SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter provides the context for all procedures contained in this manual.
It sets out underlying values and principles for the provision of services to children and families.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was amended in May 2014 as a result of local review; and should be re-read in full.
The overriding purpose of our approach to Reclaiming Front Line Practice in Children's Social Care is to;
This means that we:
Children and young people will tell us:
Families will tell us:
Children and young people who are looked after will tell us:
Practitioners will tell us:
We have one primary strategy:
'Help more families care for their children safely at home.'
This is the most important statement in this document. It might seem brief - but it's precise enough to ensure that everyone who works here understands what it is they need to help us achieve.
For a start, the strategy is consistent with our shared values - it talks explicitly about 'help' - helping people is therefore at the forefront of what we do. To do this well we need to understand that the service we deliver is about the management of risk to children and that it is this context in which we will help families change. We will manage risk proactively and collectively as one organisation.
Secondly, the strategy says that it is 'families' that we are helping – this is because children live in families and it is the conditions created by adults in the family that will determine the risk to children. Therefore we must work with the adults to help them change.
Thirdly, we also believe we can do 'more' to help more families care for their children safely at home. This means we are going to do more of the things that make a positive difference to help more children live safely at home - and by implication, less of the things that don't make a difference. This means everybody in every part of the organisation spending more time doing things that make the strategy a reality for more families - as well as making sure that all the systems and processes are helping the same things happen and not just getting in the way or serving to undermine our strategy.
Fourthly, the strategy talks about 'safely'. That's because the main thing that the social care system for children is concerned about is that children are 'safe' and protected from harm wherever possible - and that the capacity of parents and carers is sufficient to ensure this. If it is not sufficient we will try and help to build and strengthen capacity - or provide additional help from outside the family to keep children safe. Only when we cannot achieve this will we consider alternatives.
Being 'safe' is fundamental to children's overall health and well-being and social/emotional development and learning. We see children and young people in the context of their whole family and community - and adults as parents and carers but also as individuals in their own right. A family may have a broad range of needs requiring a number of agencies to work together, but as a social care system we make a particular and 'specialised' contribution to child protection and safeguarding.
We are fundamentally committed to working with children and families in such a way that builds relationships and maintains those relationships even in sometimes, very difficult circumstances. We have therefore identified some key 'ways of working' with families that reflect our shared values:
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