See also: MAST Handbook - The MAST (Multi Agency Screening Team) operates borough wide and is the first contact point for all new referrals regarding children and young people. The service comprises a multi-agency team of social care staff, police, health and Early Intervention.Advice on Making Decisions about Thresholds for Intervention.
The local authority will make a decision and record next steps of action within 24 hours.
The Multi Agency Screening Team (MAST) provides an information and advice telephone service for public and professionals to discuss any potential concerns/queries in relation to children and young people.
When professionals make a written contact/referral that does not meet the threshold for Children's Social Care Intervention the referrer will be provided with information and advice or re-directed to another agency. They will be informed of this decision and advised to record this on their relevant records.
Upon receipt of a contact/referral, it should be established whether the contact/referral is:
Contact/referrals are taken by the MAST Business Support; if it appears that the child may be a Child in Need, the case will be passed to the Team/Practice Manager who will screen the contact to determine if it meets the threshold for further screening by a MAST social worker.
Any contact which indicates that there are child protection concerns must immediately be drawn to the attention of the Team/Practice Manager.A contact/referral record will be inputted on the child's electronic record.
The response to a contact/referral will be informed by the Continuum of Need and Response model (see Calderdale Safeguarding Children Partnership: Continuum of Need and Response) which clarifies thresholds for intervention and access to services. The Advice on Making Decisions about Thresholds for Intervention can also be consulted.
In consultation with the Team/Practice Manager, the duty Social Worker will process the contact/ referral. Any referral made by a professional/agency should be confirmed in writing within 48 hours if a child protection concern. Any other query/request will not be accepted without a written referral. Personal information about non-professional referrers should not be disclosed to the parents or other agencies without the referrer's consent. Should a referrer wish to remain anonymous this should be clearly recorded.
The Social Worker will attempt to speak to the person making the referral, to discuss their concerns in more detail.
The Social Worker should also establish with any professional whether the parent(s) and children (of sufficient age and understanding) are aware of the referral or have given their consent. If not, the Social Worker should consult the referrer and arrange for them to be informed and their consent sought for the process of checks/assessments - unless informing them would pose a serious risk to the child or others. In this case the Team/Practice Manager should be consulted and may authorise checks and assessments to be conducted without the child/parent's knowledge. The authorisation/consent must be recorded.
Once it has been established that a child appears to be a Child in Need the Social Worker should establish:
This process will involve:
In cases where there is a further contact/referral which meets the threshold for further action on a child within 3 months of closing to the Locality or Disabled Children's Team, this will be assigned to the relevant Team Inbox and contact will be made with the Team/Practice Manager.
Contact/referrals in respect of disabled children with complex health needs will be discussed with the Disabled Children's Team (DCT) where these relate to Children in Need and they meet the Disabled Children's Team eligibility criteria. Following agreement the contact will be passed to the Disabled Children's Team. The Disabled Children's Team will focus on the group of children with severe disabilities, where the needs specifically relate to the child or young person's disability. The specific criteria are children or young people who have a:
If the Disabled Children's Team/Practice Manager's decision is that the children with disabilities criteria is not met this will be recorded on the electronic file system and the contact / referral will then follow the normal MAST process.Where the criteria is met for a Strategy Discussion/Meeting the Disabled Children's Team will be invited to that meeting to determine what support they can provide to the Children's Assessment Team.
There are 3 possible outcomes:
Only valid for 48hrs