researchers (e.g. Brown, 2010 ) have noted the risk averse climate in which children’s services leaders and practitioners are working which might have been expected to lead to cautious responses to the innovation involved in this project.
The idea, then, that an unpaid, untrained volunteer, albeit one who has been vetted using procedures modelled on those used by local authorities to assess foster parents, could support children who otherwise would come into care under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 is unsurprisingly challenging for some. Indeed, officials in 4 local authorities raised questions about the legal status of children diverted from care. One local authority involved in the evaluation took the view that, although supported by SafeFamilies, the cases should still be captured under Section 20 and, as such, counted under local authority statistical returns, which stood against one of the primary aims of the innovation.
The majority of staff described the key mechanism by which Compass was effective was through working with the whole family to empower children, young people and families to better manage emotional and behavioural difficulties in the home, which reduced the need to engage with services as well as preventing the escalation of difficulties to the point of crisis. Compass support of the whole family was also reported by young people as a key mechanism. Furthermore, the ability to work flexibly to meet the individual needs of children, young people and families was described by Compass staff as the lynchpin to this innovation. Young people independently reported the same – that is, the positive effect of the service’s flexibility. Another mechanism reported by staff was the multidisciplinary team work which, according to them, provided the right mix of skills to meet the individual needs of children, young people and families; gave staff the opportunity to learn from, and support, colleagues; and to come together to share knowledge and experience about a case.
State Recruitment Efforts
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA) Partnership
To keep older children with lengthy placement histories from lingering in the foster care system in Ohio and further assure the population of adoptive families reflects the ethnic and racial diversity of children needing permanency, ODJFS began a partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in July, 2012. At that time, ODJFS allocated $2.3 million, including $1.1 million in state funding, to hire specialized, child-focused recruiters whose sole mission is to find adoptive families or other permanency (legal custody/reunification) for older children in foster care. In state fiscal year 2013, the amount allocated was increased to just over $3.4 million per fiscal year, and the target population expanded to include children in a planned permanent living arrangement (PPLA) status. The contract has been renewed through state fiscal year 2017. Using the renowned child-focused, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK) program model, recruiters across Ohio work to match and place children between the ages of 9 and 17, who have been awaiting adoption for more than two years or those who are in the legal status of PPLA. WWK strategies include: an initial referral process; relationship building; in-depth case record reviews; child-specific family search efforts; assessments; child readiness efforts; network capacity building; and child-focused recruitment plans.
Figure 5: Rate of Looked After Children per 10,000 in Surrey (10 to 17 year olds)
Source: Surrey Council Focus groups
The Assessment and Support Service and, in time, HOPE House were discussed as reducing or minimising crisis, and preventing placement breakdown by intervening early; and providing respite services and skills to help young people and families better manage emotional and behavioural difficulties at home. Staff provided examples of cases demonstrating enhanced care for children, young people and families, including quicker access to inpatient beds during a crisis, swifter and more supported discharge, and crisis management. Correspondingly, participants noted that this should result in cost savings, as fewer agencies would need to be involved since the severity of a young person’s situation should be prevented from
Restorative social work
There was a consistent, strategic focus on changing the culture and practice of social work teams so that they would practise restoratively. It ensured that they worked in high challenge / high support ways with one another. This created more open, harmonious and skilled social work practitioners and teams, which prevented some children from entering care and secured better outcomes for children and families. In our qualitative and survey data collection, we found social workers regarded Leeds as a good place to practice. Child Protection Conference Chairs and Independent Review Officers who were interviewed had also attended restorative practice training and were all very positive about it, and its impact on social work in Leeds.
Strategic and operational responses to CSE are complicated by the fact that London is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world. CSE does not respect geographical boundaries and is enabled by the city’s extensive and developed transport network, and its status as a global transport hub. Within this context it is challenging for local boroughs to reach an understanding of local prevalence of risk and experience of CSE; a task that has increasingly been taken more seriously (Becket et al, 2014). Collaboration between boroughs in mapping and working is essential, otherwise CSE affected young people can be placed together without risks being known, and the risks to children missing out of borough, or being educated in other boroughs, can remain unknown. Some forms of CSE are perpetrated by gangs, and over 50% of London’s local authorities have been
influence on the outcome, mentors would enable parents to share hopes and fears about adoption, without fear of prejudicing their chances of success. In this way, it was
anticipated that prospective parents would be retained through the process, thereby mitigating significantly the very high drop-out rate identified nationally at the time of Programme development in 2014-2015. Having a larger pool of parents who felt more confident, both in themselves and of the process, and supported on their way, would improve the chance that children waiting for an adoptive home would be placed more readily. This would especially be the case where parental uncertainty about child needs, as described, might previously have pre- prevented the opportunity of a match. The intention was for the Programme to recruit and support 20 mentors, to be available to prospective adoptive parents across the 10 Partner local authorities. This would include the 175 parents expected to be recruited by Cornerstone as part of the Programme model (see below).
Mixed views about the partnership meetings – some find it quite tedious to discuss cases where things are going well, however, where things aren't going well the information is very useful.
We have monthly meetings, but I don't want to have my time used up for a couple of hours talking about cases which for FSA are closed. I don't mind talking with them and having meetings about referrals and families on our books that might benefit from the SFSC, but not closed cases. For these cases, they need to have the autonomy and confidence to work through issues, to assess, to rely on their supervisors and, if they assess the children are still at risk, to notify and have the notification assessed via the normal process.
Trust structure - The introduction of a locality model, and changes to the structure of Early Help led by DMBC, were seen by Trust staff and partners to have changed the organisational landscape of children’s social care services for the better. The locality model means Heads of Services for each area are now located with their team, leading to greater senior management visibility and involvement in case decisions (resulting in examples reported by staff and managers in interviews of better case handling and quicker decision-making on cases). Improved team working was reported by staff as resulting from the Intensive Family Support service, Assessment and Child Protection service and Children in Care service teams being located in the same building across locations, and therefore being more able to share information about cases. Since the implementation of the Early Help Partnership Strategy, a range of improvements have been identified through qualitative interviews and indicator analysis: increasingly clearer referral thresholds, examples of more appropriate referrals into social care, and stronger management structure and oversight. However, the Early Help Strategy Group have identified that further work is needed to consolidate the changes to Early Help and
This could provide evidence of the impact of SHARE on rates of children going into care. Nonetheless, these are useful indications of what SHARE could do in the future to evaluate their services
larger sample sizes and longer follow-up periods would be needed to provide more robust conclusions. This is because changes in empowerment, mental health, wellbeing and resilience might take longer to be reflected in the standardised measures. In addition, a measure such as the Goals and Goal Based Outcomes (Law & Jacob, 2013) could be used to record specific changes that young people are interested in and that go beyond symptom change, such as being able to take the bus or feel confident to express opinions, although it may be less suitable for use in episodes of crisis
involvement of line management.
“Staff feel that management want to help them to learn.” (Acting Unit Manager)
Sickness in 2015 at the unit cost the council over £100,000, and it is now at one third of that – a saving of over £70,000. The Acting Unit Manager attributes this to staff feeling happier at work, through a more inclusive approach, where staff take ownership. This is evidenced by the fact that many of the documents used are now developed with the input, or solely by, the Care Officers. Reports sent to Ofsted are developed holistically, with a live document added to by all staff, which no one can alter. Their Annual Leave procedure, which previously made it mathematically impossible for everyone to have their Annual Leave approved, has been re-developed by the Care Officers, as has the Team Plan, which maps what the service wants to accomplish over the year and incorporates everyone’s ideas. Care Officers are also more involved in shaping the care of the children that they work with and know best, and there is a more flexible approach taken to the swapping and covering of shifts: one of the Care Officers explained that staff now feel that it is worth putting more in because there is more give and take, and more compromise.
‘adverse incidents’ in healthcare, or accidents within the engineering sector, as defined above
D. explore organisational and individual learning from mistakes and mishaps, drawing on examples from social care and health and from engineering where relevant. Defining the inclusion criteria was an intellectually challenging and anxiety-provoking task. It involved repeatedly sharing and resharing our understanding of the project aims. Two different members of the team were working on the two main aspects of the project: one was leading on how social work practitioners analyse risk and make safe decisions in the context of uncertainty; while the other was looking at how the healthcare section approaches reporting, analysing and learning from adverse incidents. This led to both members questioning whether they were clear about the specific focus of the respective aspects of the project – for example, ‘Am I looking at risk analysis and not close calls when working with social work practitioners?’ And equally, ‘Am I looking at risk analysis by healthcare workers rather than analysis of close calls?’ This fed into a debate about what implications this had for the project and hence what records we wanted to include in the scoping review.
implementing “Health Shack” an interactive personal health record designed for teens, we were able to refine it and developed our personal health record software prototype to be used system-wide – we are calling it, “Follow My Child”..
We designed “Follow My Child” to address the barriers raised by medical professional in focus groups we conducted. We put the exact information they requested into the report – nothing more and nothing less. The summary health information is available in a one-page report specifically designed for physicians and health care providers. The electronic medical passport is updated daily by nurses and case managers and can be securely accessed and printed by foster parents and case workers prior to the medical visit. The medical passport report can be scanned into the physicians own electronic health care record or simply added to the medical file. It does not require the physician or the office staff to learn a new system, log-on to another system or make a financial investment.
conditions in authorities across England coping with recruitment and retention of social workers, high levels of referrals, constraints on budgets and organisational change . There was, however, optimism that retaining a commitment to SoS as their practice framework would, in the long term, help to address these challenges and strengthen the service they provided to children and families. It is not surprising that, given the reasons why many parents in this study were in contact with social workers, there would be tensions and there might have been unresolved and negative feelings towards some individuals and services. Despite this, many parents were satisfied with the contact with social workers and believed their lives had improved as a result. It was not possible to link this directly with SoS, but there were indications that SoS had made a contribution. It was evident that SoS provided fresh opportunities for social workers to involve families to a much greater extent than had been the case previously. This was being achieved by increasing emphasis on communicating with them and, in so doing, opening up the possibility of raising families’ awareness of their responsibilities for the safety of their children. In the long term, it was hoped this would contribute to fewer pressures on social workers and impact on the authorities’ ability to recruit and retain skilled social workers which, in turn, would benefit families.
Similarly, research on the barriers to work, training and education for parents in the area carried out in 2014 (including Pembury parents as researchers) informed the Pembury Pathways project, which provides advice and support to parents across a range of issues including employment, skills and training, childcare, parenting, volunteering and signposting to other services. A focus on understanding the links between deprivation and disadvantage and outcomes for children continued through ethnographic research carried out in 2015 11 which highlighted families' strong focus on child wellbeing, and that families were eager to improve their own lives and to support their friends and neighbours. It also found, however, that these families were often facing challenges associated with insecure housing and financial constraints, and a sense of 'just coping' which made it hard to plan for the future and to make the most of their situations. Strains on family resilience were seen to affect children in multiple ways: some adopted 'just keep going' attitudes; others were worried about safety or viewed their future with apprehension. In families where parents were secure and settled, there were positive impacts for the children: clearer plans, a more relaxed attitude to play and school, and excitement for the future.
Hope Through Telehealth
At HopeSpoke we understand that in the midst of a global physical health pandemic, there has also been an impact on individual’s mental health and wellness making the need for our services even more vital. In an effort to keep our community, clients, and staff safe HopeSpoke worked to quickly modify our programming including added cleaning and health and safety measures and moving some therapy services to telehealth. In a matter of five days HopeSpoke’s Outpatient program went completely remote to allow our therapists to safely provide quality mental health services.
57 such as the Family Star 14 , and latterly the modified Family Star Plus 15 , alongside a wide range of more bespoke assessment tools designed to measure specific areas of family functioning (e.g. parenting skills and confidence, social and emotional wellbeing). In contrast to the more formally administrative function of the CAF of E-CAF, the Family Star was commonly valued for its emphasis on giving children and families a voice within the assessment process. This was also reflected in the subsequent action planning and review process. Despite the popularity of the Family Star and its visual representation of data for helping to validate progress with families, a number of local authorities had encountered difficulties using the format with some families during the early stages of the intervention. It was reported that families sometimes tended to overestimate their present abilities to cope, either because they were not yet in a position to recognise that some behaviours or routines were problematic, or because the relationship with the worker was a new one and the family was anxious to portray a sense of being in control. As a consequence, workers commonly found that the Family Star ratings worsened considerably in-between the early stages of the assessment and subsequent monitoring points. Troubled Families
The omnibus Budget reconciliation act of 1993 created Subpart 2 of Title iV-B of the Social Security act and established grants to states for family preservation and family support services for fY 1994 through fY 1998. it also established the Court improvement Program and included funds for evaluation and technical assistance and funding for tribes. in 1997, the adoption and Safefamilies act (aSfa) changed the name of the program to Promoting Safe and Stable families, authorized funding through fY 2001, and added time-limited family reunification services and adoption promotion and support services to the list of service categories. This addition was in keeping with aSfa’s emphasis on permanency for children already in foster care, in addition to the existing emphasis on placement prevention. PSSf was amended in 2001 to add $200 million annually in authorized discretionary funding and again in 2005 in the deficit reduction act to add
Newly created roles were seen to add value in supporting reflective practice, improving quality assurance and increasing intensive, direct work with families. Social Work
Consultants had become a highly valued part of their teams’ support structures and were actively line-managing other staff, which was felt to be an extremely effective way of embedding their supportive and developmental role. Senior Lead Practitioners were seen to have more capacity for intensive, direct work with families than was available to Social Workers who still held demanding statutory caseloads. However, their role was often seen to be unclear by co-workers throughout the roll-out, and uncertainties about the specific purpose of these Senior Lead Practitioner roles continue, particularly in relation to whether or not they were intended to work within a specialist field of expertise. Family Workers have been effective in providing early intervention support to service users, taking a more holistic view of a family’s needs, and are seen as being able to detect less overt indicators of assets or risks in behaviour and environment. Team Co-ordinators have reduced the burden of administrative tasks on Social Workers, creating greater opportunity for increasing direct work with families. They have also provided positive support for Team Managers and Social Work Consultants.
). It is not proposed to increase the overall budget but to amend the eligibility criteria for the supplement.
The scenarios presented are based on discussions with the private, voluntary and school sectors.
The IDACI does highlight concentrations of children from income deprived households, however when analysed against the households of two-year olds in receipt of funding based on low family income, the spread of children is much greater than that in receipt of deprivation funding. Only 53% of FSM funded two-year olds live in households eligible for the deprivation supplement. For example in the autumn term of 288 children in receipt of two-year old funding, 59 (20 per cent) of the children in the live in the Isle and Brigg localities where no households are eligible for deprivation funding. The government encourage local authorities to consider using their deprivation supplement to increase the local rate of the EYPP for children, to maximise opportunities to narrow the gap. The children eligible for pupil premium are primarily those that were eligible for a funded place at two-years of age.