Partnership Plus (TaF Required)

Description/Criteria

There is evidence of complex needs within a family and that issues are starting to affect the child’s physical, emotional, social and mental wellbeing. A whole family response is required and the needs are such that they require a coordinated multi-agency support plan via a Team around the Family (TaF).

Parents / Carers show a willingness and understanding of the benefits of accessing support, but their own needs are such that they would benefit from a period of targeted intervention to support them to meet their child’s needs and sustain positive change. It is important to remember that sometimes parents/carers will struggle with accepting or engaging with support and their responses can present in different ways:

  • They may give the appearance of co-operating with professionals to avoid confrontation or to please the professional and allay concerns
  • They may openly refuse to engage for instance not permitting access to a child, entry to a home, declining offers of support

In these circumstances it is important to explore the reasons for parents/carers resistance to accepting help. Do they have the capacity to understand what is being offered e.g., are there any language barriers or learning needs? Are they frightened about what might happen e.g., fear of the children being removed or a parent experiencing domestic abuse that fears reprisals if services intervene? Do they have negative previous experience of service involvement? Trauma-Informed Practice approaches should assist professionals in developing an empathetic approach that can result in an increased level of trust and a more open response which in turn increases willingness to engage. Partners are encouraged to retain focus on change in the family/carer system and the impact on the lives and wellbeing of the child as this is a more reliable measure than verbal agreement of parents/carers to engaging with support. 

Assessments at this level is imperative. It enables practitioners to engage with children and families to understand their holistic needs, and identify what support is needed for the presenting issues. A Team around the Family (TaF) plan is necessary to ensure there is a co-ordinated approach to meeting the needs of the child/ren and wider family and should be supplemented by completion of other assessment tools in the SCP Multi-Agency Toolkit.   

Outcomes seen at level (this list is not exhaustive)

Needs of the Unborn, Child, Young Person

  • Delayed in reaching developmental milestones and there is evidence of not being brought to appointments.
  • Severe or chronic health problems where needs are not being consistently managed.
  • Concerns about diet resulting in obesity or faltering growth.
  • Identified learning needs that are not being met and there is evidence of non-engagement with support services such as engagement with speech and language services.
  • Child is at risk of permanent exclusion, breakdown in access to an education setting or there is poor attendance that requires a school attendance plan. This may contribute to the child becoming ‘Not be in education, employment or training (NEET)’ or ‘Electively Home Educated (EHE)’.  
  • Escalating concerns about personal hygiene, appearance or clothing not appropriate to the weather / setting
  • Evidence of regular missed health appointments e.g., Doctor, Dentist, Opticians, Paediatrics, Health Visiting
  • Teenage Pregnancy
  • Child displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour
  • Exposure to problematic substance misuse and / or experimental use of substances by the young person
  • Additional needs or behavioural difficulties that are not being addressed through the support available.
  • Child demonstrates difficulty coping with anger, frustration and upset which portrays itself in dysregulated or distressed behaviour
  • Challenging or disruptive behaviour impacting on daily life, achievements, and relationships.
  • Child experiences discrimination e.g., racial, sexual, or due to disability; resulting in significantly low self-esteem
  • Child has caring responsibilities impacting on daily life, achievements and relationships. The child is a young carer.
  • Episodic self-harming behaviours or self-harming behaviours are increasing in severity or typology.
  • Child has emotional/ behavioural disorder
  • Child exposed to domestic abuse, but the impact and all risks to the child (especially from any ‘hidden males’) have been assessed and one or both parent/s are engaged in behaviour change and have the capacity and motivation to protect the child from harm
  • Young person is not responding to parental boundaries and considered “beyond parental control” e.g., subject of anti-social behaviour order or engaging in criminal activities, serious violence.

Family/Environment Factors

  • Children who are living in households where there is substance misuse but there is capacity and motivation to protect the child from harm.
  • Young Person experiencing abuse within their relationship
  • Disruptive or challenging behaviour by parent towards professionals
  • Some level of risk to or from siblings
  • Isolated from peers or peers involved in behaviours that can place them at risk e.g., going missing, anti-social behaviour, experimenting with substances.
  • There are indicators that the child could be at risk of exploitation e.g., missing, experimenting with substances, found in possession of drugs with intent to supply, associations with under children at risk of exploitation.
  • Family very negative about child’s developing self-identity.
  • Not receiving positive stimulation – lack of new experiences and activities
  • Frequent change of caregiver leads to instability and a lack of focus on the child.
  • Acrimonious or dysfunctional relationships between family members
  • There is no effective support from extended family.
  • Physical accommodation impacts on child’s health and parents/carers are taking no action.
  • The family are at risk of becoming homeless (intentionally or other)
  • Chronic unemployment is severely affecting child and parent/carer’s aspirations and engagement with education and employment.
  • Serious debts or poverty impact on ability to have basic needs met.
  • Family socially excluded or vulnerable in the community. For example, they are experiencing or committing frequent anti-social behaviour or hate crime.
  • There are no support networks within the community.
  • There is indicators of neglect or emotional harm, but parent’s / carers appear to have the capacity and motivation to make necessary changes and maintain this with ongoing support.

Parental Capacity

  • Absence of appropriate guidance or boundaries putting child at risk or child’s behaviour places themselves at risk in other settings
  • Parent/Carer has mental or physical health difficulties that impact on the child’s routine.
  • Parent/Carer has a learning difficulty that impacts on the child’s routine.
  • Parents/Carers expectations are not age or developmentally appropriate.
  • Parent/Carer failing to engage and sustain engagement with services that could assist in meetings child’s needs. Parents/Carers consistently not meeting basic care needs and show some reluctance to change
  • Parent/Carer history impacting on ability to care for child
  • Parent/Carers failure to attend to health needs are impacting on the child or unborn child
  • Parent/Carer is struggling to provide adequate care. No improvement despite provision of adequate early help services provided by a single agency TaF.
  • Child perceived to be a problem by parent
  • Family coming to the attention of agencies due to risk
  • Parent/Carers not acknowledging risk or responding to advice and support.
  • Erratic or inconsistent care leading to a negative impact on child. Parent/Career instability affects capacity to nurture.

N.B. If the Lead Professional is not an allocated Early Help and Prevention Service worker and the TaF becomes ineffective or there is a requirement for more targeted interventions, a referral to the Early Help and Prevention Service (EHP) via a referral to I-ART should be considered.  In the event the Lead Worker is from EHP then the plan should be considered for Step-Up to Children’s Social Care again via a referral to I-ART.

Team Around the Family (TAF)

Early Help and Prevention Service

The Early Help and Prevention Service works to help:

  • children, young people and their families with a range of needs
  • victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse

The team is made up of a variety of staff such as family intervention workers, youth workers, Team Around the Family advisors, independent domestic violence advisors and participation workers. Often our work requires support from a number of partner organisations and sometimes it can be for families who no longer need help from children’s social care.

The team support children, young people and their families when they have a number of issues that are impacting on them. This includes:

  • children, young people and adults affected by domestic abuse;
  • family members with a range of emotional health and wellbeing concerns;
  • young carers;
  • families with housing needs;
  • adults and young adults wanting to return to work or engage in work;
  • working with children and young people with challenging  behaviour;
  • support with parenting concerns;
  • young people who are not attending school or struggling to access training or education;
  • young people involved in risk taking or anti-social behaviour.

The service focuses on three key areas:

Our Early Help and Prevention Teams work in the following districts:

  • Northwich and Winsford
  • Ellesmere Port
  • Chester and Rural

If you have a concern or want to speak to someone for advice please get in touch with your district Early Help and Prevention Team:

Northwich and Winsford:             01244 972908

Ellesmere Port and Neston:        0151 337 4535

Chester and Rural:                      01244 977720

For more information about the Early Help and Prevention Service visit the early help webpages on Cheshire West and Chester Local Authority website or the West Cheshire Local Offer