SHAPING OUR FUTURE TOGETHER

DUDLEY CHILDREN'S SOCIAL CARE

Children's social care services

Sue Butcher

Chief officer – children's services,

Dudley Council

'We want Dudley to be a place where children

are safe and thriving.'

 

Dudley Council has the highest ambitions for our children and young people. Revitalised council leadership arrangements, a cross political and partner improvement programme have accelerated our efforts to support and strengthened the services that we deliver to children and families.

 

Alongside this there is momentum and a strong commitment to building and strengthening  our alliances with partners to improve our collective offer to children and young people. Where strengths are discovered, they will be built upon and where weaknesses are found, they will be challenged and overcome.

 

We are fully supported by our Elected Members and there is a commitment across the partnerships to work holistically with us and to support us.

 

One of our primary focuses has been upon delivering a comprehensive learning and development programme for children’s social care staff. This will  to focus on early help for families and our innovative multi-agency safeguarding hub. This is fundamental to redesigning the support for the child in his/her journey throughout the early stages of their life.  At the core of this early help strategy and working model is a right first time, every time ethos.

 

The service areas

Children’s social care services are provided through four service areas. Social care staff may choose to work in any of these areas.

  • Family solutions

    Family solutions  encompass a broad range of services whose primary function is to support children, young people and families at an early stage so that the escalation of any possible or potential problems can be avoided.  The Early Help Strategy is supported by family solutions services, working to support children from from pre-birth to 18 years (up to 25 years for young people with a learning or physical disability).

  • Assessment, support and protection

    This service is responsible for receiving all new referrals via the MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub). Where the threshold is met single assessments will be undertaken by one of our four assessment teams. We aim to ensure that children to remain in the core of their families wherever possible by using robust children CIN (Child In Need) or child protection plans coordinated by one of our six newly formed POD  teams. Those children who cannot remain safe at home with their parents and require alternative care and court intervention will be supported by our specialist court team.

  • Children in care and placement resources

    This service is responsible for discharging  the council’s corporate parenting duty. It also manages the following services:

     

    CHILDREN IN CARE AND CARE LEAVERS’ SERVICE

    Responsible for those children who have a plan for permanence. These children reside with foster carers, connected persons or in residential placements. For a small number of children there are specific arrangements for them to reside at home with their parents.

     

    CARE LEAVERS TEAM

    The team provides advice, guidance and support to young people leaving care to maximise their life opportunities as they move into independence.

     

    FOSTERING TEAM

    The fostering team is responsible for the recruitment, assessment, support and training of both mainstream and family and friends carers.  In addition, we have a therapeutic, multi-dimensional treatment foster care programme.

     

    ADOPTION TEAM

    Our adoption team is responsible for the assessment of prospective adopters, the family finding, matching and placement of children who need adoption.  The service also provides adoption and special guardianship order support.

     

    CHILDREN’S HOMES

    In Dudley we have five children’s homes which provide residential care to a range of children and young people, including children with disabilities.

     

    LOOKED AFTER AND ADOPTED CHILDREN’S PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE

    This service provides highly specialist psychological support for the borough’s looked after and adopted children, young people, families, carers and other professionals involved in their care.

  • Safeguarding and review service

    The safeguarding and review service is responsible for quality in practice and monitoring effective delivery of services through robust review arrangements of plans for children who are the most vulnerable in Dudley. This includes children from pre birth to care leaver and independence. The service has received additional funding to create some innovative new posts which includes specific roles to  review post 18 pathway plans along with a participation officer (to help us to engage with and fully understand the voice of the child) with  a conference chair for reviewing children in need. The focus of improving quality and practice standards for social work intervention is key to driving the very best outcomes for our children.

This is an exciting time to join the children’s services team in Dudley as the new ‘people’s directorate’ takes shape.  We are looking for people to share their experiences and bring new ideas and energy to the team.