The Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2015)
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) sets out the core functions of Trafford’s Safeguarding Children Board (TSCB). One of the functions is the development of a Threshold Guidance.
This document is intended to assist professionals within the Trafford Children, Families and Wellbeing workforce to identify suitable responses to needs and issues that they encounter amongst the children, young people and families they are working with.
It is not intended to be prescriptive, exhaustive, definitive or used as a document for automatically opening or closing a gateway to a particular service or range of services. The needs of children and young people and their families need to be considered on a case by case basis and responses based on assessment professional judgement and, where appropriate, relevant statutory guidance.
Safeguarding Children Thresholds in Trafford
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) sets out the core function of Trafford’s Safeguarding Children Board (TSCB). One of the functions is the development of policies and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. A specific application of this function is in setting out thresholds for referrals to agencies, including Children’s Social Care, of children who may be in need, and, processes for robust multi–agency assessment of children in need.
Parenting, Family Life and Support Services
Patterns of family life vary and there is no one perfect way to bring up children. Good parenting involves caring for children’s basic needs, keeping them safe, showing warmth and love and providing stimulation needed for their development and to help them achieve their potential within a stable environment where they experience consistent guidance and boundaries. It is acknowledged that parenting can be challenging. Parents themselves require and deserve support. Asking for help should be seen as a sign of responsibility rather than as a parenting failure.
A wide range of services and professionals provide support to families in bringing up children. In the majority of cases, it should be the decision of parents when to ask for help and advice on their children’s care and upbringing. However, professionals do also need to engage parents early when to do so may prevent problems or difficulties becoming worse. Only in exceptional cases should there be compulsory intervention in family life, for example, where this is necessary to safeguard children from significant harm. Such intervention should – provided this is consistent with the safety and welfare of the child – support families in making their own plans for the welfare and protection of their children.
A Shared Responsibility
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children – and in particular protecting them from significant harm – depends upon effective joint working between agencies and workers / practitioners that have different roles and expertise.
Individual children, especially some of the most vulnerable children and those at greatest risk of social exclusion, will need coordinated help from Health, Education, Children’s Social Care, and quite possibly the voluntary sector and other agencies, including youth justice services. Adult services, such as mental health or substance misuse services should always include consideration of the needs of any children and young people involved and possible risks of harm to them when planning the adult’s ongoing treatment or discharging the adult from their care into the community.
Assessment of Need
Children have varying needs that change over time. Assessment of need should be based on competent professional judgment based on a sound assessment of the child’s needs, the parents’ capacity to respond to those needs, including their capacity to keep children safe from significant harm, and the wider family circumstances. The Early Heath Assesment Plan (EHAP) will support practitioners / workers in the assessment of need.
Thresholds have been developed based on a continuum of need and services to promote early intervention and support to children and their families based on assessment of need.
There are four levels of need within Trafford’s threshold criteria with corresponding assessment processes. Examples of services that may be provided, alongside examples of protective factors that may be present, are outlined in the threshold criteria document. Children can move across the levels depending on their level of need at particular times in their lives. However, if there is concern that a child may be at risk of harm, or has been harmed, an immediate referral to MARAT should be made.