Universal Plus (TaF Recommended)
Children, young people and their families with emerging vulnerabilities whose needs would benefit from further assessment and support. Assessment could be conducted by a single agency e.g. CAMHS, Speech and Language, etc or through contributing to a multi-agency assessment such as a Team around the Family (TaF) or other assessment tool in the SCP Multi-Agency Toolkit.
Parents / Carers show a willingness and understanding of the benefits of accessing support as they cannot meet their child’s needs without some help. 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 important. It enables practitioners to engage with children and families to understand their holistic needs, and if support is needed for the presenting issue or broader needs. When more than one service needs to be involved to meet emerging needs then co-ordination via a Team around the Family Plan is encouraged. A proactive response to emerging needs at this stage can prevent problems accelerating, improve outcomes for children and avoid the need for longer periods of involvement in a family’s life further up the Continuum in future.
Team Around the Family (TAF)
Outcomes seen at this level (this list is not exhaustive)
Needs of the Unborn, Child, Young Person