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6.5 Protocol with Health Visiting and School Health

LONDON CHILD PROTECTION PROCEDURES

If there are child protection concerns please see London Child Protection Procedures, Child Protection s47 Enquiries


Contents

  1. Introduction           
  2. When and How to Make a Referral
  3. What Happens to the Referral
  4. Agency Checks
  5. Single Assessment
  6. Role of the Health Visitor
  7. Role of the School Nurse
  8. Further Action


1. Introduction

This protocol aims to clarify the responsibilities of district social workers, health visitors and school nurses when either a Single Assessment is commenced.

In relation to these guidelines, it needs to be remembered that procedures governing Child Protection Enquiries are set out in the London Child Protection Procedures, Child Protection s47 Enquiries


2. When and How to Make a Referral

The Health Visitor or School Nurse will have made a professional assessment of the situation before making a referral to Specialist Children’s Services and Safeguarding, except in situations requiring immediate action to protect a child. An urgent referral can be made by telephone. The referral will be made using the Inter-Agency Referral Record. Confirmation of the referral should be followed up by sending the referral on the Inter Agency Referral Record to the relevant District Assessment Team. 

It is expected that the health professional will have obtained the written consent from the parents before making the referral. 

If parents, for whatever reason, are not informed, this needs to be clearly stated. Where a referral has been made, the assessing Social Worker will contact the Health Visitor or School Nurse to discuss the referral.

In some cases joint visits will be arranged in line with good practice and the timescales required for Single Assessment. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and made in discussion with the social worker and the health professional concerned.


3. What Happens to the Referral

All referrals will be responded to within 24 hours and a decision made as to further intervention. If Specialist Children’s Services and Safeguarding decide to take no further action, the referrer will be informed of the reasons. If a decision is made to intervene, an Single Assessment will take place and a social worker will be allocated who will liaise with the person making the referral.

When the Single Assessment is completed the referrer will be informed of the outcome and any decisions as to future intervention regarding that child and family. The Single Assessment is to be completed in 7 working days.


4. Agency Checks

Where a referral comes to Specialist Children’s Services and Safeguarding from another source, the duty social worker is likely to contact the Health Visitor or School Nurse to check whether there are known concerns about the child.


5. Single Assessment

There are times when Health Visitors and School Nurses will be involved in the Single Assessment process these are:

  • To attend a meeting to set out the scope and focus and timescales of the assessment, if required.
  • As a contributor to the assessment process in the form of direct work with the family or the provision of information.
  • In making available their professional judgement during the formulation of the Child in Need Plan that will co-ordinate ongoing work at the end of the assessment stage.
  • As a provider or facilitator of services to be offered as part of the assessment or the final plan.
  • When a Single Assessment is completed the referrer and others involved in the assessment will be informed of the outcome and further intervention outlined if identified.


6. Role of the Health Visitor

The Health Visitor is a continuing presence in the life of a family with children aged under 5. Where there are concerns about the child, the Health Visitor has an important role in monitoring the situation and contributing to the formulation of plans to meet the needs of the child and family.

The Health Visitor is therefore a source of information on all aspects of a child’s well being. Their role in the community involves visiting family homes and assessing the health needs of family members. They are usually aware of family relationships and patterns of care.

The Health Visitor’s assessment will include the child’s developmental progress, the quality and style of parenting available to the child and information concerning the home circumstances. 

When a Single Assessment is identified as necessary, Health Visitors will be asked to contribute to the key dimensions outlined in the Assessment Framework


7. Role of the School Nurse

The School Nurse is the professional best able to report on the health of the school child and to monitor progress. Although, the School Nurse does not usually visit the home, given her or his position in the school, she is often aware of aspects of a child’s school life that will enhance the health contribution to the assessment process.

The School Nurse has an important role in identifying difficulties, monitoring particular children and offering continuity beyond the assessment period. The School Nurse may also offer support and counselling to individual children although there needs to be clarity with the young person about the limits of confidentiality.


8. Further Action

The establishment of bi-monthly Health Visiting/School Nurse meetings with front line Social Work Managers, will support these guidelines and promote inter - agency working. 

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