Multi-agency assessments -Early Help assessments
The multi agency assessment needs to take account of all of the child’s circumstances, including that of their siblings and bring together all relevant information. This requires you to;
•Identify the child’s needs and be clear about which are met, which are not and why •Find out about the child’s parents; their ability to provide adequate parenting, appropriate to the child’s age and stage of development. What do they do well and what they are failing to do?
•Find out about the family’s circumstances, what pressures there are on them and whether there is any domestic abuse, drug use, mental health problems or learning difficulties which impact on their ability to parent.
•Be clear what worried about, how long you have been worried and exactly why you are worried.
•Always seek to find out the child’s views – what do they share about their life and their experience at home and is it the same for their siblings?
•Think about how you might clarify your concerns with both the child and with family members.
Referrals to Children’s Social Care Always know who the child protection/ safeguarding lead within your organisation is and discuss your concerns with them. The situation may require immediate referral to children’s social care or alternatively your lead may decide that you need to assess the situation for yourselves to build up a picture. They should advise you on this and will know how to make a referral to children’s social care. Children’s social care operates high thresholds and therefore it can sometimes be difficult to have your referral accepted. You need to emphasize the impact of your concerns on the child. Children’s social care will be looking to see if the child has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm or experience a serious impairment of health or development. Think about the impact on the child and use the Assessment framework triangle below to think through your concerns. (The Common Assessment framework is based on the triangle below) This way you can present your concerns in a clear way that identifies exactly what you are worried about, and why a social worker needs to be involved.
If Children’s social care feel a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm they will carry out a child protection investigation, following the London Child Protection procedures. The procedures encourage schools and other professional referrers to inform parents of the referral, unless there is reason not to – for example placing the child in greater danger – so a judgement is required. It is good practice to inform parents that a referral has been made but you can take advice from Children’s social care on this.