View the Medway SCB Procedures
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1.3.1 Initial Contacts and Referrals

RELEVANT PROCEDURES AND GUIDANCE

This Chapter should be read in conjunction with:

Kent and Medway Inter-Agency Threshold Criteria for Children in Need

Common Assessment Framework - to follow


Contents

  1. Initial Contacts
  2. Referrals
  3. Timescales
  4. Screening Process
  5. Initial Disposal of Referrals 
  6. Recording of Referrals


1. Initial Contacts

All incoming referrals will be made through Customer First where a contact is created. An Initial Contact is made where Children's Services is contacted about a child, who may be a Child in Need, and where there is a request for general advice, information or a service.

All contacts need to be considered alongside thresholds for Kent and Medway Inter-Agency Threshold Criteria for Children in Need and/or the CAF criteria.

At any time, an Initial Contact may become a Referral if it appears that services may be required for a Child in Need.

Any significant information received about a child who is an open case should be regarded as an Initial Contact, passed to the child's allocated social worker and recorded on the electronic data base.

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is not a referral form, although it may be used to support a referral or a specialist assessment.

In all other cases, at the point when an Initial Contact is made, the duty worker should establish whether the enquiry can be dealt with by the provision of information and advice or signposted to other agencies or services.

The duty worker should also check the electronic data base records to see if the child or family is known and, if known, retrieve information on them. Any such information should be passed to the allocated social worker if there is one, and otherwise to the duty social worker.


2. Referrals

An Initial Contact will be progressed to a Referral where the Senior Practitioner or Group manager considers an assessment and/or services may be required for a Child in Need.

Referrers must have the opportunity to discuss their concerns with a qualified social worker, consultation is available at prescribed times of the day. The referrer should be asked specifically if they hold any information about difficulties being experienced by the family/household due to domestic abuse, mental illness, substance misuse and/or learning difficulties.

The duty social worker will arrange to visit and undertake an Single Integrated Assessment to obtain as much of the following information as possible:

  • Full names, dates of birth and gender of children
  • Family address and, where relevant, school/nursery attended
  • Identity of those with Parental Responsibility
  • Names and dates of birth of all members of the household
  • Ethnicity, first language and religion of children and parents
  • Any special needs of the children including the means in which they communicate
  • Any significant recent or past events
  • Cause for concern including details of allegations, their sources, timing and location
  • The child's current location and emotional and physical condition
  • Whether the child needs immediate protection
  • Details of any alleged perpetrator
  • Referrer's relationship with and knowledge of the child and his or her family
  • Known involvement of other agencies
  • Information regarding parents' knowledge and agreement to referral


3. Timescales

Once received, all referrals must be logged on the CSIS and a decision made about their disposal within one working day.


4. Screening Process

The following process applies to new cases of children previously unknown to the authority, and to closed cases.

The process of Referrals must include screening against the Kent and Medway Inter-Agency Threshold Criteria for Children in Need and must include internal electronic database to establish whether the family is previously known, and whether there is a Child Protection Plan in relation to the child and/or whether the child is Looked After.

The screening process should establish:

  • The nature of the concern
  • How and why it has arisen
  • What the child's needs appear to be
  • Whether the concern involves Significant Harm
  • Whether there is any need for urgent action to protect the child or any children in the household

This process will involve:

  • Reading the referral and clarifying information with the referrer
  • Consideration of any existing records, including whether the child is the subject of a Child Protection Plan

If there are indications that a child may be at risk of Significant Harm, the manager may authorise whatever actions are necessary to protect the child or others in the household from Significant Harm, which may result in the immediate provision of services.

If there is suspicion that a crime may have been committed including sexual or physical assault or neglect of the child, the Police must be notified immediately.

Personal information about non-professional referrers should not be disclosed to the parents or other agencies without the referrer's consent.

The parent's consent should be sought before discussing a referral with other agencies unless this may place the child at risk of Significant Harm, in which case the manager should authorise the discussion of the referral with other agencies without parental knowledge or consent. The authorisation should be recorded with reasons.


5. Initial Disposal of Referrals

The initial disposal of a Referral, which must be authorised by the manager, may be:

  • That the child does not appear to be a Child In Need, which will result in one of the following: the provision of information, advice, sign-posting to another agency and/or no further action.
  • That the child appears to be a Child in Need with a moderate level of need, in which case, the manager may authorise a Single Integrated Assessment.
  • That the child appears to be a Child in Need with a high level of need, which must result in a Single Integrated Assessment
  • That it is suspected that the child is suffering or is likely to suffer from Significant Harm, which will result in a Single Integrated Assessment, with a view to conducting a Strategy Discussion, prior to a Section 47 Enquiry and Single Integrated Assessment commencing.

If there are indications that a child may be at risk of Significant Harm, the manager may authorise whatever actions are necessary to protect the child or others in the household from Significant Harm, which may result in the immediate provision of services.

Professional referrers should be advised of the disposal of the referral.

Feedback on the outcome of the Referral should also be provided to non-professional referrers in a manner consistent with respecting the confidentiality of the child. 


6. Recording of Referrals

All Initial Contacts and Referrals should be recorded on the electronic database

End