Referral Process for Family Group Conferencing
Northumberland Children's Social Care have commissioned Barnado's to provide 20 Family Group Conferences a year for a two year period starting from 1st November 2017.
These Family Group Conferences will be for families where there is a child aged 0-5 (including unborn children) and it has been identified that the mother has issues in relation to her mental health or substance misuse which impact/will impact on her ability to care for the child. A family group conference can be used where it is identified there is a need to explore how the extended family of the child could provide support and they are willing to engage in the process. The outcome could be that the child remains at home with additional family support going in, that a family member is identified who can care for the child either temporarily or permanently or that both options are ruled out and the process provides enough evidence to demonstrate the need for a different permanency arrangement.
Referrals for this pilot can come from both social work or early help family worker cases but the named worker must continue with their active involvement whilst the Family Group Conference is ongoing.
A Family Group Conference can be considered at an any stage of the child protection or Public Law Outline process but consideration earlier in the process may help with engagement from families and a more timely plan for the child.
To ensure that we maximise the use of these places we have put in place the following referral pathway:
- All referrals to be made using the agreed referral form -please remember to make a copy of the form for your own use - see Barnado's Northumberland FGC Service Referral Form;
- The referral must be agreed with the team manager and senior manager;
- All referrals will be sent to Lynne Maughan, Team Manager. ANY REFERRALS SENT DIRECT TO BARNARDO'S WILL BE RETURNED TO THE WORKER TO FOLLOW THE AGREED PATHWAY;
- Referrals will be screened and any requiring additional information will be returned to the worker to complete fully;
- Referrals to be progressed for a conference will be forwarded securely to Barnado's and the worker informed and contact made with them by the allocated Family Group conference worker;
- Referrals deemed not to be suitable will be returned to the worker with an explanation;
- The social worker/lead professional MUST make themselves available to be in attendance at the conference venue for the duration of the time allocated. They will not be part of the meeting for the whole time so can bring laptop/Chromebook etc to do other work but it is ESSENTIAL that they are available. Ideally it may be useful to have other multi agency professionals who are part of the Core Group/Care Team/Team Around the Family present but this can be discussed with the facilitator.
A returned referral does not mean that another referral cannot be made at a later date if the worker judges that the issues preventing the first referral progressing have changed or been removed.