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Level 4 - Specialist

The child's needs are complex and enduring and a statutory response is required.

At Level 4, a statutory Plan should be used e.g. Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), Child in Need (CIN) Plan, Child Protection (CP) Plan.

If during the course of work with a child or young person it is assessed that progress is not being made or the level of need is increasing then the practitioner should have a discussion with their safeguarding lead or contact the community social worker for advice. If the decision is that a Level 4 (Specialist) response is required the practitioner should complete a multi-agency referral form (MARF) and submit this to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

Additional advice, guidance and information can be found within the Safeguarding Children and Young People section of the directory, which can be accessed HERE.

Making a safeguarding referral

When making a safeguarding referral to MASH the Lead Practitioner is responsible for providing relevant documentation which will normally include Early Help My Plans, My Assessments & My Plan+, genogram, latest Team Around the Family review meeting minutes, tools completed which provide evidence of an increase in the level of risk (e.g CSE Screening Tool, Neglect Toolkit, Disability screening tool) which will be used to help inform the screening against the levels of intervention.

Practitioners should always seek consent from parents (or those who hold parental responsibility) or the young person, as appropriate, prior to making contact with MASH unless where seeking consent would place the child at increased risk of significant harm. If consent is not sought or provided, the rationale for this should be recorded on the MARF.

The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) can be contacted on 01452 426565.

The Mult Agency Request Form (MARF) can be found by clicking HERE.

What will you need to do to support the child/young person and their family?

• Where social care are the specialist support they will become the Lead Practitioner – ensure you have shared any assessments, plans or reviews and where agreed, continue to work with the Multi-Agency Team to support meeting the identified needs.

• Where an Education, Health and Care Plan is in place, the SENDCo will become the Lead Practitioner and continue to follow a Level 3 response to contribute towards statutory annual reviews.

Who can help you if you need it?

• Social Worker

• SEND Team

Stepping down from Social Care

'Step down’ from Children’s Social Care takes place because the needs have been met and/or the risks to the child have decreased.

When a decision has been made that a child or young person is no longer in need of social work or other specialist intervention (‘step down’) a review meeting should identify the Lead Practitioner and agree the on-going plan. Weekly meetings are held in each locality, chaired by the Safeguarding Head of Service in order to plan for families to be transferred from social care to early help. These meetings, which usually involve Safeguarding and Assessment team managers, Families First managers and Children and Family Centre managers, are run consistently across the County in line with the agreed protocol.

The team around the family should continue to offer co-ordinated support and the lead practitioner role can be assumed by the most suitable practitioner. This will ensure that the child, young person and their family will benefit from a period of co-ordinated support from across the partnership at this stage in their journey.

When a decision has been made that a child is no longer in need of social work intervention, but an ongoing level of support is required and the family and child have given consent to continued support and for information to be shared, then a transfer will be made to Early Help using the step down process referred to below.

Plans to step down and transfer a child/young person and their family to Early Help should be discussed by the social worker with the family at the end of a Single Assessment or agreed at a Child in Need review meeting. Steps should be taken to identify a lead practitioner from an agency already involved with the family or the relevant practitioner if a single agency response is the outcome of the assessment.

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