In this assignment I will discuss the 3 different methods of referral and show the difference between the three types. I will also describe the process that is involved when a child is referred because of suspected abuse. There are 3 types of referral that a person could make if they suspect a child is being harmed.
The first is a professional referral and this can be made from doctors, teacher or a health visitor’s that will see the child either on a regular basis or will know and maybe have an understanding of the child’s family life, for example a teacher would see the child every week and a doctor would have a record of the child and family’s background.
An example of a professional referral could be if a child was to be taken into a doctor’s surgery because they have come up with an unexplainable rash and as the doctor is checking the child over there are clear signs of fresh bruises and cuts on the child’s back and on the back of their neck and legs, it is clear that there is potential abuse taking place as these bruises do not usually occur from a fall in the school playground. It is then the doctor’s job to report the child’s state to social services as there is concern that the child is being physically hurt.
The second type of referral that could be made is a third party referral and this can be made from a person that is not a professional so this could be a family member, a friend or a neighbour that makes the referral. An example of a third party referral is if a child is being abused and a neighbour hears frequent bangs, crashes and the sound of a child in pain or suffering on a regular basis then it could be worrying for them to hear what is happening and not be able to see what is actually going on. If a neighbour is worried they can ring social services and report what they think to be abuse.
The final referral that can be made is a self referral and this can be made by either the person that is abusing their child or the child themselves can make the referral. An example of self referral could be that a child is being abused every evening when they return from school and the next day they go to school with fresh bruises and cuts and their friends in their class are starting to notice and make fun of that child. The child then notices a leaflet in the corridor with a number to ring for childline and decided to ring them for help. This is one way of a self referral as the child has ringed up and reported it.
Once a child that is potentially suffering from abuse has been reported to social services they will have to put the case into a threshold and this will decided whether the child needs immediate help or if it isn’t a serious case whether or not a CAF form needs to be filled in. A threshold is a template that social workers follow when a child is being abused and it prioritises the children that are most at risk. Level 1 is the category where the less serious cases will go and Level 4 is where the most vulnerable children will go and will be prioritised for the help.
Level 2 and 3 are the levels in the middle, where abuse may be going on and is being seen to, however it isn’t as serious as level 4. If a child was suspected to be suffering from abuse then there are certain procedures that would have to be followed from all professionals and local authorities involved. The first stage would be spotting a sign of abuse on a child. An example of this could be that a doctor is concerned about some unexplainable cuts and bruises on a child’s back and neck.
The next stage would be to discuss with somebody of higher authority the case and make a decision on the next step. An example of this could be that the doctor would have to go to their manager to express their concerns of the child’s safety. From this the case can either go two ways, the professional can either decide that the case is of no serious concern so no further action has to be taken or if there are still concerns then it has to be reported to social services and then follow up their concerns in writing within 48 hours.
Once this happens the social worker/workers that are dealing with the case along with the manager decide on the next course of action within one working day. If they decide that action has to be taken then they will need to do an initial assessment on the child and their family home. An example of this would be to go out to the family home and speak to friends and neighbours, talk to the child suspected to be abused and speak to the family including any sibling. If they then decide that they are concerned about the child’s safety they will then have to go away and discuss what to do next.
There are 3 stages that they can follow, they can either come to the decision that the child is not in danger and close the case with close supervision to ensure the correct decision has been made or they can implement an s47 which means that there are concerns of the child’s safety. If once the s47 has been taken out it is decided that the abuse can be prevented then this would be the next stage. An example of this could be that the parents drink a lot and have said that they will get the help they need and stop this and social services think it is genuine then they can offer the help and support necessary.
Sometimes cases are more in depth and detailed than the example just given and if this was the case then there would be more procedures to follow, it could be that the child is removed from the parents care until the issue is resolved or taken away for good depending on the seriousness of the case. The common assessment framework (CAF) was designed to assess children’s needs and also to make sure that professionals understand and meet the children’s needs. The common assessment framework work alongside other agencies to make sure that they all meet the child’s needs.
The CAF will discuss with other professionals what support is needed and how this will be achieved, they make sure that the views of the child and the parents are put across and put into consideration. The Common assessment framework consists of: * A common process of assessment * A standard form * A pre assessment checklist to decide whether common assessment would be useful. These points are designed to offer a shared assessment of the child and the situation that they are in which will reduce the same situation from happening again and it will make sure that no more involvement will be needed in the future.
It can be used on any child or young person with extra needs, this includes babies that are still unborn however it will not be suitable for all situations. It is important to work with the child’s parents because if the situation that a child is going through isn’t serious then it could be resolved by just speaking to the parents and making them aware of what they are doing wrong. It is also important to speak to parents because they will usually appreciate being kept up to date of what stage their case is at. The CAF Process * Preparation – This stage it to identify any additional needs, maybe using the CAF checklist.
A conference will take place where a discussion of the child’s needs takes place with the child, other professionals and usually with the parent/carer and also find out if a CAF has already been done. * Discussion – This stag is to complete the assessment with the child and their family and make sure they make use of any information that has gathered through other agencies and professionals. * Delivery – This stage is to work with any other professionals involved and also with the family to make decisions on how the needs of the child can be met that have been identified.
They then deliver these ideas and review how effective they have been. An example of when CAF would be put into place would be if a disabled parent was to be neglecting their child but are unaware of what they are doing then CAF would have to intervene and offer some ongoing support to the family. Multidisciplinary teams are groups of professionals that come from different disciplines that come together and give different assessments for children that are suffering from abuse. Their main aim is to help other members of their team to resolve difficult cases.
They also ensure that the interests and rights of all people involved in the case are addressed. MTD’s are important because it gets the views from different sectors so that every part of the case is fair and so that points from different angles are shown. This ensures that different views are put across to ensure the case is dealt with fairly. Some cases are too serious for CAF to deal with and this is when a PPO will come into action. PPO stands for Police Protection Order and is put into place when a child is seriously at risk of harm, which means they are nearly at risk of death if the abuse carry’s on.
The PPO allows police officers to go into the child’s home and remove the child from the situation; the police are only allowed to take the child away for 72 hours without consent from the parents or carers. Usually there will be somewhere for the child to go, this could mean that they be placed in foster care, however the police try to keep the child within the family unit, so the child may get put into a home with an older brother or sister, aunty, uncle or grandma rather than being sent to a stranger so the child will feel comfortable; at ease and relaxed rather than being upset and distressed as they are in a strange, unknown environment.
If the violent parent has been taken out of the family home, and the case has been resolved the child would then return home, however if the child has nowhere to go once the police has taken the child out of the family home and the 72 hours are running out, the police would then apply for an EPO. An EPO stands for emergency protection order which is given by the court although lots of evidence has to be provided for this to be given as to why the child cannot return home for the court to grant this, once granted the EPO will only last up to 8 days.