Improving Times

Children's Services staff newsletter - 18 May 2017

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Dad and child

Getting the right support to families

The Early Help Process Team has been concentrating its efforts on ensuring partner agencies are identifying and supporting children, young people and their families at the earliest opportunity with the aim of reducing the need for statutory intervention and inappropriate referrals to MASH. To this end, since January they have supported professionals with 63 families of which 60 were supported to initiate the FSP process and ensure that families have good quality assessments that identify needs and lead to either multi-agency plans or targeted intervention from single agency or within schools.  The remaining three families were considered to have needs with met the threshold for statutory intervention and received social work assessments.

Early Help Family Focus Manager, Laura Feeney and Process Manager Karryn Dixon have also worked together to develop a strategy of triaging cases that come into Early Help where there are already other agencies identified but require a coordinated approach. These cases do not require targeted intervention and are offered Process Team support to help them with the Early Help assessment. In most cases these referrals do not come back to Family Focus and continue with the universal FSP. Approximately 10% have had targeted intervention identified from the support of the process team which are assigned a practitioner for this support. This process has enabled the right cases to have practitioners without the need for multiple referrals.


Strong response to YAB consultation


Broadland YAB Consultation for 2017 achieved an incredible 2500 returns! These were gathered at numerous pop up events in High Schools and at Youth Clubs, via stalls at Wellbeing fairs and through hard work of the YAB Worker Emma Rush and her wider team.

The Consultation format was four questions on an A5 card. The initial one asked the young people to select the top five issues that affected them out of a possible total of 17 issues, with an option to describe another issue. The second question was whether or not the young person is part of a youth club and third asked where they would go for advice and support. Question 4 asked if there was anything new/improved they’d like to see in their area.

Having identified the top seven priorities the YAB Advisory Board then recommended that these were narrowed down through Focus Groups and the Community Capacity Coordinator has supported the YAB worker in running these in High Schools and youth clubs. These Focus groups have engaged young people in further analysis of the top 3 or 4 of these, and encouraged their descriptions of their worries about these priorities.

Collaboration with Adult Social Services


Early Help North and Broadland have weekly collaboration meetings where professionals across adults and children’s services meet to share information about their service and discuss cases with individual’s consent. These meetings are having a positive impact on our families as we are able to pool resources and respond to family’s needs in a flexible way. The Broadland Hub meeting is at 9.00am every Thursday at Broadland District Council, whilst the Northern Hub meeting is at 9.30am every Wednesday at North Norfolk District Council Offices. Colleagues across social care are welcome to attend these informative meetings.

Supporting parents at Cromer Library

Maria, the Community Librarian at Cromer, identified a need amongst parents of teenagers and asked the Community Capacity Worker from the Early Help Hub (Lara) if some support and advice sessions could be run for parents and carers of teenagers. Lara organised speakers for three sessions to run monthly March - May 2017 and with Maria promoted these by putting posters around the town and via Facebook, the High School have also texted all parents before the sessions.

The first was an Internet Safety session delivered by Broadland’s Early help Outreach Worker Kim Nicholls and the police which focused on essential online advice. Parents and grandparents and a person who is about to become a foster parent attended and gave lots of feedback: “useful overview and introduction, especially good finding out about the ability to change router settings.  This is a huge subject- would be interested to attend a longer session”. Another said “friendly and informative evening with good signposting- I have got lots to look at and research when I get home”

The second session was on Managing Difficult Behaviour with Leeway’s Positive Behaviour Youth Support Worker leading discussion and responses from parents attending this session included “Really good session delivered in a relaxed and informative way. I have picked up lots of ideas to help the whole family”. A number of parents said that it was “good to know we are not the only people going through the issues” and felt that it was “Really helpful to know services support available and support available”. The Support Worker ensured that there were plenty of handouts and a number of parents said that they would “definitely be putting some of what was discussed into practice”.

The third session on Mental Health and is being delivered by the Wellbeing team on 22 May is on Understanding Mental Health and how to support and empower adults and young people.

Working as a team to plan for families

The Early Help team in Cromer now meet weekly for the allocation of new cases and think together about the cases that are coming into the team, the piece of work that is identified and which practitioner is best placed with their knowledge, experience and interests to work with the family. We also use this as an opportunity to share good practice and ideas about specific tools and styles of working that could be used within cases, particularly regarding direct work with children.  This has supported the team in working more closely together and team members feel that they take more ownership of the work and are able to understand thresholds better.

New procedures

Some new documents have been published recently and can be found by following the links below.

Please make sure that you and your teams are aware of and have read these.

S20 practice guidance

Passport to independence

Together or Apart guidance

Supporting a young mum to prioritise her baby's needs

Melanie Perry, Early Years Family Practitioner and Carol Clarke, Personal Assistant from the Leaving Care team have been working together with a young person who is pregnant for the second time. Her first child was removed due to concerns about her ability to prioritise the babies needs over those of her partner, her understanding of what the baby needs and the nature of her relationship with the baby’s father.

With the young person’s agreement a multi-professionals' meeting was held with the Midwife, Health Visitor and the local Children’s Centre. Signs of Safety mapping was completed, providing a clear plan identifying what role each professional would take in supporting the young person and her unborn child. It is hoped that by working together more collaboratively we can achieve a more positive outcome for mum and her child, helping her to understand what her baby needs from her to be safe and thrive. Whilst the young person understands a social work assessment will be needed she is having an early opportunity to address some of the worries and think about her plans for her baby.

Easter fun for families

activity day

On 13 April, the Early Help team in Broadland organised an Easter Activity Day for children, young people and their families, at Hayman’s Lodge in Catton Park.  Sue Saunders (Early Years Family Practitioner), supported by Leanne Fennell, Andy Oakley, Cat Farrington, Cally Smith, Kim Nicholls, organised a fantastic range of activities including an Easter Egg hunt (eggs donated by local businesses), cooking, arts and crafts, parachute games and other outdoor activities. The aim of the day was to support vulnerable parents to spend time with their children playing, and enjoying outdoor experiences. 18 children and young people attended with their parents or carers, and one 8 year old and his Mum, have continued some of the activities at home, and Mum feels much more confident about creative activities

Supporting mental health

mental health

A Mental Well-being Roadshow was held at Reepham High School as part of National Mental Health Awareness Week. Working in partnership with the Town Council, the Reepham Grow Your Community network were supported by the Broadland Community Infrastructure Coordinator to apply to the Broadland Youth Advisory Board for a small grant of £700.  They were successful with their application and working closely with the Reepham High School and Broadland’s Early Help Hub’s Community Capacity Coordinator, a Mental Wellbeing Roadshow was planned. 

This delivered a high impact, one-off event engaging large numbers of young people in mental health issues. It is estimated that between 300 to 350 pupils and 20+ adults/parents attended the event.

The data collected will be used to respond to young peoples’ needs and to explore particular issues during the second part of this project, which will deliver 2 Mental Health Awareness workshops. 

246 feedback forms were collected from the young people and 66% said that they had learnt something new from attending the event. Feedbacks comments include:

“I learnt about where I can go to get help”

“Liked it do it again”

“It was very informative and helped me to understand people who are in these awful situations”

“Stay positive”

Neglect champions

Leanne Fennell and Cally Smith (Family Practitioners) are the Broadland Early Help team Neglect Champions. They have been active in this role in a variety of ways:

Leanne and Cally have been liaising with Ellie Jay (Family Intervention Team Assistant Practitioner), Bec Crouch (Family Intervention Team Social Worker) and Caroline Flack (Leaving Care Team Social Worker), to set up a North and Broadland Neglect Champions group, to plan co-ordinated awareness raising work. There will be quarterly meetings to manage this work. 

Leanne and Cally have set up a Neglect Awareness display in the Early Help Hub in Broadland, which they update regularly when they have attended training events.  

Leanne has led a staff session for the Early Help team, to look at the Graded Care Profile. All of the team have attended the NSCB training, but some of them were not confident in using the tool, so Leanne spent time working through the paperwork with a live case, and we have seen an increase in the use of the profile in direct work with children, young people and their families. 

Leanne has raised awareness of the Graded Care Profile with Reepham High School, as they are supporting a family together, and the school Senco is very enthusiastic about the tool, and plans to attend the training.

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