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1.3.9 Case Management Protocol (Children with Disabilities)

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter identifies the case management for Children with Disabilities (CWD) and those receiving services from Family Assessment and Support Teams (FAST).


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Referrals on Closed Cases
  3. Cases that are Open to the CIPC (Child in Public Care) Team
  4. Circumstances where Two Teams are Working with One Family
  5. Team Around the Child (TAC)
  6. Timing


1. Introduction

At any point in time where a child has disabilities the CWD team may be case holding for that particular child. Where issues arise of concern regarding that child's siblings the CWD team are responsible for making the referral for that child in the normal way, and for conducting the Social Care Assessment on sibling(s). This includes safeguarding concerns, and this is based on the fact that the CWD worker will already be known to the family and reduces the need to introduce a new member of staff. CWD staff can discuss the issues with colleagues in FAST for support and advice, and where necessary to assist in accessing additional services should this be required. In these circumstances CWD remain as key team.

Should at any point the child with a disability close to the CWD team (for e.g. due to moving away, reaching 18 yrs, unfortunate death), The remaining siblings will be transferred to the local area FAST Team as there is no link for CWD service provision input.


2. Referrals on Closed Cases

Where a case is not open to any social care team, but a referral is received for a family including a child with disabilities, FAST is responsible for Social Care Assessments, but can and should seek appropriate support from colleagues in CWD to ensure the best understanding is available for the issues relating to the child with disabilities. CWD staff may be asked to contribute to any or all assessments through this process. This includes where safeguarding concerns are being investigated and assessed. In these circumstances FAST will become the key team and remain the key team. Only where the case is to be closed to FAST, but ongoing work remains for the child with disabilities, will the case holding for the child with disabilities move to CWD. If the child has a disability and is also Looked After and the case is to remain open, the case will transfer to Child in Public Care Team following normal transfer procedure.


3. Cases that are Open to the CIPC (Child in Public Care) Team

Where a case is open to CIPC team and a referral is received for another child in the family (i.e. a child of the family but not one who is a Looked After Child) including a child with disabilities, FAST is responsible for Social Care Assessments for the child that has been referred, if there are safeguarding concerns that need to be investigated and assessed. If the referral is made for a child in the family in relation to a child's disability, it will be CWD that will be responsible for conducting any needs assessments.

In some circumstances a child with disabilities is living away from home. If at the point of return home sibling(s) in the family are already open to FAST, it is the FAST team's responsibility to undertake any needed assessments on the changing circumstances, engaging CWD staff to support the assessments.


4. Circumstances where Two Teams are Working with One Family

It is possible for a worker from CWD and a worker from FAST to be working together with children from the same family, however, the point of this protocol is that one team must be the key team, and it is the team manager for the key team who holds ultimate responsibility for planning joint and shared activity working towards the agreed plan, irrespective of whether this is a child in need plan or a child protection plan, or that the case is being managed within proceedings.

Where it becomes clear that two teams are working simultaneously with the same family, immediate discussions must take place between team managers to establish which the key team is. Any disagreement should be referred to heads of service for ultimate decision making.


5. Team Around the Child (TAC)

Nothing in this protocol precludes the availability of Team around the Child arrangements, which again should be co-ordinated for all children in the family with a lead professional and clear allocated tasks.


6. Timing

The timing of transfer of cases is a matter for the team manager's concerned but must be agreed and executed within 7 working days. Any disagreement should be referred to Heads of Service for an urgent decision. In no circumstances should cases be left to drift without an allocated worker, and the outgoing teams therefore remain fully responsible until the transfer is complete.

The above protocol takes into account the Safeguarding Disabled Children Practice Guidance (DCSF 2009). It is recommended best practice that safeguarding concerns/referrals concerning disabled children are assessed by practitioners who are both experienced and competent in child protection work, with additional input from those professionals who have knowledge and expertise of working with disabled children.

End