Children's Wellbeing is split into three areas – safeguarding and family support, commission and education, development and skills. Our senior leadership team ensures that the directorate works as a single team determined to improve the outcomes for Herefordshire's children and young people. We work closely with a range of partners in the voluntary, public and private sector, to develop our shared approaches. We have a range of social work teams that work together to ensure that we offer children and young people an excellent, seamless service. Our teams are:
The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
Herefordshire's MASH is a partnership between Herefordshire's main statutory agencies, working together to safeguard children and young people. The MASH acts as the first point of contact, receiving new safeguarding concerns or enquiries and collating information from different agencies to build up a holistic picture of the circumstances of a case. The team's work, which includes our first assessments of young people, is guided by our local safeguarding children board's threshold of need document.
Children in need (CIN)
Our four CIN teams work in pairs, divided into north and south localities. These teams are responsible for our child protection interventions and our Section 17 services. They also work with looked-after children in the early days after they have been placed in accommodation.
Looked-after children (LAC)
We have one LAC team that provides a high quality service to children who are unable to live at home. We have children placed with foster carers, family and friend carers or residential homes. We are committed to working in partnership with colleagues to ensure the best outcomes for our children and their views shape the way in which we work and the services we provide.
The 16+ team work with young people aged between 16 and 21 years of age, or 25 if they go on to higher education. Some of our young people will be looked after and many will be supported as care leavers. The team is also developing services for young people at risk of homelessness. For those that have left care, we continue to offer advice, information and assistance to enable them to live independently and assist them into education, training and employment. The team includes social workers and personal advisors.
Children with disability (CWD)
The CWD team assesses the care needs of children, young people and their families/carers where a child has significant and enduring disabilities and/or health needs. The service ensures that young people's needs are assessed, planned for and reviewed, bringing together the multi-agency teams around the children and young people on a regular basis. The service also identifies and manages the provision of respite services to young people and their families, where assessed as appropriate. We are reviewing our current provision to make sure that we meet the challenge of the SEND reforms.
Herefordshire's two fostering teams recruit, train, assess and approve foster carers and family and friends carers. Placement support is a real strength across our fostering services, as we strive to achieve permanence and the very best outcomes for children in our care. We ensure that all of carers receive the support that they need.
Our adoption team has been acknowledged by Ofsted as providing a 'Good' service. We are proud of our work and want to build on this as we address the new national challenges.
We have a number of family support workers who work together in teams to support our social work teams as well as our early help offer.
Safeguarding and review team
This team chairs looked after children reviews and child protection conferences as well as supporting our quality assurance framework. They work in close partnership with our quality assurance managers to ensure we improve the services we offer.
As an organisation we are committed to continuous improvement. We have clear plans for how we will improve the way we work from universal services to working with those in more need. This includes an improvement plan based on feedback from external reviews, the views of management but also from those working more closely with children, young people and families.
Social Work Academy
The Herefordshire Social Work Academy has a key role in overseeing the training and development of newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) in respect of the Assessed & Supported Year of Employment (ASYE), and through years 2 and 3 of their post qualification. As a member of the Academy, each NQSW has an assessor and learning mentor, a bespoke training and development programme and individual plans to support their practice, and enable their career progression. Over the past three years we have actively taken on 26 NQSWs in an attempt to grow our own dedicated social workers to move through and gain experience in all the teams in Herefordshire. Once they complete the ASYE they move into permanent posts.