The Voice of the Child and Family
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This applies to service users of Safeguarding and Specialist Services.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was added to the manual in September 2014.
Children Services is committed to:
- Asking all service users to contribute their views about CS' intervention in their lives;
- Having clear ways to collate that feedback;
- Using the feedback to help CS to improve practice and adapt services to meet more effectively the needs of our Community.
Children Services commissions the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS), an independent voluntary organisation, to gather user view. NYAS will also act as advocates for children and young people, especially at Child Protection Case Conferences. All Staff should be aware of the referral process and use it on all relevant occasions.
2. Children in Need (CIN) Cases
Where a Child and Family Assessment determines that the service user is a Child in Need, part of the CIN Plan that is developed will focus specifically on advocacy and feedback. The allocated worker will discuss NYAS' role with the child and family, and seek permission to refer them to this service. If consent is received, this should be recorded in the CIN Plan, and then NYAS will be expected to provide feedback/advocacy from the child to each subsequent CIN review.
If consent has initially been refused, this service should be offered again, at least at each review point.
3. Child Protection (CP) Cases
When a Child and Family Assessment determines that a case should proceed to a Child Protection Conference, the role of NYAS will be discussed with child and family as soon as this decision has been made. Older children and young people may wish to attend the Conference, supported by a NYAS representative, or younger children may wish NYAS to attend on their behalf or provide reports. The parent and child's consent to the referral should be recorded clearly on the child's LCS case notes at the same time as they are told of the decision to take the matter to an Initial Child Protection Conference.
NYAS advocates should continue to support children and young people through their time on a CP Plan, and provide feedback both about the CP Conference and the SW Team's intervention.
If consent has initially been refused, this service should be offered again, at least at each review point. This is especially important if the case escalates to Public Law Outline (PLO).
In addition, as part of the Family Safeguarding Intervention Programme (Module 4), the framework supports direct work with children and families and an emphasis on communicating with children to gain their wishes and feelings and to understand their lived experience.
4. Children Looked After (CLA) Cases
Where a child is looked after additional support in eliciting their wishes and feelings is conducted through Direct Work, and Life Story Work which should start as soon as the child becomes looked after as part of the HCC CLA Work Programme – 'Achieving the Best for Our Children'. More information about direct work and life story work is referenced in the Direct Work and Life Story Work with Children and Young People Procedure.
5. Cases to be closed to Specialist and Safeguarding Services
Where the Child and Family Assessment has determined that there is no need for further involvement by Safeguarding and Specialist Services, Assessment Teams send out an evaluation form directly to parents. This is copied to NYAS on receipt of any feedback.
6. Referral Process
The referral process is by phone contact to NYAS on 0808 808 1001. Referral information will be taken over the phone, and no forms are required.
Young people are also able to self-refer using this number if they wish.
7. Capture of Information
Feedback forms should be noted on the child's LCS file under Case notes and stored in Livelink under Assessment and Care Planning. A copy should also be sent to the Policy and Practice Team Manager for collation of the feedback and implications for wider practice.
Team Managers should raise general themes within team meetings, and ensure these are recorded as such. Any issues relating to individuals and their practice should be addressed and recorded in supervision as necessary.