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Professionals working with or caring for children and young people
This section applies to you if you are a ‘professional’ working with or caring for children and young people in an employed or voluntary capacity. This includes people whose job brings them into contact with children infrequently or on an ad-hoc basis, such as ambulance drivers or clergy.
Here, you will find access to policies and procedures, Training and E-learning and frequently accessed guidance.
Reporting the Abuse of a Child or Young Person
If you are concerned that a child, young person or a vulnerable adult, is at risk of or experiencing abuse or neglect, or you yourself are a victim of abuse, you should report it straight away so that the appropriate services can take the appropriate actions to prevent harm.
Policies and Procedures
All organisations will have their own policies and procedures. These should be read in line with the procedures for the Warrington Safeguarding Partnership. You will find practice guidance, policies and procedures within this online site. We regularly update guidance so please always access policies and procedures from this site so you can be sure to be working to the latest versions.
All Warrington Safeguarding Partnership local documents will be incorporated into the ‘Warrington Protocols’ section on the online site.
Documents soon to be uploaded:
All documents uploaded
Training / E Learning
Other relevant guidance
Threshold of Need and Response Guidance
The Threshold of Need and Response document has been designed to ensure that children’s needs are responded to at an appropriate level and in a timely way. This guidance should be seen as overarching guidance for the children and young people’s workforce in Warrington and be used as a guide for all agencies, professionals and volunteers to consider how to best meet the additional needs and vulnerabilities of individual children and the actions required to meet those needs.
This document is based on 3 key principles:
- Supporting children, young people, families, carers and communities to help themselves wherever possible by developing a strengths based model/approach.
- Services should work to quickly identify children, young people, families or carers who might need extra help from them.
- Services should act quickly as soon as they know help is needed.
There are four levels that take into account the different stages of need and types of
Intervention which are available to children and their families. Children can move across the levels at different times in their lives, or at different times during agencies’ contact with them. Support might be provided on a single agency basis or a multi-agency basis.
The service response is directed at reducing risk and vulnerability and meeting needs at the appropriate level of intervention. Access to effective early help and prevention services is essential to achieving this.
Early Help refers both to help in the critical early years of a child’s life and also to help throughout a child, young person and family’s life too. Early help intervention should happen as soon as possible when difficulties emerge in order to prevent problems from worsening or becoming entrenched. Warrington’s early help offer is underpinned by colleagues in Universal services identifying the need for support at an early stage for those families who may need it.
Effective and outcome focused early help services may occur at any point in a family’s life from pre-birth to young adulthood. Early Help has a key role to play in supporting vulnerable adults.
Our ambition in Warrington is to provide access to coordinated early help in accordance with need as soon as difficulties are identified - particularly for those with multiple and complex needs. This support will be based on a robust assessment (using the early help assessment, combined assessment or specialist agency assessment) of needs, will be personalised, evidence based, multi- agency, strengths based and embedded within our whole family approach.
The key principles behind this approach are:
- Children and young people and their families/carers will be supported to live safe, happy, healthy and fulfilling lives to promote their development into responsible adult citizens
- Effective and timely early help services can break the inter-generational cycle of risk and vulnerability
- Effective early help services, underpinned by robust Universal Services will support families to become more resilient and develop the capability to prevent and resolve problems themselves - this is our vision for community capacity building and developing an asset based approach
- Effective and timely early help services can help to reduce demand for higher cost specialist services and achieve much greater use of community based universal preventative services through, for example, our children’s centres offer, the 0-19 integrated Public Health offer, our schools and neighbourhood services.
There is a statutory need to contact children’s social care when needs escalate to a level of significant harm and the practitioner identifying those concerns should make contact with MASH to seek specialist advice on how to manage further support.
Early help assessments
Early Help Assessments (EHA) are how professionals identify and assess the family's needs. The assessment is completed with the family and a range of different organisations, such as schools and health services. This is so the support given meets the needs of the whole family. An EHA means everyone can make sure the support is working and making a difference to the family. It also helps to improve local services for everyone.
Any professional working with a family, such as those based in schools, health services, or in voluntary sector organisations, can offer early help services by responding to identified needs in order to offer advice, support and intervention. Early Help works best when it is offered to the whole family and when services are delivered jointly by professionals. Early Help is everyone’s business.
You can find out more in the Early Help e-booklet which contains information including what the service provides, children centres, education, childcare and support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Concerns about Professionals / Volunteers
The Role of the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer)
Children can be subjected to abuse by those who work with them in any setting. All allegations of abuse or maltreatment of children by a professional, staff member, foster carer, or volunteer must therefore be taken seriously and treated in accordance with consistent procedures.
All allegations of abuse of children by those who work with children must be taken seriously. Allegations against any person who works with children, whether in a paid or unpaid capacity, cover a wide range of circumstances.
The Allegations Against Staff and Volunteers procedure should be applied when there is such an allegation or concern that a person who works with children, has:
- Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
- Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child;
- Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children.
These behaviours should be considered within the context of the four categories of abuse (i.e. physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect).
If concerns arise about the person's behaviour to their own children, the Police and/or Children's Social Care must consider informing the employer / organisation in order to assess whether there may be implications for children with whom the person has contact at work / in the organisation, in which case this procedure will apply.
Allegations of historical abuse should be responded to in the same way as contemporary concerns. In such cases, it is important to find out whether the person against whom the allegation is made is still working with children and if so, to inform the person's current employer or voluntary organisation or refer their family for assessment.
Warrington Safeguarding Partnership members should have a named senior officer who has overall responsibility for ensuring that the organisation operates procedures for dealing with allegations.
If you have received or have a concern about a professional or volunteer then please refer to a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) on 01925 442079 to discuss your concerns.
A private fostering arrangement is essentially one that is made without the involvement of a Local Authority for the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if disabled) by someone other than a parent or close relative for 28 days or more. A relative is defined in the Children Act 1989 as a grandparent, uncle or aunt (whether by full-blood, half-blood or by marriage or civil partnership), sibling or step-parent. Privately fostered children are a diverse and sometimes vulnerable group which includes:
- Children sent from abroad to stay with another family, usually to improve their educational opportunities;
- Asylum-seeking and refugee children;
- Teenagers who, having broken ties with their parents, are staying in short-term arrangements with friends or other non-relatives;
- Children who stay with another family whilst their parents are in hospital, prison or serving overseas in the armed forces;
- Language students living with host families
When to refer to Private Fostering
Answering a few simple questions will tell you when you must refer.
Under the Children Act 1989, private foster carers and those with Parental Responsibility are required to notify the local authority of their intention to privately foster or to have a child privately fostered, or where a child is privately fostered in an emergency.
Teachers, health and other professionals should notify the local authority of a private fostering arrangement that comes to their attention, where they are not satisfied that the arrangement has been or will be notified.
Notifying Children's Social Care
To notify Warrington Children’s Social Care of the arrangement, ideally with notice, contact a social worker. Email email@example.com with basic details about the arrangement or call 01925 443400.
It is the duty of every local authority to satisfy itself that the welfare of the children who are privately fostered within their area is being satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted. The local authority must also arrange to visit privately fostered children at regular intervals.
Escalation Policy / Professional Challenge
When working with practitioners from other agencies there will at times be differences of opinion or concerns about professional practice in relation to a child, young person or family.
Throughout our work the safety and wellbeing of the child or young person is the primary concern and professional disagreements must not obstruct this.
If you feel that a practitioner or an agency is not acting in the best interests of the child, young person or family, you have a responsibility to respectfully challenge the practitioner or agency, and escalate that concern if resolution is not achieved.
All agencies are responsible for ensuring that their staff are supported and know how to appropriately escalate and resolve intra-agency and inter-agency concerns and challenges about a child or young person’s wellbeing and the response to their safeguarding needs.
Child Death Overview Panel
If you have received a request for information in relation to a child death then please see section 3 of the Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) procedures for guidance.
For further information, or if you have any queries or feedback, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org