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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's Assessment, Safeguarding and Children in Care Teams. Transfer to and between the following teams are included in this protocol - Assessment Teams; Safeguarding Teams; Under 11's Permanence teams; 11-25 Permanency teams; Fostering Teams; 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 those transfers are covered in the protocol for Stepping Down children to Early help. Briefly however, when a decision has been made that a child or young person is no longer in need of social work or other specialist intervention ('step down') a review meeting should identify the Lead Practitioner and agree the on-going plan. Weekly meetings are held in each locality, chaired by the Safeguarding Head of Service or designated Service Manager in order to plan for families to be transferred from social care to early help. These meetings, which usually involve Safeguarding and Assessment team managers, Families First managers and Children and Family Centre managers, are run consistently across the County in line with the agreed protocol.

Transfer of children between Children's Social Care and Adult Social Care are not within the scope of this protocol and are covered by the Transition Pathway.

Transfer of case responsibility of a child or young person from a social care team to a families first 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.

AMENDMENT

In January 2020, this chapter was updated in-line with current departmental procedures.

Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Implementation and Review
  3. Child Centred Practice
  4. Confidentiality, Privacy, Conflict of Interest
  5. Significant Trigger Points for Transfer
  6. 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 Leadership Team. The protocol will be disseminated through line management structure within the Directorate and placed on Staffnet and flagged for annual review. 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 children, families and front line teams as to use of protocol.

3. Child Centred Practice

Manager oversight and clear recording of decision making rationale and actions will inform a child centred approach to transfer of children and flexibility towards access to services. This may include attention to and acknowledgement of:

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

4. Confidentiality, Privacy, Conflict of Interest

1.

Transfer of a child to another team or local authority is considered standard procedure when a Directorate employee is involved, whether as a subject of a referral, an immediate family member, or a carer. The rationale for this case transfer decision ill be recorded on the case file (with relevant consideration of confidentiality) to ensure that a consistent narrative and timeline of decision making is visible.

Employee / Carer / Team Manager

2.

Team managers will discuss this matter with a view to early allocation following agreement by the Head of Service line managing the team who will receive case responsibility. The receiving area will have budgetary responsibility. The service manager (s) / head (s) of service will be informed of transfer requests within 24 hours and review and record agreed outcomes.

Team Manager

5. Significant Trigger Points for Transfer

The following requirements should be made prior to consideration of case:

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 child transfers to the appropriate Safeguarding Team or Disabled Children and Young Peoples Team;
  • Timescales - case responsibility for a Child in Need case is transferred, in most situations, at the first CIN meeting with the receiving social worker in attendance and being responsible for completing the plan. However, there may be some instances where the Assessment Team Manager will feel it is beneficial to the child and family for the case to remain within the 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 11 Permanence Team.

Safeguarding Team

  • When a child and family moves locality area case responsibility is transferred to the Safeguarding Team in the new area (with agreement). However the timing of the move and the relationship or status of the planning should be considered carefully.

Under 11's 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 - If a Placement Application has been made, the Permanence Team SW is expected to attend the hearing (s). In all cases, where a Placement Application has been made, there will be a face to face handover between allocated Safeguarding SW and additionally allocated Permanence SW. The formal handover and change of status will be noted on the Child's case file by the receiving team manager. At second Children in Care Review where there is a plan for permanency agreed and recorded in the child/young person's care plan, the allocated children in care worker should attend this second review;
  • At second review, if proceedings are in progress where there is a plan for Adoption. CIC worker is allocated as second worker for remainder of proceedings;
  • A child has been relinquished by birth parents;
  • If the child or young person is Accommodated under S20 1989 Children 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;
  • All children in care must have a coherent plan for permanence;
  • A plan for permanency should be made prior to second review at a multi-agency permanency planning meeting.

11-25 Permanency 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 Child in Care 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 Assessment Team. (The 11-25 Permanency Team will complete the Assessment);
  • In exceptional circumstances young people can be fast tracked from assessment teams in order to reduce the number of transition points for example when a 16 year old has been accommodated under S20 and will be requiring long term care- in these cases discussion with the Head of Service for 11-25 Permanency is required;
  • When a UASC presents as requiring accommodation & support; the 11-25 Permanency team will support the Assessment team to undertake the initial screening interview and age assessment. When the child has been placed in suitable accommodation they can transfer at that point;
  • Careful consideration will need to be given to the allocation and transfer of siblings to the over and under 11's permanency teams. Each child should be dealt with on an individual 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 child 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 responsibility and will work with the child from 0 -18;
  • The team will hold children on a CIN plan, children on a CP plan and children in care receiving in children from Assessment team. Where the Disabled Child is in care an allocated personal advisor 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.

6. Agreed Standards for Transferring Casework Responsibility

(These are not written in an order of priority)

CAPTION: Agreed Standards for Transferring Casework Responsibility
   
a.

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

Social Worker

Manager sign off

b.

Most recent assessment (completed within the last 12 months as minimum or if there has been a significant change in circumstances)

Social Worker

Manager sign off

c.

Care Plan (CYP's Plan, Children in 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

Social Worker

Manager sign off

d.

Updated and relevant chronology

Social Worker

e.

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

Confirmation that all Quality Assurance File Audit actions are completed and recorded.

Team Manager

f.

Team Manager to Team Manager discussion (recorded on LL by referring Team Manager)

  1. Reason for transfer discussed;
  2. Suitable handover point discussed (e.g. Case Conference, Children in Care review) and agreed timescale (within one month of request)*shorter timescale for Assessment Teams;
  3. Ongoing financial implications of Care Plan (if necessary evidence of approval of any on going financial package).

Team Manager x2

g.

Parents, child or young person and professionals informed of transfer and clearly noted on case record once team managers have agreed timescales.

Social Worker

h.

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

Team Manager

i.

Handover arrangements discussed between existing and new social worker to include a joint visit if possible or outgoing social worker visits within 4 weeks prior to transfer *except Assessment Teams. Arrangements confirmed at monthly Transfer meetings and any disputes referred to Service leaders with Heads of Service with strategic lead for CiC mediating resolution.

Key worker x2

j.

If the child is a child in care then:

  • Any outstanding IRO escalation need to have been concluded;

  • Delegated authority forms signed and attached to the child's case file;

  • Permanency planning meeting held with clear decisions recorded;

  • Placement code recorded accurately.

 

 

Agreed Principles Following Transfer

 
a.

The receiving in Manager acknowledges receipt of case responsibility on LL 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 social worker and team manager will review the position in supervision within one month of case being transferred

Social 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

Social 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 Permanence Team
 
1.

Placement Information Record needs to be completed

Social Worker

2.

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

Social Worker

3.

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

Social Worker

 
Post Transfer
 
4.

New social worker will make contact with the designated Teacher for Children in Care

Social 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 and record this on the child's record

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

Social Worker

3.

Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Executive (GSCE) will be notified

Social Worker

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

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

Social Worker

2.

The GSCE will inform their equivalent in the new area

GSCE

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 Safeguarding Team until a formal handover of case responsibility through a 'receiving in' child protection case conference has taken place)

Social Worker

4.

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

Social 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 social worker to maintain communications with the 'new authority' and child / family until transfer complete

Social 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 current team will maintain responsibility until the conclusion of the proceedings.

Team Manager/Social Worker

2.

If a family move occurs during Care Proceedings the originating Children Safeguarding Team will maintain case work responsibility for the duration of the proceedings even if this is outside existing team or county boundaries.

Team Manager

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

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

 
1.

A Pathway Plan agreed by both Team Managers and signed off by current TM and the young person. The Pathway Planning Tool to evidence Young Peoples involvement which is attached to the young persons case file. 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 Plan can be in place any time from the age of 15yrs and 9 months)

Team Manager / Social Worker

2.

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

Social Worker

 
Post Transfer to Over 11 Permanence Team

The same requirements as transfers to Under 11 permanence 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/ Social 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

Social Worker