Co-Working Protocol for Cases where there are Concerns Regarding Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) or Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
This document sets out the protocol in relation to cases which are referred to Engage through CADS, held by Children's Social Care (CSC) or where information is known to Engage via other sources where there are concerns regarding child sexual exploitation (CSE) or child criminal exploitation (CCE).
For those children who are supported by either the Assessment and Social work Team, Children with disability team or the Children In Our Care Team; there should be an allocated Social Worker who is the 'key worker' for the child and who is responsible for the Care Plan where there are clear risks of exploitation and where there is an identified piece of work to be done by the Engage Team. For those children supported by the Appletrees Hub, the key worker will be the Child Support Officer. In relation to those young people who are supported by the Leaving Care Team; the Personal Adviser will act as the key worker.
This document sets out how this co-working relationship will progress so that there is clarity regarding roles and responsibilities, under a clear plan with identified outcomes, including any work carried out by the Engage Team.
2. The Protocol
All cases where there are concerns at level 3 or 4 of the continuum in relation to child exploitation, the Social Worker, Child Support Officer or Personal Adviser is the 'key worker' and the Engage Worker is the 'co-worker'. The key worker is responsible for ensuring this is clearly communicated to the child, young person and family and all relevant professionals. The protocol sets out:
- A consistent approach to co-working across the teams;
- Clear management oversight;
- Clarity regarding lines of reporting and accountability;
- The need for a plan on each file which details the work to be undertaken by the co-worker;
- Information sharing;
- Attendance at meetings;
- Practice guidelines;
- Case recording.
3. Process for Co-working
3.1 Exploitation concerns identified via Children's Advice and Duty Service (CADS):
For any case referred into CADS where there are concerns relating to exploitation, the CADS Team Manager (TM) should follow the 'CADS workflow chart – Engage' document to determine outcome regarding referral into Engage. If it is determined that a case needs to be opened to Engage the following process should be followed:
- CADS TM triggers exploitation episode (exp episode) and puts exp episode in the Engage protocol tray;
- Engage TM or DTM reviews the CADS assessment, Referral Record and Exploitation Contact Record, completes Exp Initial Management Oversight (IMO) and allocates to Engage Worker. Engage nurse is tagged to the IMO to alert them to a new case;
- RAST manager reviews the CADS assessment, Referral Record and Exp Contact Record, completes IMO and allocates to a Social Worker;
- The Social Worker contacts allocated Engage Worker. Assessment plan agreed and joint visit arranged if deemed appropriate. Social Worker then documents this on an assessment plan case note with clear roles and responsibilities outlined regarding the collection and sharing of information;
- If joint visit not appropriate or not possible, this should be documented in the case note. Consultation with Engage TM or DTM to be held if necessary.
Exploitation identified during ongoing CSC involvement (including cases held within RAST, AST, CIOC, LEAVING CARE, APPLETREES)
In all circumstances, a referral to Engage should be completed as soon as concerns are identified, not on conclusion of a C&F assessment.
- If concerns are identified the keyworker should contact Engage TM or DTM via telephone, email or case note alert highlighting the reasons for their concerns and why they feel a referral to Engage is appropriate. The Engage TM or DTM will then complete a case note highlighting the discussion and whether a referral to Engage has been accepted. The keyworker is to discuss with their manager prior to the referral being made and consideration needs to be given to issues such as ensuring the family are aware of the referral and whether an initial joint visit with Engage is likely to be helpful or detrimental to the progress of the plan;
- Engage TM or DTM then creates a new Exp Contact Record, inputs Engage Initial Management Oversight (IMO) case note, allocates to the Engage Worker and triggers an EXP assessment. The Engage Nurse should be alerted to this case note and also added as a co-worker alongside the Engage Young People's Worker;
- The keyworker should then contact the Engage worker to discuss this case and if possible should include the Engage TM or DTM as a conference call. This discussion will outline the concerns and proposed role for Engage. At this stage the workers should arrange a joint visit if appropriate and agree the assessment plan. Social worker should then document the assessment plan this on an assessment plan case note with clear roles and responsibilities outlined regarding the collection and sharing of information;
- There should always be a joint introductory visit to the family unless there are specific reasons why this is not appropriate and if not appropriate the reasons should be clearly documented on a case note;
- The social worker or CSC TM should trigger a new C&F assessment to reflect the heightened concerns or complete a checkpoint case note to seek an extension to the ongoing C&F;
- If concern regarding CSE is identified during course of C&F assessment within RAST, RAST TM needs to consider an extension of the C&F. If this is towards end of 35 days, the RAST manager may need to trigger a review assessment in its totality. If exploitation concerns issues are picked up in RAST then the case remains with that team until the assessment is concluded and plan is devised;
- Where the child or young person is thought to have suffered or be at risk of harm or abuse attributed to CSE or CCE a strategy meeting must be convened by CSC in all circumstances. As the specialist exploitation team, this can be requested by Engage Management at any time but should be chaired by CSC TM;
- The Key worker) will always seek agreement from the child/young person and parents (where appropriate) to the introduction of an Engage worker;
- The Exp assessment will be completed in 10 working days from the point it was triggered. The key worker needs to incorporate the findings from this specialist assessment into their wider holistic assessment of that young person and their family (i.e a C&F assessment);
- Further details and roles and responsibilities of the Engage worker will be agreed in a CIN, CPC, LAC or Pathway Planning Meeting. If appropriate and practicable the young person and/or parents should be part of this meeting;
- All Engage work must be incorporated into the relevant care plan (e.g. CIN, CPC, core group meetings LAC or Pathway Plan). The Engage Worker will incorporate details of their planned work within the exp assessment ready for transfer by the social worker into the relevant care plan;
- At any point during the intervention a role for PACE (Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation) may be identified. The Engage worker will make this referral and advise the social worker whether the referral has been accepted via a case note. PACE will forward their plan to the social worker and Engage worker and the social worker will update the care plan accordingly (see above);
- CSC remain the lead professional and the management and direction of the case remains with CSC TM or Leaving Care Manager. Engage is a specialist team which should be considered as co-working and able to advise on risk management and appropriate care planning;
- At any point, either the CSC TM or Engage TM can request a joint supervision between CSC and Engage to discuss the direction of the case;
- The Engage Worker must attend all CIN, CPC, LAC and Pathway planning meetings;
- If the Engage Worker identifies any child protection issues in relation to the child currently being supported or his/her siblings, or other significant concerns they will report these immediately to the key worker or CADS as appropriate. In the absence of the Social Worker they will report any such concerns to CSC TM. In addition to the above requirements to notify involved keyworkers; In relation to those children supported by The Appletrees Hub, where the Engage Worker identifies child protection concerns; these should be discussed in the first instance with the Appletrees Hub TM where the Children with Disabilities Pathway will be followed;
- If a case is not open to Engage but the key worker or CSC TM feel it would be helpful, Engage can be invited to attend strategy discussions, to complete consultations with workers or offer reflective or joint case supervision.
3.2 Exploitation identified during ongoing CSC involvement (including cases held within RAST, AST, CIOC, LEAVING CARE, CWD,APPLETREES) where the child is placed out of borough (OOB)
- If a child lives within a 20 mile radius of Greenbank Police Station (Engage Team base), the young person should be referred to Engage as above;
- If the child lives further than 20 mile radius then Engage can be consulted for advice and information with regards to the case management of the young person. Engage can support the key worker with referrals to local exploitation teams for the young person, reviews of assessments completed and any other general advice and information regarding exploitation issues.