Children`s Social Care & MASH

Report
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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.
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‘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.
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Physical
Emotional
Sexual
Neglect
What examples can you give me for each area?
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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.
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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.
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A key factor in many serious case reviews has been
a failure to record information;
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To take appropriate action in relation to known or
suspected abuse or neglect;
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To make a referral to social care and to share the
information appropriately;
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To understand the significance of the information
shared.
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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.
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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.
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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)
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Single Points of Contact
(SPOC’s):
Housing
Youth Offending Service
Probation
Community Safety – ASB
Team
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.

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