Threshold for a Service from the Disabled Children's Team
For the purpose of meeting the threshold for a service from the Disabled Children's Team (DCT), the DCT use a broad and inclusive definition of disability as possible.
A child with a disability will be defined as having a permanent severe / profound learning and / or physical disability and / or profound sensory impairment.
The child will have one of the following:
- Neurodisability (i.e. Cerebral palsy, physical disability, genetic conditions and syndromes);
- Neurodevelopmental disorders (i.e. ASD, Severe developmental delay - unknown origin);
- Profound and multiple disabilities;
- Severe sensory impairment (blind or deaf).
Where the child has a degenerative illness or complex and severe health problems, Health Service practitioners will lead on the planning for the child; however if they require a service from Children's Social Care, this should be from the DCT.
Consideration is given in all circumstances to assess whether a child and their family could benefit from the services of the Disabled Children's Team.
This means that referrals for the following would not be appropriate for the DCT.
- Children who have a behavioural difficulty unless there is a diagnosis of a disability;
- Children who have mental health issues unless they have a permanent disability.
DCT would not take responsibility nor transfer responsibility for children who are in the process of care / court proceedings until the matter is concluded. The DCT will however provide consultancy, advice and support with care planning as required in such cases.
2. Together We Protect Children
Please refer to the threshold guidance produced by the LSCP (see LSCP Procedures) with specific reference to the high threshold, threshold 4 (see The Four Levels of Needs, Threshold Document (LSCP Procedures)) which is to target services to vulnerable children with acute or highly complex needs.
3. The Role of the Team
The Disabled Children's Team believe strongly that every disabled child has the same human rights to be safe from abuse and neglect, to be protected from harm and achieve the Every Child Matters (key) outcomes as non-Disabled children.
The Disabled Children's Team are working to maximise the life opportunities and participation of disabled children and to give disabled children the opportunity to lead lives which ensure that they reach their potential in terms of the five Every child matters outcomes.
The Disabled Children's team achieves the above by:
- Providing a range of training programmes on safeguarding disabled children;
- Delivering early multi-disciplinary intervention and a single point of referral based on the Early Help Assessment - the Early Support strategy which incorporates a weekly multi-disciplinary panel (Integrated Additional Services Panel) to discuss referrals of Disabled children, (these may be children who are new to the borough or have a newly acquired disability), and other known children who may require a children centre place, an assessment of their special educational needs, allocation of an Early support worker / key worker and / or a short break / Personal Budget. The referrals for targeted and specialist services are considered within the agreed Access framework for short breaks (see Appendix 1: Early Help Assessment (Guidance) and Appendix 2: Short Breaks Personal Budget Banding System);
- Alongside this is the fortnightly practitioners meeting which includes all therapists from the Child Development Centre, Early Support key workers and Early Years Inclusion Team. The key worker is allocated at this meeting and the team around the child meetings co-ordinated;
- Prioritising a Team Manager's presence at every multi-disciplinary meeting held at the seven in Borough Special Schools, resource bases and Haringey's Sixth Form college;
- The Disabled Children's Policy and Practice Review Group, which is a multi-agency meeting which reports to the LSCP. The group meets every term and which represents the safeguarding issues of Disabled children to the LSCP;
- Working closely with Haringey Involve Parents / carer's forum and other parent participation initiatives to ensure families are informed and involved in determining policy and provision for children and young people with disabilities;
- Ensuring that staff are well supervised, have regular generic and disabled child specific training;
- Ensuring that children and young people are given every opportunity to express their views including having their communication profile and aids available and with particular emphasis on communicating safeguarding concerns. Social workers in DCT have access to communication packs to support their communication with Disabled children;
- Ensuring that protection and care plans take account of their Statement of Special educational needs / Education, Health and Care Plans and subsequent reviews;
- Ensuring that early transition arrangements are in place for young Disabled adults (see Transition Policy).
4. Good Practice Expectations
- When the SPA receive a contact where there is a child who is Disabled in the family, the Manager will have a discussion with the Duty Manager in the DCT before making a referral to DCT;
- When the DCT Manager does not have sufficient information to make a decision as to whether a child meets the criteria for a service from the DCT, the referring manager can email IASP@haringey.gov.uk in order to refer the matter to the weekly multi-agency panel for decision unless there were safeguarding issues;
- Where there are Child Protection (CP) issues regarding a Disabled child who meets the threshold for a service, the DCT will initiate the Child Protection process;
- Where there are CP issues relating to a non-Disabled child/ren but there is also a Disabled child, not known to the DCT, in the family, the Assessment service will initiate the CP process;
- Where possible in the circumstances above, especially where there are large non-Disabled sibling groups, joint visiting would be arranged between teams to the family;
- The DCT will work with siblings of the Disabled child if this would support the outcomes for the children whilst ensuring that the work with the Disabled child does not become minimised. If there are issues relating to the non-Disabled children that do not relate to the Disabled child, the children will be referred to Assessment service, the Early Help Service or jointly between teams;
- DCT have full access to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) (see Contacts and Referrals - Haringey SPA and MASH Operating Protocols) subject to the request meeting the MASH threshold. In the circumstances where the child is not known or little is known to DCT and there are child protection concerns that need further investigation, the responsible DCT Manager will in the first instance discuss the child with the MASH Manager who will forward the referral to the MASH team if appropriate. The DCT Social worker will attend the MASH meeting to gather the intelligence and discuss the relevance;
- DCT may attend the Transfer meetings that are co-ordinated in order to agree transfers to and from DCT;
The usual transfer process is for the Team Manager from the transferring team to contact the appropriate Team Manager in the receiving team, to arrange a face-face handover meeting including the Social Workers which will detail the handover plan. This will ordinarily involve a joint visit between the transferring and receiving team's Social workers to the family.