Prevention and Support Service (PASS) and Team for Children with Disabilities - Thurrock Social Care
Prevention and Support Service
The Prevention and Support Service (PASS) provides integrated support to children, young people and their families. The key objective of the service is to offer practical advice, support and direct case work to families to prevent issues escalating and requiring statutory intervention.
PASS comprises a range of professionals including:
family support workers
parental outreach workers
community support worker
PASS is supported by a range of services that have strategic oversight. It is based on a 'team around the family' approach, with designated lead professionals responsible for co-ordination of case work.
If you require further information, please speak to Mrs Westrop.
Disabled children and their families
Our Team for Disabled Children is a team of social workers covering the whole of the Thurrock, working with children and young people from 0 to 18 years-old.
The Team for Disabled Children works with children and young people who have:
- a permanent and substantial disability
- a severe learning difficulty - this includes pre-school children who show a significant delay
- a physical impairment that impacts their lives - this includes sensory impairment
- a life threatening or chronic illness
The team works health, education and other services to make sure the needs of children and young people are met. They provide packages of care, which can include:
- short breaks
- domiciliary care
- access to leisure activities
- summer play schemes
- advice and guidance
Types of specialist services
Early Support is a government programme that coordinates services for pre-school children with disabilities and their families. It’s a national programme that you can access at hospitals, clinics, child development centres, the Sunshine Centre, early years settings, children’s centres and portage services, where a professional comes out to your home, as well as some voluntary organisations.
Early Support keeps families at the heart of discussion and decision-making about their children.
Respite or short breaks are services that give a child or young person and their family to have a break from each other. We believe that having a break is important for both the child or young person and their family. It's a normal part of any family’s lifestyle and allows the parent or carer to recharge their batteries.
It also gives brothers and sisters space from each other to allow them to express themselves, and allows the disabled child or young person the chance to explore new opportunities and learn to become independent.
Services in your home, such as a ‘sitting service’, can be provided in the community. This could be a sessional worker to take your child out, or a befriender, a nursery or after-school club. It can be provided overnight in a shared care family or in a residential care home.
Parents know their children best, so if you have concerns about your child’s development, whether that be the way they are acting, walking, communication or developing, then you need to speak to someone like your doctor.
You may recognise signs, such as your child not meeting the key milestones you are expecting, like sitting up, walking or talking. If so, then talk to your health visitor.
Remember that all children develop at different speeds so, for example, if your child has an older brother or sister who was walking by their first birthday, it doesn't mean that your second child will do the same. It doesn't mean they have a disability. Be persistent if your worries continue, however, and go back to your doctor. Don’t be put off.
Speak to Mrs Westrop if you want further information.
Children's social care
The children's social care service operates under a strict legal framework, and it is this legal framework that dictates which cases must be accepted from referral and assessed, and what services can be offered or provided to children, young people and their families.
Duties and responsibilities
Children's social care determines the level of need for children by a process of assessment based on the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000). The assessment looks at the child's developmental needs, parenting capacity of their carers, and family and environmental factors.
Children's social care use thresholds to consider whether a referral will be accepted, whether an assessment will be undertaken, and what services will be offered or provided. This way they can ensure that help is targeted at those children who are most vulnerable, and that any decisions made about services are consistent.
Once a referral is accepted, staff will carry out an assessment to identify the child's level of need and risk, and decide on an appropriate plan of action and services to be offered depending on this assessment.
When a referral is below the children's social care threshold, the Thurrock MASH may be able to provide referrers with information on more suitable resources and/or pass the referral to early help or other services where appropriate.
Child in need
A general duty is placed on every local authority to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in need within their area. This duty is set by:
- Section 17 of the Children Act 1989
- Section 10/11 of the Children Act 2004
- recommendations in the Munro Review of Child Protection, 2011
- the Working together to safeguard children statutory guidance 2013
Children's social care must, so far as is consistent with this duty, promote the upbringing of children in need by their families, through provision of a range and level of services appropriate to the child's needs.
The Children Act 1989 states that a child shall be considered "in need" if:
- s/he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision of services by a local authority
- their health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision of such services
- s/he is disabled
Before referring a child to children's social care under Section 17, professionals should in most cases, ensure that a common assessment framework (CAF) has been completed and consultation has taken place with any relevant agencies, including where appropriate early help services.
Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 requires the local authority to make enquiries to enable it to decide whether action is required to safeguard and promote the well-being of the child. Children's social care will carry out an assessment as a means of conducting the Section 47 enquiries using the SET child protection procedures.
The purpose of the assessment is to determine whether the child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm and to assess whether action is required to safeguard and promote the child's welfare. Health, education and other services have a statutory duty to help children's social care to carry out the Section 47 enquiry. Social workers will work with the police in the case of a criminal investigation.
All professionals in agencies with contact with children and members of their families must make a referral to the Thurrock MASH if there are signs that a child or an unborn baby:
- is suffering significant harm through abuse or neglect
- is likely to suffer significant harm in the future
The timing of such referrals should reflect the level of perceived risk of harm, not longer than within one working day of identification or disclosure of harm or risk of harm.
In urgent situations, out of office hours, the referral should be made to children's social care emergency out of hours service.
Further advice about recognition of abuse and neglect can be found in the SET child protection procedures.