10.3. Children's Social Care Response
Last updated 12/11/2018
Children's Social Care Response
In undertaking assessments professionals should always assess the needs of both the young person and the family collaboratively. Assessing a young person in isolation from their family will limit the success in enabling a young person to distance themselves from gang activity and to make positive life choices. Family members may be a protective and/or a risk factor and this needs to be considered as part of any assessment. When undertaking assessments and it is identified that the young person requires support and intervention but has not met the threshold for social care intervention, the allocated social worker will identify an appropriate lead practitioner to support the whole family on an early help plan. If it is assessed that the family require support under S17 Children Act 1989, the family will be supported under a Child in Need Plan. Should the threshold be met for initiating child protection procedures then an Initial Child Protection Conference will be convened. In some circumstances it may be assessed that the young person is at imminent harm within their home environment and consequently a decision made for them to be placed under Police Protection or to become a Looked after Child under s20 the Children Act 1989.
Child in Need
Where it is assessed that a young person requires support and intervention to enable them to develop to their full potential but they have not or are not likely to suffer significant harm, they can be supported through the Child In Need plan. The allocated social worker will hold multi-agency child in need meetings at a frequency that is determined by the level of risk. These meetings will discuss the support required and ensure there is an appropriate support plan in place based on the signs of safety methodology. Any support plan will need to be focused on both the young person’s needs and the needs of the family to provide a holistic plan. All agencies, the young person and family will be required to attend the meetings to contribute to the plan.
Child Protection Conference
Where a young person is considered to be suffering, likely to suffer or has suffered significant harm a Child Protection Conference provides a multi-agency forum to implement an appropriate support plan around the young person and the family in the format of a Child Protection Plan based on the signs of safety methodology. All the core agencies involved with the young person and family will be invited to attend to share information and contribute to the plan. Family members and wherever possible the young person, will also be invited to attend and contribute to the plan. In considering harm within the gang context it essential to recognise that a young person’s own behaviours can place them at risk of significant harm. Furthermore, the harm that is presented may be a consequence of someone’s behaviour who resides outside of the home environment for example a parent’s partner or the young person’s peer group.
Looked After Children (LAC)
Where it is assessed that a young person is at risk of imminent harm due to gang related activity and therefore needs to be removed from their home environment to ensure their safety, the allocated social worker will need to follow Local and National procedures. Compatibility Assessments must be undertaken regarding a known gang member / individual being exploited by a gang. With all LAC the local authority will exercise its corporate parenting with a proactive response. The young person will be subject to LAC care planning multi-agency response and looked after children review meetings to ensure information is shared appropriately in a timely manner to minimise risks to the young person and ensure there are appropriate support plans in place.