This protocol reflects the principle that work in relation to disabled children will be integrated in all work related to children and families across Children's Social Care, and will not be exclusively managed by a specialist team.
The protocol reflects, and aims to further develop, current practice that ensures the skills of all workers are used to consistently optimise positive outcomes for all children. There are two key principles which underpin this:
The Disabled Children's Team will focus on that group of children with severe disabilities where the needs specifically relate to the child's disability. The specific criteria are children who have a:
Children with generalised learning difficulties will continue to be dealt with by MAST and other Children's Social Care Teams. Children within this group include those with emotional and behavioural difficulties with no specific diagnosis, ADHD, mental ill health and aspergers or autism where there is no significant learning disability.
Where there are issues that do not specifically relate to a disabled child or young person within the family then these issues will continue to be considered by MAST and other Children's Social Care Teams. For example issues in relation to domestic violence, homelessness, family functioning, or financial issues.
A key principle for all Social Care Teams is that there should be only one social worker working with a child and their family, any exceptions to this will need to be agreed to by Service Managers.
MAST will transfer contacts or referrals to DCT where these relate to Children in Need if they require a social work lead and they meet the eligibility criteria. In order to ensure appropriateness and a timely response, MAST will seek key information to determine whether the child meets the eligibility criteria (see 2). The basic principle will be that work which is for DCT will be transferred as early as possible commensurate with an accurate and appropriate judgement that it is work that needs to be undertaken by the DCT.
Disabled children who are referred (or who are re- referred) to Children's Social Care because they have suffered or are likely to suffer Significant Harm, will be dealt with by MAST. This covers any child who is not currently open on the Child's Electronic Record to a social worker in the DCT. Consultation will be available from a Community Nurse or Occupational Therapist in the Disabled Children's Team where the child has been known.
If at the conclusion of the work from MAST the child is subject to a Child Protection Plan then the case responsibility will transfer in the usual way to the Locality Team or the DCT if the primary focus is a child's disability. If the child has a Child in Need status and the criteria for the DCT are met and the child is at Continuum of Need Level 4 or 5 then transfer will be to the DCT
If a child is allocated to the Disabled Children's Team and subsequently becomes subject to a Section 47 investigation and then a Child Protection Plan or is removed from home, case responsibility will be retained by the Disabled Children's Team in order to ensure a continuity of service to the child.MAST will be available to provide consultation to the allocated social worker in the Disabled Children's Team.
Social workers in the DCT have experience of proceedings and would retain case responsibility during the process.
The Disabled Children's Team will provide consultancy services to other teams within Children's Social Care where they are managing a child or young person who meets the eligibility criteria. Consultation will focus on support to the allocated worker, and on occasions to the child or family. Through this approach skills/knowledge can be shared and a maximum of children's workers can receive consultation. This approach is in recognition of the other priorities within DCT service.
A transfer request may be made to the Disabled Children's Team where the child or young person meets the eligibility criteria, and the focus of activity relates to the child's disability. This will be considered on a case by case basis to minimise disruption to the child and family and ensure services are appropriately targeted to meet the child or young person needs.
Any social worker in Children's Social Care can access short breaks or other services of an Intensive Behavioural Nurse or Community Nurse or Occupational Therapist, provided the child meets the required eligibility criteria. In these situations consultancy work will be available either from a social worker or Learning Disability Nurse, but allocation to a social worker or Learning Disability Nurse will not be required.
In the event of the DCT funding short breaks originating from other Social Care Teams the responsibility for case management will remain with that Team and not the DCT.
Only valid for 48hrs