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When and how to refer to Medway Council's children's social care service
Most children and young people have a number
of basic needs that can be supported through a range of universal
services. These services include education, early years, health,
housing, youth services, leisure facilities and services provided
by voluntary organisations. However, some children have more
complex needs and may require access to specialist services to
support them. One such service is Local Authority Social Services
for ‘Children in Need’.
Kent and Medway Inter-Agency Threshold Criteria for Services for
Children (pdf 412KB) document provides guidance for
professionals and service users to:
- clarify the
circumstances in which to refer a child to a specific agency to
address an individual need;
- conduct a Common Assessment Framework (CAF); or
- refer to Medway’s
Children’s Social Care.
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The document describes:
- the threshold criteria for Medway Children’s Social Care;
- how that fits within the wider context of universal services
and multi-agency support;
- the process by which Children’s Social Care assess against the
Children’s needs and multi-agency tiers of intervention
Kent and Medway have adopted a common approach to describing the
levels of need and intervention that may be required by children,
young people and their families. These form a continuum as
A key principle underpinning the delivery of
services to children is that additional needs should be identified
as early as possible and intervention should focus on working with
children and parents/carers in order to provide early support and
prevent the need for specialist services.
Children with additional needs in Medway
should be offered, in consultation with parents/carers, a CAF and, where appropriate and necessary, a lead
professional as a way of identifying what support and early
services are needed.
Professionals referring to children’s social care
If a professional is unclear about whether to
make a referral they should first consult with their designated
Child Protection lead within their agency. Following this, a
consultation can be held with a professional within one of Medway’s
Children’s Referral, Assessment and Support Teams (CRAST). To
request a consultation, contact Customer First using the details at
the foot of this page.
If a CAF has been completed then this is
important information and should be attached to the referral if
consent from the child/parent has been given.
The referral form should be completed with
as much relevant information as possible. If referring more
than one child in the same household, a separate referral form is
not needed for each child, but the referral must state which
children are being referred for a service.
Consent should always be sought for a child
in need referral and for relevant information to be shared.
In most child protection cases, parents
should be informed that a referral is being made and what the
concerns are about the child. However, there are exceptions where
this is not appropriate, namely if to inform the parent / carer
- place the child at increased risk of
- place a member of staff at risk by the response
it may prompt;
- lead to the risk of loss of evidence, for
example, someone destroying evidence of a crime, or
influencing a child about a disclosure issue.
In these situations, referrers should seek
advice from their safeguarding lead or line manager within their
own agency and, if still unsure, consult with Medway Council
Children’s Care. To request a consultation, contact Customer First
using the details at the foot of this page.
How to make a referral
Should you have urgent concerns about the
immediate safety of a child, ring the police or relevant emergency
services on 999.
Members of the public
If you are a member of the public and have a
concern about a child or young person living in Medway, please
contact the council using the details at the foot of this page.
If you are a professional, such as a
health visitor or teacher, and would like to refer a child
living in Medway to social care services; please consider whether
you think the child is at immediate risk or is a child in need.
Child at immediate risk
If you are referring a child at immediate risk you should phone
the number at the foot of this page (the out-of-hours phone number
is 0845 7626777) and either complete the
form or print off a copy of the
referral form (pdf 43KB) and fax the completed form to the
Child in need
If you are referring a child in need, either complete the
form or print off a copy of the
referral form (pdf 43KB) and post or fax the completed form to
the address below.
Where to go for advice if you do not meet the council's
The Family Information Service database (www.medwayfisd.com/kbroker/medway/fis/start.jsp)
is a directory of services in Medway that provide help and advice
for children, young people and their families in a variety of
situations or circumstances. This is a good place to try and find
an organisation that might be able to help you if you think the
council will not be able to help.
For more information about safeguarding children, visit the
Medway Safeguarding Children Board website (www.mscb.org.uk/).
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