This is a service for high-level children in need, children subject to a Child Protection plan, children on the edge of care and children whose care plan is rehabilitation that requires an undiluted specialist level of support that can prevent an escalation of risk and effectively integrate with care plans.
To recognise this need and in keeping with the needs matrix, all high level 3 and level 4 family support services have been amalgamated into the Specialist Family Support Service. These services are: The Family Support Team: This is a long-standing Children’s Social Care team with a proven track record of family support provision at a specialist level. The team will continue to provide medium to long-term family support services across the age range for Children in Need, children subject to a Child Protection Plan and Children Looked After. Referrals must come from the allocated social worker.
Intensive Community Support Packages(ICSP): Following an external evaluation by the London Metropolitan University, the ICSP programme has been re-configured in line with evaluation recommendations. The evaluation highlighted that services such as this have greatest impact with emerging problems or crises and not with more chronic issues. The service will now be an in-house service provided by a pool of sessional workers and at times external agencies. The optimal timescale for use of an ICSP is 4 weeks. The eligibility criteria for this service are: ICSPs should be primarily focused on providing short-term services of up to 4 weeks to ‘children in need’ and ‘children subject to a child protection plan’. ICSPs should be used to contribute to the management of child protection issues and address acute crises that could result in a child becoming looked after. Evidence of the presenting crisis and how the intensive support will help to address it, would need to be outlined in the referral. Other internal, statutory and voluntary sector services need to be approached in the first instance. However if these services have not been effective, or it has been assessed that more intensive services are required, an ICSP may be considered. ICSPs will only be used to stabilise placements in exceptional circumstances. All referrals must come from the allocated social worker with their manager’s agreement.