First Response and Family Solutions
Single Point of Access (SPA) and Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
The Single Point of Access (SPA) for children and families is our front door to early help and statutory social work services. To ensure the right children and young people get the right service, qualified social workers and early help practitioners assess against the threshold criteria, to make timely and proportionate decisions.
We receive information through an online referral form or by phone.
Where more information is needed to make the right decision, we have a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). This includes partners from police, education, health and early help to make the best decision for children. The Probation Service and Housing are also involved to improve information sharing at the front door. Social work managers lead these assessments.
Comprehensive child and family assessments are undertaken by one of our 5 assessment teams.
A team manager leads our assessment teams, with 6 qualified social workers. One of these social workers may be newly qualified. Each of the assessment teams is supported by a family support worker.
We promote joint working. This is to share risk assessment and enable different perspectives on each family, while providing intervention as early as possible during the assessment. With strong links to partners in early help and universal service, the outcome is the right service at the right time.
We offer effective targeted early help to families to promote their wellbeing and resilience. We use a Signs of Safety practice framework.
We work with families and wider partners in the community to create a holistic family plan. The plan will build on the family strengths and support, with areas of worries.
We use an area-based model. This ensures we're closer to the families, communities and partnerships that we support across Medway.
We work together with families for up to 6 months, or where appropriate 9 months. We support families to build on their own resilience and reach positive outcomes. We engage families, both children and parents, with direct work and programmes within family solutions and with wider partners.
We also support partner agencies to be the lead practitioner for a family. This is because families benefit from having the support from someone that knows them and who can support them at the time an issue arises, as this prevents delay and drift.
We embrace the core objectives of the Supporting Families Agenda. We work with both internal council services and partners, to safeguard children and young people at risk (Level 2).
We work closely with the Youth Service to encourage young people to join positive activities and achieve.