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GloucestershireChildren's Social Care Procedures Manual

Protocol for Transferring Case Responsibility of a Child or Young Person between Social Care Teams within and Outside Gloucestershire

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

These procedures apply to Children and Young People's Safeguarding and Care Teams and Prospects Directorate for over 11 children in care and UASC's. Transfer to and between the following teams are included in this protocol - Referral and Assessment Teams; Children and Family Teams; Under 11's CiC permanence teams; Over 11's CiC permanence teams; Leaving care teams; Adoption Team; Private Fostering officer; Disabled Children and Young People Team.

Transfer of cases between Children Social Care and Adult Social Care are not within the scope of this protocol and are covered by the Transition Pathway. The transfer of case responsibility of a child or young person from a social care team to a Locality team is not covered by this protocol. More detailed work on the interface between Children's Social Care and Locality Teams is being considered by a separate project group and separate guidance will be produced.

Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Implementation and Review
  3. Child Centred Practice
  4. The Health and Safety of Workers
  5. Confidentiality, Privacy, Conflict of Interest
  6. Resolution Where Agreement is Not Found
  7. Significant Trigger Points for Transfer
  8. Agreed Standards for Transferring Casework Responsibility

1. Purpose

This protocol sets out the trigger points and an agreed set of standards for when case responsibility for a child or young person needs to be transferred between two teams or service area within Gloucestershire. This protocol also provides a process and sets a standard for when cases are required to be transferred outside of Gloucestershire. Effective use of this protocol will ensure that children receive an appropriate, consistent and timely response from the social care service to ensure that their needs are met and they are kept safe.

2. Implementation and Review

This protocol has been ratified by the Senior Management Group and Operational Leadership Team. All relevant teams have been consulted and given opportunity for input. The protocol will be disseminated through line management structure within the Directorate and placed on Staffnet and flagged for review 6 months after implementation or earlier if this date is superseded with the implementation of a new ICS system. It will be reviewed according to the Directorate's established policy process. The measure of effectiveness will include the number of escalations made to senior managers and feedback from front line teams as to use of protocol.

3. Child Centred Practice

Most Service users receive services from the local area team. Flexibility will relate to:

  • The service user's interests;
  • The worker's health and safety;
  • Conflict of interest between employee and user or carer status.

4. The Health and Safety of Workers

1.

If a Risk Assessment recommends that it is inappropriate or too dangerous for a local social worker to remain involved or if there is a need for the case responsibility to transfer to another team the relevant team manager will refer the matter to a Service Manager who will discuss a temporary transfer with their counterpart

Team Manager / Service Manager

2.

Reason for change of worker / team will be recorded on the ICS file by the Service Leader

Service Manager

5. Confidentiality, Privacy, Conflict of Interest

1.

Transfer of a case to another team is considered standard procedure when a Directorate employee is involved, whether as a subject of a referral, an immediate family member, or a carer

 

2.

Team managers will discuss this matter with a view to early allocation following agreement by the Service Leader line managing the team who will receive case responsibility. The receiving area will have budgetary responsibility.

Team Manager

3.

The team manager and the employee / carer concerned will record reason on ICS. Cases will be locked accordingly to guard and promote confidentiality

Team Manager

6. Resolution Where Agreement is Not Found

The Escalation Policy to be used when or if agreement cannot be negotiated between Team Managers. To be referred to Service Leader CiC who will mediate with managers concerned.

7. Significant Trigger Points for Transfer

Case responsibility is required to transfer across social care teams as follows:

Referral and Assessment Team

  • Where the outcome of an Assessment identifies that a child or young person has complex or acute needs requiring additional support under a Children in Need or Child Protection Plan. The Case transfers to the appropriate Children and Families Team or Disabled Children and Young Peoples Team;
  • Timescales - case responsibility for a Child in Need case is transferred, in most situations, following the completion of a single assessment. However, there may be some instances where the Referral and Assessment Team Manager will feel it is beneficial to the child and family for the case to remain within the Referral and Assessment Team. A child subject to a Child Protection Plan transfers at the Initial Child Protection Case Conference;
  • Where a child has been relinquished at birth the case transfers to the Under 16 Children in Care Team.

Children and Families Team

  • When a child and family moves locality area case responsibility is transferred to the Children and Families Team in the new area (with agreement).

Under 11's Children in Care Permanence Team

Cases can be transferred to the team when:

  • Final hearing is completed and either a full Care Order and / or Placement Order is made;
  • Attendance at the final court hearing (or part thereof) is recommended for the receiving social worker to assist handover;
  • At second LAC Review where there is a plan for permanency agreed and recorded in the CYP's Care Plan;
  • At second review, if proceedings are in progress where there is a plan for Adoption. LAC process transfers. LAC worker allocated as second worker for remainder of proceedings;
  • A child has been relinquished by birth parents;
  • If the child or young person is Accommodated S20 1989 C Act and the plan is long term fostering then a clear rationale for S20 must be made by the manager, with reasons for this decision and clear evidence of informed parental agreement & consent;
  • If the child is under 11 a coherent plan for permanence must be made;
  • A plan for permanency should be made prior to second review at a multi-agency permanency planning meeting.

Over 11's Children in Care Team

  • Final Hearing is completed and a full Care Order is made;
  • Attendance at the final court hearing (or part thereof) is recommended for the receiving social worker to assist handover;
  • When a Looked After Young Person reaches the age of 11 years and has a plan for permanency ( re Section 20 see above);
  • When a 16 / 17 year old young person presents as homeless to the Referral and Assessment Team. (The Over 11's CiC Team will complete the Assessment);
  • In exceptional circumstances cases can be fast tracked from R & A in order to reduce the number of transition points for example when a 16 year old has been Accommodated S20 and will be requiring long term care- in these cases discussion with the Service Manager over 11's Service is required;
  • When a UASC presents as requiring accommodation & support;
  • Careful consideration will need to be given to the allocation and transfer of siblings to the over and under 11's teams. Each case should be dealt with on a case by case by case basis looking at the best interests and wishes of the child. It may be appropriate to co-work large sibling groups with a wide age band;
  • There will be occasions when young people return home and each case will be considered on a case by case basis to decide whether it should be transferred back to children and families team as a child in need.

Disabled Children and Young Persons Team

  • When the primary need relates to the child's disability the DCYP Countywide team will hold Case responsibility and will work with the child from 0 18 and after 18 to 25 if eligible to receive social care services under the Care Act;
  • The team will hold CIN cases, CP cases and CIC cases, receiving in cases from the R and A teams. Where the Disabled Child is in care an allocated after care worker is required at 16 years of age to be compliant with legislation re pathway planning; the aftercare worker will jointly work with the DCYP worker who will hold case responsibility for the child.

8. Agreed Standards for Transferring Casework Responsibility

(These are not written in an order of priority)

a.

Transfer summary completed on ICS (including details of any agreed funding commitments)

Key worker

Manager sign off

b.

Current assessment (Initial, Core or Pathway Assessment)

Key worker

Manager sign off

c.

Care Plan (CYP's Plan, LAC Care Plan, Pathway Plan)

Contact Plan incorporated into care plan and reviewed annually

Care Plan with clear permanence plan identified and contingency plan in place

Consideration of re-unification when young person gets older/ circumstances change

Updated within last 6 months

Key worker

Manager sign off

d.

Updated chronology

Key worker

e.

File audit (supervision, key documents, person details, data cleansing, statutory visits, contact details of family and professionals, risk assessment)

Team Manager

f.

Team Manager to Team Manager discussion (recorded on ICS)

  1. Reason for transfer discussed;
  2. Suitable handover point discussed (e.g. Case Conference, LAC review) and agreed timescale (within one month of request)*shorter timescale for R*A Teams;
  3. Ongoing financial implications of Care Plan.

Team Manager x2

g.

Parents, child or young person and professionals informed of transfer

Key worker

h.

Outgoing Manager's decision and action record and electronic transfer of child / young person on ICS

Team Manager

i.

Outgoing team make arrangements for paper files to transfer to new team

Team Manager

j.

Handover arrangements discussed between existing and new key worker to include a joint visit if possible or outgoing key worker visits within 4 weeks prior to transfer. *except R&A Teams. Arrangements confirmed at monthly Transfer meetings and any disputes referred to Service leaders with Service Leader CiC mediating resolution

Key worker x2

 

Agreed Principles Following Transfer

 
a.

The receiving in Manager acknowledges receipt of case responsibility on ICS under a Manager's Decision and Action record, provide details of the new allocated key worker and note and immediate actions required

New Team Manager

b.

The new key worker and team manager will review the position in supervision within one month of case being transferred

Key worker

Team Manager

c.

Child / Young person and family will be visited as per Care Plan, Statutory timescales or within one month of receiving the case transfer

Key worker

 

Requirements Related to Specific Teams (in addition to agreed standards)

 
Under 11 Children in Care team
At Point of Transfer to Under 11's CIC permanence Team
 
1.

Placement Information Record needs to be completed

Key worker

2.

Transfer summary includes details of Health and Dental Assessments, Strength and Difficulty Questionnaire (SDQ) and Personal Education Plan (PEP)

Key worker

3.

Any placement issues resolved and where placement instability is an issue a clear plan to reduce the risk of placement breakdown

Key worker

 
Post Transfer
 
4.

New key worker will make contact with the designated Teacher for LAC

Key worker

Children and Families and Disabled Children and Young People
CYP subject to Child Protection Plan - Within County
 
1.

Once a Team Manager is aware that a child from their locality or whose primary need is in relation to their disability who is subject to a Child Protection Plan intends to move to a new area they should telephone and email the new area's Team Manager to alert them

Team Manager

2.

A Core Group will be held as near to the move date as possible with extended invites to professionals from the new locality

Key Worker

3.

Gloucestershire Safeguarding Board (GSCB) will be notified

Key Worker

 
CYP subject to Child Protection Plan - Outside of Gloucestershire
 
1.

When a Child subject to a CP plan moves outside of Gloucestershire the key worker informs GSCB at the earliest opportunity

Key worker

2.

The GSCB will inform their equivalent in the new area

GSCB

3.

The key worker will inform the new area's Social Care team of the child's arrival through discussion on telephone and confirm in writing. (The child remains the responsibility of the Children and Families Team until a formal handover of case responsibility through a 'receiving in' child protection case conference has taken place)

Key Worker

4.

When a transfer of case responsibility between counties occurs, the allocated key worker will record this on the Gloucestershire ICS file. The receiving authority will confirm in writing that they have accepted responsibility for the case

Key worker

5.

If the move is unplanned, the Core group will evaluate the implications for the child and legal advice sought where appropriate. It is the responsibility of the key worker to maintain communications with the 'new authority' and child / family until transfer complete

Key worker

 
Where legal proceedings have been initiated
 
1.

If the risk to a child is being managed under the public Law Outline and a child moves to another locality within Gloucestershire. The transfer protocol remains the same as for a child subject to a Child protection Plan

Team Manager/Key Worker

2.

If a family move occurs during Care Proceedings the originating Children and Families Team will maintain case work responsibility for the duration of the proceedings

Team Manager

Over 11 Team
At Point of Transfer to Over 11's CiC Team

The same requirements as transfers to Under 11's CIC team plus:

 
1.

A Pathway Plan agreed by both Team Managers and signed off by current TM and the young person. Where it has not been possible to obtain the Young person's signature, the attempts made and the reason for refusal should be clearly stated. (An Initial Pathway Plans can be in place any time from the age of 15yrs and 9 months)

Team Manager / Key worker

2.

An up to date and fully completed Placement Information Records that includes consent signatories

Key Worker

3.

In complex cases the Over 11 CIC Team will allocate a worker to work alongside the existing key worker to assist continuity of care or identify a worker to link to act as a point of contact

Team Manager

 
Post Transfer to Over 11 CiC Team

The same requirements as transfers to Under 11 CIC team:

 
Private Fostering 1.

In order for Young person to be transferred to the Private Fostering Officer there needs to be an updated Assessment completed outlining any outstanding identified needs

Team Manager/ Key Worker

   
Child in Need
 
Disabled CYP Team 1.

Evidence of a child or young person's diagnosed disability and clarity as to how this impacts on the child and their family

Key Worker