CHILDREN FIRST AND AT THE HEART OF ALL WE DO
DUDLEY CHILDREN'S SOCIAL CARE
Children's social care services
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 encompasses a broad range of services including:
Family Centres (including Family Support, Supporting Families, Family Hubs and Start for Life), Youth Justice Service, Connexions, Youth Service, Integrated Early Years, Parenting, SENDIASS, Education Psychology, Family Group Conferencing and Child Friendly Dudley.
The primary function of Family Solutions is the delivery of Early Help in Dudley. This aims to support children, young people and families at an early stage so that the escalation of any possible or potential problems can be avoided. We have made excellent progress over the last three years in delivering a robust Early Help Offer which is built around a solid foundation of five family centres that act as local, community-based hubs that serve to coordinate the effective and timely delivery of Early Help support in Dudley. The Early Help Strategy 2021-2024 will build on these successes with an even stronger emphasis on building family resilience and enabling a more “self-serve” approach which families had told us that they want.
Although there are many specialisms that make up Family Solutions, the team share a common goal of being able to offer the right support at the right time for all families that require help in Dudley. Our teamwork is second to none and partnership working is our forte. As a team we are constantly evolving and we are about to embark on a new phase of our journey. We have recently been working closely with the Early Intervention Foundation through the Early Years Transformation Academy to develop our approach to children’s first 1001 days and have a newly formed Integrated Early Years team to support in driving this work forward.
Family Solutions is also leading on the development of the Child Friendly Dudley agenda and have clear aspirations of making Dudley a “Child Friendly” Borough where every child has the right to grow up in an environment where they feel safe to play, learn and grow. A place where they have access to public services and where their voice is heard and matters.
Children and families, safeguarding and support
Dudley Children’s Front Door is a multi-agency team of staff providing a single point of contact for professionals and members of the public requesting support or raising concerns about a child. Our Front Door Advisors and Social Workers use restorative principals to understand concerns and explore what help has already been provided to children and families. Understanding the experiences of parents and carers helps us to understand which services will help to meet their needs and by working closely with our partners across Dudley, we strive to ensure that children and families receive the right kind of help at the right time. The Children’s Front Door achieves this by providing information and advice or signposting families to our Early Help services. Children will be transferred to a social worker when the concerns are about a child being at risk.
For children in need of support, or in need of protection or in need of becoming looked after we work directly alongside families through our Assessment Service and our Safeguarding and Support Service.
The Safeguarding and Support teams support children and their families through a range care plans in accordance with their specific needs and safeguarding concerns. Court work is spread across teams. We also lead for exploitation across the Authority through Dudley Exploitation Hub, which is our exploitation team which includes dedicated social workers working closely with partners, including our colleagues who lead on Prevent and Radicalisation.
Families Come First is Dudley’s edge of care multi-disciplinary team, supporting children to remain safely at home.
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.
If you enjoy working in multi-agency and muti-disciplinary children’s social care settings, Dudley’s Safeguarding and Support Team is the place to thrive in the pursuit of outstanding children’s social work. We work closely key partner agencies such as the police, domestic abuse specialist, substances misuse worker, Youth Worker and Money Mentor. Join Dudley’s children social care now.
Children in care and placement
This service is responsible for discharging the council’s corporate parenting duty. It also manages the following services:
CHILDREN IN CARE AND CARE LEAVERS’ SERVICE
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.
CARE LEAVERS TEAM
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.
LOOKED AFTER & ADOPTED CHILDREN’S PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE
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.
Children with disabilities
The Children with Disabilities Team supports children and young people, aged from birth to 18 with,
severe and profound learning disabilities
physical and sensory disabilities
a combination of disabilities.
Understanding an individual’s needs is the first step to getting the right decision about the care and support a child and their family may need. Members of the Children with Disabilities Team work with an extensive range of specialist partners and a child’s personal network to understand the child’s needs and the support required to meet these needs. We will talk to the child and their family about their situation and find out what they are worried about or what changes they would like to make in their life.
After the assessment, we'll agree what kind of care and support a child and their family needs. This could include:
services that can offer you or your child support
local support groups so you have people to talk to
short breaks, including specialised social activities, play schemes and overnight residential short breaks.
If a child is in receipt of services following an assessment, this will be managed via a child in need plan, child protection plan or a child in care plan. Working in the CDT Team means you will develop skills across the breadth of statutory social work.
If we can't offer any support because the assessment shows a child is not eligible for our specialist disability services, we will tell families about other organisations that could help.
We promote and maximise opportunities for young people to be as independent as possible and to be part of local communities. This is achieved via a range of appropriate pathways that support individuals to have choice, control and to achieve their individual aspirations. Our goal is to promote independence and choice for children with disabilities.
As part of the Children with Disabilities team workforce you will work closely with our community partners to develop our existing Dudley SEN Local Offer. Our aim is to embed co-production into every aspect of the work we do, whether this is writing an individual plan for a child using their words, or commissioning resources in partnership with our Parent Carer Forum or community partners.
Our team has a range of social work level roles and an opportunity to develop a specialist skill set and build longer term relationships with the children and families we work with.
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:
SAFEGUARDING AND REVIEW
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.
CENTRE FOR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
The Team consists of a Service Manager, 2 Team Managers and 4 Advanced Social Work Practitioners who support the Principal Social Work function. CPP is supported by a Business Support Officer and a 2 Apprentices.
The Team are responsible for managing the audit and quality assurance processes and driving implementation of the Practice Framework within Children’s Services. The Service coordinates the training and development needs of practitioners within Children’s Services. The Team manage Student Social Work placements and the Assessed and Supported First Year in Social Work arrangements.
SAFEGUARDING IN EDUCATION
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.
DUDLEY SAFEGUARDING PEOPLE PARTNERSHIP
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.