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1.3.2 Core Case Management: Child's Multi-Agency Assessments

RELEVANT LEGISLATION

The Children Act 1989

Working Together 2015

The International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (Guidance)

Modern Slavery Act 2015

AMENDMENT

In August 2016, a link to the Modern Slavery 2015 Act was added to this chapter as well as further information regarding Multi-Agency Assessments. The assessment must now analyse the needs and/or the nature and level of any risk and harm being suffered by the child including any factors that may indicate that the child is or has been trafficked or a victim of compulsory labour, servitude and slavery Note; if there is a concern with regards to exploitation or trafficking, a referral into the National Referral Mechanism should be made.


Contents

  1. Objective
  2. Key Points
  3. Standards


1. Objective

To ensure that a multi-agency assessment is undertaken to determine the risks to, and needs of, any child/young person referred to Children's Social Care as being a Child in Need.


2. Key Points

When a referral has been accepted by CSC as likely to meet a threshold for services, a multi-agency assessment will be undertaken to understand the needs of the child or young person and any risks they face. This assessment will seek to collate an understanding of the child from those who know the child and the child themselves. This will then be used to establish whether their needs fit the definition of a Child in Need.

A multi-agency assessment must also be undertaken for:

  • Any case where a child is at risk of becoming looked after;
  • Any case where a child has become Looked After;
  • Any case when a child is looked after and the plan is to return the child home;
  • Any case where legal action has been started;
  • Any case arising from a Section 47 Enquiry;
  • Any case where there is a significant change in circumstances.

Cross-Referencing

Threshold Guidance on Levels of Need and Support

The Multi-agency Assessment replaces the previous initial and core assessments for Children in Need. The assessment is informed by and includes information and views from other relevant agencies, with the consent of and full involvement of families under Section 17 CA (1989). It needs to focus on the child’s individual needs, family strengths and the impact of any concerns. The child or young person’s views and observations must be included. The analysis must include consideration of the impact of the current situation on the child based on the information gathered.

The purpose of the assessment is always:

  • To gather important information about a child and family;
  • To analyse their needs and/or the nature and level of any risk and harm being suffered by the child including any factors that may indicate that the child is or has been trafficked or a victim of compulsory labour, servitude and slavery Note; if there is a concern with regards to exploitation or trafficking, a referral into the National Referral Mechanism should be made See - GOV.UK Human trafficking/modern slavery victims: referral and assessment forms;
  • To decide whether the child is a child in need (Section 17) and/or is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm (Section 47); and
  • To provide support to address those needs to improve the child’s outcomes to make them safe.

The child may be eligible for an assessment of need, but not necessarily for a service. A range of factors will determine access, including levels of needs, availability and workloads. Professional judgements will be needed to manage risks and needs by separating out eligibility criteria and priorities. The child, family, referrer and those involved in any assessment will be informed of the outcome of the assessment and sent a copy of it.

The assessment will seek to collate an understanding of the child from those who know the child and the child themselves. This will then be used to establish whether their needs fit the definition of a child in need.

Bournemouth’s Category of Need

  • Universal;
  • Universal Plus;
  • Plus Partnership;
  • Statutory/Specialist Help for Children in Need and in need of protection.

Unless there are concerns regarding child protection a multi-agency assessment may only be undertaken with agreement of the parents/carers and/or young person/child.

Cross-Referencing

  • Obtaining Consent.

Other agencies should be involved, as appropriate, during the assessment process.

If during the course of undertaking a multi-agency assessment it is suspected that a child being assessed is suffering or is at risk of suffering Significant Harm, S47 Enquiries must be undertaken and a decision made as to whether or not immediate action should be considered.

Cross-Referencing

  • Section 47 determine need for immediate action.

For each child or young person being assessed a “Multi-Agency Assessment Record” is completed.

A copy of the completed multi-agency assessment will be provided to the child/young person’s parent(s)/carer(s) and, if appropriate to the young person.


3. Standards

Unless there are clear reasons why it is not appropriate, every child/young person being assessed must be seen and interviewed as part of the assessment. Where a child/young person has not been interviewed the reason must be clearly recorded.

The period of assessment should not prevent or delay the provision of services to support children where they are required. Following the 7 day progress review the worker and manager must agree an initial plan to support the child and family during the assessment process. The interim plan will be recorded on Raise and shared / agreed with family and agencies involved within 10 days of the referral.

When the agreement has been for an assessment to be undertaken within 10 days, the assessment, its recommendations and plan will be recorded shared and agreed within that timescale therefore it will not require an interim plan.

During the assessment period the visiting pattern will be agreed with the line manager. At a minimum the child will be visited and seen alone within 5 working days and thereafter at a minimum of two weekly. If concerns escalate or an incident takes place which suggests a child’s situation is placing them at risk of harm the line manager must be alerted immediately.

A copy of the completed assessment is provided to the child/young person’s parent(s)/carer(s) and, if appropriate to the young person within the specified timeframe and recorded on Raise. If a Child is deemed to be ‘In Need’ the plan will be updated and recorded on Raise and the legal status updated. If the child is not requiring services at a statutory level consideration will be given to the Bournemouth Threshold for categories of need when planning next steps.

Every assessment should be child centred. Where there is a conflict between the needs of the child and their parents/carers, decisions should be made in the child’s best interests.

Click here to view the Standards Tasks table.

End