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  • Children, Families andEducation Directorate

    Childrens Social ServicesIndex of Social Work Tasks and


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    IInnddeexx ooff SSoocciiaall WWoorrkk TTaasskkss aanndd RReessppoonnssiibbiilliittiieess

    Photos on following pages courtesy of Cover topleft, top centre, top right and bottom far right. Page 2: Top centre, top right.

    Page 3: Top centre. Page 33: far right. Page 39: Top right.

    March 2007

  • Children, Families and Education Directorate

    Childrens Social ServicesIndex of Social Work Tasks

    and Responsibilities


    Introduction 2

    Chapter 1 - Introduction to Social Work 3

    Chapter 2 - Introduction to Children's Social Work Services in Kent 9

    Chapter 3 - Kent Policy Framework 15

    Chapter 4 - Assessment and Intervention services 22

    Chapter 5 - County and Specialist Services 27

    Chapter 6 - Externally commissioned statutory services 33

    Chapter 7 - Ancillary services for Children in Need 36

    Chapter 8 - Strategy, Policy and Performance 39

    Appendix 1 - Glossary of frequently used terms and acronyms 46

    Appendix 2 - Legislative and national policy framework 49

    Appendix 3 - Kent policy framework 50

    Appendix 4 CSS - organisation, staffing & core activity 51

    Contents Page

  • Introduction

    The Children Act 2004 requires major changes in the way agencies worktogether. While the legislation does not change the core tasks ofChildrens Social Services, this document, which describes the tasks andresponsibilities of Childrens Social Services and how these are organisedin Kent, has been developed to contribute to improving partnership workingby promoting a better understanding of the social work role.

    Every effort has been made to avoid jargon in this document and to clarifyacronyms. In addition, a Glossary of terms is attached as Appendix 1.

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  • Legislative and national policy framework

    Childrens Social Services is very heavily regulated and a table settingout the legislative and national policy framework is attached as Appendix2. However, a synopsis of key legislation is set out below:

    The Local Authorities Social Services Act 1970 provides the framework for accountability and responsibility for social work services.It states that every local authority with social services responsibilities hasa statutory responsibility to designate an individual to be accountable andresponsible for ensuring:

    m The quality of services that are in place for supporting and protecting children;

    m That there are management and accountability structures in place that deliver safe and effective services.

    The Children Act 2004 vests these responsibilities in the Director ofChildrens Services (DCS). In Kent the Managing Director of Children,Families and Education Directorate is the Director of Childrens Servicesfor the purposes of this Act.

    The Children Act 1989 and its supporting regulations and guidance provide the main legal framework for childrens social work. The Actintroduced the following terminology:

    Children, Families and Education Directorate 3

    Chapter 1Introduction to Social Work

  • Children in need (CIN) - the Children Act 1989 introduced the term Children in Need and the Act states that a child shall be taken to be in need if:

    he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity ofachieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development with the provision to him of services by a local authority;his health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired without the provision for him of such services or he is disabled.

    Children within the child protection and looked after childrens systemsare Children in Need.

    m Child Protection (CP) a primary task for Childrens Social Services is to protect children who are at risk of significant harm (legal definition) through abuse or neglect. Effective child protection services require collaboration across a number of organisations. Social Services practitioners engaged in child protection work link closely with the police.

    Childrens Social Services are currently responsible for maintaining a child protection register of children whom a child protection conference has agreed are at continuing risk of abuse or neglect and require a child protection plan. The register may not be necessary once information sharing indexes are in place across the country.

    The child protection plan must be reviewed at regular intervals set by statutory regulations. The % of reviews held on time is monitored by government under the Performance Assessment Framework and contributes towards the authoritys star rating.

    m Looked after Children (LAC) children may be subject to a care order made by a court or accommodated at the request of their parent(s). Children normally come into care because they have been abused or neglected. If a child is subject to a care order this means that his/her parental responsibilities are shared between the parents and the local authority through its social services. Thismeans that to all intents and purposes the rights and responsibilities of a parent are held by Social Services on behalf

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  • of the local authority and operated through the childs social worker.If the child is accommodated parental responsibility remains with the parents.

    Plans for looked after children are set out in Care plans, which mustbe reviewed at regular intervals as set out in statutory regulations. Local authorities are assessed on the % of reviews conducted on time.

    m Disabled Children - the Children Act 1989 Act sets out that a childis disabled if he is blind, deaf or dumb or suffers from mental disorder of any kind or is substantially and permanently handicapped by illness, injury or congenital deformity or such other disability as may be prescribed. In this context developmentmeans physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. Health means physical or mental health. The Act emphasised the need to recognise disabled children as children firsteven though they may have specific needs.

    m Working in partnership - the Children Act 1989 also requires Childrens Social Services to work in partnership with parents, carers and other agencies in the best interests of children. Partners include a whole range of colleagues from other parts of the local authority, health agencies, police, and schools, Youth Offending Service, Probation, Asylum service, District Councils and the voluntary sector.

    Inevitably the form of partnership with other agencies will be different fromthat entered into with parents/family or children. Partnership can meanmany things and does not necessarily mean equality in terms of decisionmaking and it is important to be clear which it is in any given circumstances.

    The role of the social worker requires them particularly to be expert indeveloping successful partnerships with children and their families, often incircumstances where they are protecting children and promoting their welfare while the family are in conflict with each other and the authority.Achieving a successful partnership on a long-term basis is therefore a challenging task that goes through various stages that require patience,time and commitment to maintain.

    Children, Families and Education Directorate 5

  • The Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and theirFamilies (DOH 2000) is statutory guidance that is fundamental to socialwork as it sets out the way social workers must collect, record, understand and analyse information against 3 key dimensions oftenreferred to as the assessment triangle:

    m Childs individual needsm Parenting capacitym Family and environmental factors

    The framework comprises:

    m An initial assessment that must be completed within 7 days. Initial assessments undertaken by professionals from other agencies can be accepted by Social Services as long as they provide sufficient information across the dimensions and this is used to inform an analysis of the problems. The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is similar to a social work initial assessment. The initial assessment determines whether a case is eligible for a social work service;

    m If the initial assessment confirms that the case is eligible then a core assessment, which is a specialist social work assessment, is pursued in order to determine the level of the childs needs and how these might be met. This process must be completed within 35 days. Core Assessments often run in parallel with child protection investigations and care proceedings. Social workers rely on contributions from colleagues in health and education to provide a holistic view of the child and their family. The framework timescales are monitored by DfES as part of the Performance Assessment Framework that applies to Social Services activities;

    m Other specialist assessments might also be required. These are separate from and additional to core assessments and not subjectto the same timescales.

    The NHS & Community Care Act 1990 introduced thepurchaser/provider concept and provides the framework for ChildrensSocial Services commissioning function. Funding of services commissioned through voluntary organisations is made in accordancewith powers under S.65 of the Health Services and Public Health Act1968.

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