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Children's social care services

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Catherine Driscoll 

Director for Children’s Services, Dudley Council

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 provides by our innovative Centre for Professional Practice. 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).

Children and families, safeguarding and support

This services covers the authority’s out of hours service (Emergency Duty Team for adults and children) and our Front Door through our Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) 


For children in need, in need of protection or in need of becoming looked after we work directly alongside families through our Assessment Service and our Care Management teams.


Our service includes a dedicated Court Team, which covers most but not all of our family court work.  We also lead for exploitation across the Authority through D.Ex Hub, our exploitation team which includes dedicated social workers and works closely with partners,  including our colleagues focussed on Prevent and Radicalisation.


Where children are unable to remain at home and where alternative permanency arrangements are best for the child, our partners in Adoption @ Heart (our regional adoption agency) work hand in hand with us finding families and supporting the move.

Children in care and placement


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



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.



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



The fostering team is responsible for the recruitment, assessment, support and training of both mainstream and family and friends carers.  



Our adoption team works closely with the regional adoption agency (RAA) Adoption@ Heart, to match and place children with a plan of adoption.  The service also provides adoption and special guardianship order support.



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



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

Safeguarding & review service

The Safeguarding, Practice and Quality Assurance Service is responsible for the quality assurance and safeguarding arrangements for children in Dudley.  Within the Service there are the following service areas:



The Team consists of Independent Reviewing Officers, Child Protection Conference Chairs, Foster Home Reviewing Officers and the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) function. 


Independent Reviewing Officers are allocated to children who are in care, with the responsibility for Chairing the Child in Care Reviews, scrutinising and ratifying the Care Plan, supporting children and young people to participate in their Reviews, alongside providing quality assurance of the Local Authority’s Care Plan and support provided to the child. 


Child protection Conference Chairs are independent chairs of multi-agency Child Protection Conferences with the responsibility to facilitate and co-ordinate initial and review Conferences to ensure there is a multi-agency plan that will reduce the risks to the child. 

Foster Home Reviewing Officers chair annual reviews of the Local Authority Foster Carers to ensure all statutory requirements are being adhered to within placements, and support and training needs are reviewed for the Carers.  


The LADO is responsible for advising on and managing allegations against people who work with children in a voluntary or paid employment; where necessary the LADO will chair Position of Trust meetings to coordinate any investigation.



The Team consists of a Service Manager and 4 Advanced Social Work Practitioners who support the Principal Social Work function.  CPP is supported by a Business Support Officer and an Apprentice. 


The Team are responsible for managing the audit and quality assurance processes within Children’s Services and coordinating the training and development needs of practitioners within Children’s Services.  The Team manage the Student Social Work placements and the Assisted First Year in Social Work processes. 



The Team consists of a Safeguarding In Education Lead and a Safeguarding in Education Trainer who are responsible for the compliance and development of schools’ safeguarding arrangements, legislative requirements/statutory duties, policies, procedures and training, ensuring they are implemented in schools so children/young people are safe and protected from harm



 The Business Manager and Team coordinate the partnership arrangements to reflect both our legal responsibilities to comply with the Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) statutory framework and also our shared ambition and commitment as the three statutory partners to helping the most vulnerable people in Dudley across the whole life course.

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