Childrens social care safeguarding service
We are committed to providing consistently good services to children, young people and their families in Lewisham. We use the Signs of Safety approach to our work, which is about parents, carers, children and their the people they trust in their network working together so that their children can be safe and well.
Our service is made up of different teams with specific functions that support children and young people.
The Assessment Team's purpose is to gather information and to analyse the needs of the child or children and their family and the nature and level of any risk of harm to the child or children.
We will make sure children, young people, parents, carers and others are clear about why we are involved, what needs to change and what we are doing to help. Our vision for children, young people and their families is: Families will tell us they understand why we are involved, the reasons for our decisions and the actions we take.
Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
The MASH is a single point of access to advice, information and support services for professionals working with vulnerable and at-risk children and young people. The MASH provides a secure environment for services to share information and improve decision-making whenever there are concerns for a child.
Children in need
The children in need service provides child protection and family support services to children and families where there is a risk of significant harm or of family breakdown.
We will always make sure we spend enough time with the child/young person so we understand their experiences and what is important to them. Our vision for children and young people in need and/or at risk is that they will tell us their social worker spent time getting to know them and has made a difference to their lives.
Child Protection Plans and Conferences
A Child Protection Conference is a meeting where the family and professionals meet to share information and discuss concerns about a child or young person because they have either been subject to some form of harm or abuse, or are at risk of it.
Through building trust and relationships, families will be helped to find their own solutions and become more resilient. We will always recognise the importance of the child and young person’s network and strengthen support for families to stay together wherever it is safe to do so.
Our vision for children and young people in need and/or at risk is that families are respected and supported to stay together whenever there is enough safety.
Family Court Proceedings
We can start ‘care proceedings’ if we are very worried about a child. You can find more about care proceedings on the governments website.
Meliot Family Centre
This is a specialist provision that offers a wide range of services including family assessment, family support and a contact service. Staff at the centre are trained in delivering a range of interventions to help facilitate change for families. In addition, Senior Social Workers at the centre work with families and the courts to undertake parenting assessments and provide expert testimony in care proceedings linked to this work.
Integrated Adolescent Safeguarding Service
A multi-disciplinary team that includes Youth Justice and Safe Space social work teams. Works with young people to provide early prevention support for adolescents at risk of extra familial harm.
The Youth Justice service works with children and young people aged between 10 and 17 focusing on supporting children who come to the notice of the criminal justice system by:
- facilitating intervention which responds to statutory Orders such as a Referral Order, providing long-term and high-end interventions
- early preventative measures seeking to prevent young people from the risk of offending and looking at a range of diversions to deter them away from criminality
- a therapeutic hub delivering on a unique family therapy offer to those at risk of or involved in offending, Child Adolescent and Mental Health Service (CAMHS), speech and language (additional needs), and community engagement and diversion
The Safe Space teams support young people aged 11 to 17 who are at risk of harm from factors outside of their family home. This does not mean that there are no concerns about the parenting or care a young person is receiving at home, however, this will not be the primary concern. The core function of Safe Space Service is to carry out s17 (Child in Need) and s47 (Child Protection) assessments for young people where the primary presenting concern is extra familial harm. For example, Child Sexual Exploitation, Child Criminal Exploitation, Serious Youth Violence, Harmful Sexual Behaviour, gang affected young people, Radicalisation, concerning patterns of missing episodes and Youth Homelessness.