Children’s Social Work Service Structure
The Children’s Social Work Service is divided into four service areas, each managed by a Head of Service:
- Referral, Assessment and Child Protection
- Looked After Children
- Special Educational Needs and Disabilities 0-25
The Head of Service for Referral, Assessment and Child Protection manages the following teams:
- The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub: Mash (Multi agency safeguarding hub) is Solihull’s new front door for children and young people aged 0-18 years. This is an exciting new team that brings together partner agencies to share information, knowledge and skills to enable the right decisions to be made. Support is then identified and put in place at the right time to safeguard and protect the children and young people of Solihull.
- The Children’s Assessment Team: Workers in the Childrens Assessment Team describe every day as being different! The team progresses referrals made to MASH and complete assessments to determine risks to children, what their unmet needs are and how these could best be met. This is a team of Social Workers and Support Workers.Social workers on the team carry a varied caseload and the team operates in a fast paced environment where there are tight timescales that need to be met. However it is also a very supportive team with frequent supervision and strong and accessible management oversight. This is a short term intervention team that upon completion of an assessment a decisions will be made as to whether further work or signposting is required to other social work teams or whether Early Help services are appropriate.
- The Child In Need Team: We work with children and families for a period of 6-9 months offering support to vulnerable children under Section 17 (Children Act 1989,2004). Our purpose is to work using a preventative approach, undertaking direct work and co-ordinating CIN meetings with families and partner agencies. Our aim is to prevent children being received into the care system and work with families to prevent children from becoming subject to a Child Protection Plan.
- The Child Protection and Court Team: this is a fast paced and busy team that undertakes the majority of the child protection and court work in children’s services. The team works closely with colleagues across Solihull – using the Signs of Safety risk assessment approach. Good guidance and support is provided by the managers, and it is a team that will develop your skills in this area. There is access to training and support in your development.
- The Emergency Duty Team
The Head of Service for Looked After Children manages:
- The Fostering Team:Solihull has its own Fostering Agency, known as the fostering team. The social workers in the team are involved in recruiting, training and assessing prospective foster carers, and providing supervision, support, and training to approved foster carers. A number of these foster carers are family and friends carers, known as connected person carers. The team work closely with the children’s social workers to provide the best possible placement for the child.
- The Looked After Children Case Management Team: The team work with children who are in care and where it is not expected that they will return to their birth families within the year. Most are on care orders with plans for permanence outside of their family. Each child has an allocated social worker whose job is working with the child, their carers and other professionals to keeping the child’s care plan up to date and ensure it is implemented. This may include finding long term foster carers or working with an older child to agree their pathway plan to adulthood. Family support workers work alongside social workers to complete specific pieces of work with a child such as life story work, or supporting an assessment about contact with birth family or other siblings.
- The Child Asylum and 16+ Team: the team take responsibility for looked after children once they are 16 years old and have a pathway plan, and support them as care leavers through into adulthood at 21 years old, or for some up to 24 years old. Social workers are case responsible for all those who are looked after (16 and 17 year olds), and from 18, the lead role is taken by Personal Advisers who work closely with the social workers to get to know the young person before they reach 18.
- A part of the team provides a specialist social work service to unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people, from the point that they arrive in Solihull and become looked after (at whatever age: 10 – 17) , until they leave care leaving services as adults.
The Head of Service for Safeguards oversees the following:
- The Independent Reviewing Team
- The Local Authority Designated Officer role
- The support arrangements for the Local Safeguarding Children Board, including the LSCB Business Manager
- The Quality Assurance Framework including the timetabling, coordination and reporting of the case file audit and other quality assurance activities
- This manager oversees the contract with TriX for the provision of our procedures and is the named link with that provider
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities 0-25
SEND 0-25 services comprises of the Specialist Inclusion and Support teams, the Educational Psychology team, the Early Years team, the START team, the Children’s Disability Social Care team and the Transition Team. Services work closely together to improve assessment, planning, provision and outcomes for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities.
The Children’s Disability Social Care team completes assessments of need and determines appropriate levels of support for children and young people with disabilities and their families. The team provide services, either directly or through a Direct Payment, monitor and review packages of support. The team also provides a service to children and young people with disabilities who are, ‘Looked After’ by SMBC, subject of a Child Protection plan, at risk of exploitation or involved with our colleagues in the Youth Offending team.
Comments from a social worker: Within the adoption team, I enjoy the diversity of social work that I am able to practice. This includes supporting adoptive families in crisis, assessing people from all walks of life to become adopters and finding forever families for children. I am particularly inspired by the drive to help children have a ‘happy ever after’. My team are very skilled, knowledgeable and supportive and the opportunities for learning and progression is constant.