguarding assessment is required. (bullet points where possible). When, where and why did the concerns arise? When were you as the referrer informed? If there has been a delay in referral – why? What previous work has been undertaken? CAF / Targeted Family Support. Why you feel that the concerns can not be managed / continued to be managed at a tier 2 / universal level. Have you discussed your concerns with a MAP coordinator and are they in agreement that the concerns require a safeguarding referral? Whether any children / parent in the home who have a disability, mental health, substance misuse issues. Whether there has been a history of domestic violence. Whether anyone in the family identifies with the LGBT community. Has the referral been discussed with the parents? Unless you feel that by discussing the referral with the parent could place the child at further risk, i.e. child has disclosed physical harm, attempts should be made to discuss the referral with the parents. Up to date relevant information – address, telephone numbers, relationships, professionals involved, DOB’s, full names, alias’. Any other relevant information which may not be immediately known to the Triage team such as whether the family have been known to other local authorities, had children previously removed from their care. Acknowledgement of the referral within 24 hours. The MASH Team will aim to make a decision on the MARF within 24 hours as to whether a safeguarding assessment is necessary. Where there has been a MARF sent which warrants a s47 investigation, this will be given priority by the MASH Team. The MASH Team will base their decision on the information available to them. Aim to provide the referrer with guidance on how to proceed with supporting the child / family where concerns do not meet the threshold for statutory intervention. Clear case recording on the Children’s Social Care system, ICS, around conversations had and decisions made in MASH.