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1.6.1 Case Transfer Policy and Procedure

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Hull Children and Families Service has a number of different teams with different responsibilities and remits. At certain points in a child’s journey one team or another will be best placed to meet the child’s needs. This policy and procedure aims to make the transfer between teams as seamless as possible for children and families.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Hull Safeguarding Children Board Guidelines and Procedures Manual, Thresholds of Needs Guidance


Contents

  1. Principles
  2. Transfer Standards
  3. Process
  4. Points of Transfer
  5. Mechanisms to Resolve Difficulties
  6. Case Closure


1. Principles

Child focus

The child’s needs should be central to the process. Children and families should be kept informed throughout.

No delay

Transfer of cases should not cause delay to social work intervention with families. Throughput of work is essential to maintain access to new referrals and ensure that each team is working with the children and families that it is best able to support. Therefore all cases should move to the new team once the transfer point has been reached.

Flexibility

The process outlined below must be used flexibly and with discretion between Managers. It aims to provide guidance, not rigid rules. There may be exceptional circumstances where it is preferable for a case to remain within the existing team. In such cases individual decisions should be based on the child’s best interests.

One service

Standards of service delivery across Children and Families Service are the responsibility of all managers and staff.


2. Transfer Standards

Case records must be up to date, including:

  • Key information, including all family and professional contacts;
  • Chronology;
  • Up to date diary recording;
  • Relevant assessment completed and shared with the family;
  • Child’s Plan which summarises the purpose of current involvement;
  • Supervision records and Pod Reflective Discussion Records;
  • In the case of a child looked after, a copy of the birth certificate will be in the paper file or will have been requested;
  • Copies of all current Legal Orders are included;
  • Case transfer summary must be authorised by the Team Manager / Consultant Social Worker and include:
    • A summary of the focus and purpose of current involvement;
    • Details of future Looked After Child Reviews, Child Protection Conferences and Child in Need reviews, highlighting who is responsible for organising and chairing the meetings;
    • An overview of contact arrangements including arrangements for transport and the supervision of the contact where appropriate;
    • A summary of current visits, including arrangements for seeing children on their own;
    • Details of agencies involved with the case;
    • A record of any identified risk factors and risk management arrangements;
    • A record of any outstanding tasks for example Health Assessment, Personal Education Plan etc. For all outstanding tasks agreement should be reached regarding who is responsible for completing the task.

The case records are essential but can only provide part of the picture. Case discussions and attendance at key meetings will provide further insight and understanding.


3. Process

The timescale of the transfer process will vary depending on the case. As a general rule, once Team Managers / Consultant Social Workers have discussed the transfer, the process should take no more than four weeks. The date of the transfer is the date of the handover meeting with the family.

3.1 Managers discuss transfer

A discussion or meeting between the Team Managers / Consultant Social Workers from the current team and the receiving team must take place to ensure that full information is shared. There should be agreement between the Team Manager / Consultant Social Worker about the continuity of the provision of services during the case transfer.

3.2 Update records

Social worker updates case records and transfer summary (see Section 2, Transfer Standards).

3.3 Worker talks to family

The social worker should discuss and agree the transfer with the child (where appropriate) and the family. The worker needs to identify what additional support or preparation might be needed.

3.4 Inform other professionals / key meetings

The worker handing over the case must inform the network of other professionals working with the family of the change of worker / team. If there are key meetings (for example Child Protection Conference, Core Group, Professionals Meeting) the worker handing over the case and the receiving worker should attend.

3.5 Handover meeting with family

The worker handing over the case and the worker receiving the case meet the child or young person and their family, and carer (if looked after) to introduce the new worker.

3.6 Update Liquidlogic

The receiving team formally assign the new worker on Liquidlogic


4. Points of Transfer

Outlined below is the guidance for points of transfer which most cases will follow. There may be occasions when for service reasons, cases will be transferred outside these points, but the principle of no delay and child focus should underlie such decisions. Section 2, Transfer Standards and Section 3, Process should always be followed.

4.1 Access and Assessment Team Pods

The Access and Assessment Service will receive all new referrals to children's social care where there are concerns about a child; this will be delivered through the Access and Assessment Pods.

  • Children's Social Care Assessments will be undertaken in the Access and Assessment pods to decide the appropriate support needed. New Section 47 enquiries will be undertaken by the Access and Assessment Pods;
  • The Access and Assessment Service will act as a signpost to support children and families in need into other appropriate services as well as providing advice and information;
  • Where appropriate the Access and Assessment Pods will provide short term help/intervention (up to 4 months).

The Access and Assessment Service will provide a point of access to all children and young people aged 0-18yrs. This includes young people who are assessed as Section 17 under the Children Act 1989.

Children with an identified disability will be assessed and supported with services by the Children and Families Disability Team. This will include all children who have disability and who are deemed: Children in Need, on a Child Protection Plan or Looked After.

The Access and Assessment Team Pods will be responsible for all assessments in the first instance. This includes work under the Children Act 1989; Section 17, accommodation under Section 20, Section 47, progression into child protection plans or into legal proceedings and Private Law proceedings (including Child Arrangements Orders). Private Fostering Assessments where children are newly referred will also be undertaken by the Access and Assessment Pods.

4.2 Flow of work from the Access and Assessment Service

Professional discretion needs to be considered in identifying where the case is held but in principle the following applies:

4.2.1 Children in Need

Cases will move to Locality Pods at the most appropriate opportunity on completion of assessment, if assessment indicates longer term work is needed. Otherwise cases would remain in Assessment Team up to four months to ensure short pieces of work are undertaken to enable community based responses, where appropriate.

4.2.2 Child Protection Planning

It is anticipated that cases move to Locality Pods at the most appropriate early opportunity on completion of assessment, usually between 1st and 2nd conference.

4.2.3 If a child is on an Interim Care Order (ICO)

  1. If the plan is for permanence outside of the family, it is most appropriate for the case to go directly to the ILAC Team.
  2. If the plan is for the child to return to the birth family, it is most appropriate for the case to go directly to Locality Pods. In most cases transfer is at the 2nd Review; however, decisions about where the case is held can be made earlier if it is in the best interest of the child to move the case earlier.

4.2.4 Disabilities

If the child has disabilities identified the case will be transferred to the Children and Families Disability Team (CFTD) at the earliest opportunity.

4.2.5 Private Law

When the court requests a Section 7 or Section 37 report be provided the following applies: Where there is current active involvement and the case is open to locality pods the piece of private law work (Section 7 or Section 37) will remain with the Locality Pod. If there is no current involvement then private law work is to be undertaken in the Assessment and Access service.

4.2.6 Private Fostering

After the Access and Assessment Team Pod has completed the Private Fostering Assessment the case will transfer to one of the Locality Pods.

4.3 Transfer of cases from Locality Pods

4.3.1 Looked after child 

If the Care Plan for a looked after child or young person is changed to indicate that the child will be looked after long-term, the case will transfer to the Integrated Looked After Children (ILAC) Team. The case should be transferred at the point at which the care plan changes.

4.3.2 Families moving area

If a family who are being supported by a Locality Team move to another locality; give up their old tenancy and gain a permanent tenancy in the new area, the case will be transferred to the appropriate Locality Team.

4.3.3 Pre-birth cases where there is existing or recent CYPFS involvement with the family

If the Locality Pod is involved with older siblings, they will manage the pre-birth case too. If there is no ongoing involvement with older siblings, the case of an un-born baby will be taken by the AAT.

4.3.4 Child Protection

If a new concern of significant harm arises in a case that is open to a Locality Pod the Locality Pod will undertake Section 47 enquiries and any immediate action that is required to protect the child. If a case has been closed for less than eight weeks the same applies. If a case has been closed for more than eight weeks and new safeguarding concerns arise, AAT will undertake child protection processes.

4.4 Transfers between workers within teams

Continuity of worker is important to children and their families – particularly for looked after children – but sometimes case transfers are necessary because of staff movement or for other reasons. The same Case Transfer Standards (see Section 2, Transfer Standards) and Process (see Section 3, Process) set out above should be followed.


5. Mechanisms to Resolve Difficulties

If there is a difference of views about which team is best placed to meet the needs of a child or about the point of transfer, attempts should be made to resolve it by dialogue between the respective Team Managers / Consultant Social Workers. Face to face discussion is often the most effective way of reaching a solution. However, if the difference remains, it may be escalated to more senior managers including Group Managers or Assistant Heads of Service to reach a resolution.


6. Case Closure

Child in need cases may be closed if the child or young person no longer needs the service. Closure should be brought about through discussion between the child, family and professionals involved.

The decision to close a case is made by the Consultant Social worker / Team Manager following discussion with the worker in supervision. It is important to gain the views of and keep other professionals informed. This may be done by discussing the case closure at a core group or child in need review.

Once the decision to close the case is made, the worker will notify all core group members and other professionals involved with the family; the child (if appropriate); the parents or carers and other relevant family members. There is not a standard pro forma closure letter to these parties: the social worker will need to write a letter to the child (if appropriate) and family members. It is important to observe the following points:

  1. A letter stating that case closure is taking place must not come as a surprise to the family. Appropriate discussion and, if necessary, preparation must have taken place;
  2. Other professionals involved with the family should be made aware that the case is to be closed by Children’s Social Care;
  3. The formal closure letter must always point out to the service user how to contact the service again (usually the header address), or provide details of other appropriate support agencies.

A Case Closure Summary should be completed and recorded on the Liquidlogic record. When a case is closed, if there is a new referral within 8 weeks the case responsibility should be held by the team that last held it. A re-referral on a case closed longer than eight weeks would be the responsibility of the AAT.

Support post case closure

When a case is to be closed by Children’s Social Care consideration should be given, in discussion with the child (if appropriate) and family to whether or not further support from targeted or universal services is needed. The family’s views should be sought as to whether they can access the services they need or whether they need some support to do so. It may be appropriate for the Lead Professional role to be transferred from the social worker to a professional from targeted or universal service who knows the family. See Early Help and Safeguarding - Guidance for Practitioners.

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