Children’s Social Care is segmented across three different districts; Ellesmere Port, Northwich and Winsford and Chester. There are Children in Need and Children in Care Teams in each of these districts and further teams detailed below which cover all three districts.
The ‘Front Door’
We have an effective multi-agency Integrated Access and Referral Team (i-ART) which is located in Winsford. Here, all contact and referrals are collated and processed before being transferred to the appropriate team across Integrated Early Support (IES) and Children’s Social Care (CSC).
Children in Need teams
Children in Need teams operate on what is referred to as a pod system, where each team in each district is divided into three smaller teams, each with a Team Manager, Senior Practice Lead and six social workers. These teams are supported by a Senior Business Support Officer and a team of business support colleagues, who support social workers with administration tasks. There is also access to family support services including parenting programmes.
Children in Need model pilots
The aim of this initiative is to work intensively with identified families to increase the likelihood of them being able to meet their own needs in a more sustainable way. Cases allocated to the team will be targeted drawing on evidenced based interventions. A key aspect of the pilots is the role of Family Support Workers, in particular how they will undertake direct interventions with families, with support from a nominated Social Worker and line managed by a Team Manager. The pilots will be initially trialled in Ellesmere Port and Winsford and Northwich and will be launched in spring 2017.
Children in Care teams
Children in Care Teams operate in each district where children subject to care proceedings or who are in long-term care are managed. Each of these teams has a Team Manager, Senior Practice Lead and eight Social Workers who are supported by a Family Support Worker. Supervised contact is managed and facilitated by an internal contact service.
Leaving Care Team
The Leaving Care Team enables independent living for young people who are looked after and care leavers to assist them with their transition into adulthood. The team provides support to young people to access and engage with educational opportunities through training and employment, as well as developing life skills to promote independence. The team undertakes age assessments and provides support to unaccompanied asylum seeking young people to enable and promote the best start into adult life.
A range of teams and service areas are situated within Provider Services:
- Access to Resources Team (ART): coordinate and process placement requests.
- Mainstream Fostering Team: responsible for recruiting, assessing, supporting and supervising foster carers.
- Connected People’s Team: responsible for assessments and supervision of family and friend carers.
- Adoption Team: plays a key role in enabling permanence for our children where appropriate and support, enable and train adopters.
Edge of Care
Launched in 2015, this team works holistically and intensively with children and their families who are deemed to be at the edge of care in order to prevent them becoming looked after. The team works closely with the Children in Need Teams across the districts to support and develop plans to prevent children and young people entering care. The team has seven Family Intervention Workers and is managed by a Senior Social Worker.
Family Group Conference Service
This is a new service to Cheshire West and Chester introduced in 2017. The aim of the service, delivered through Family Group Conferences, is to encourage and enable the wider family network to be involved in the development of a plan which will help families overcome issues that they may be experiencing. The Family Group Conference service will be overseen by a Senior Social Worker and four Family Group Coordinators who will manage cases referred to the service.
- Darnhall & Woodlea Children’s Home: provides short, short-term emergency and long-term placements for children and young people. The service is registered with Ofsted for a maximum of four young people
- Pinewood: provides residential short breaks to children who have a learning and/or physical disability. The children and young people who access Pinewood require personal care and support in managing their behaviour and health needs. Pinewood provides overnight stays for children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years. The service is registered with Ofsted for a maximum of 6 children and young people
Children with Disabilities Team and transition
Following the Disabled Children’s and Young people service review in November 2016, Cabinet approved a new model of delivery for disabled children and young people services, focusing on early intervention and personalisation. The new service will go live summer 2017.
The new model will create a dedicated team, within the wider umbrella of integrated services, which will comprise of Social Workers and Family Case Workers, working closely together to deliver appropriate services and to improve outcomes for children and young people.