Greenwich Council

Agenda item.

In-Depth Scrutiny - Preventative Approaches to Bringing Children into Care

The Panel is asked to note the analysis of the impact of early help and statutory child in need including child protection interventions on diverting children from becoming looked after children.

 

Note the areas for further enquiry and analysis and endorse the proposed actions to progress the in-depth scrutiny exercise.

 

Note that a report on the impact of the placement strategy will be presented to the Scrutiny Panel.

Minutes:

The report was presented by the Senior Assistant Director who explained that most children who became looked after children had received or were receiving children’s social care services at the point at which they became looked after. The Council’s early arrangements were based on purposeful voluntary engagement and intervention with children and their families. Intervention as early as possible paid off, early in the life of a child and early in the life of a problem.

 

He highlighted that children aged 10-13 were less likely to receive help than any other age band and that this was a critical time where the adverse impact of poor parenting on children’s behaviour starts to become entrenched. He described how early help and intervention across the borough had helped achieve sustained change.

 

He said that an Early Help Deep Dive took place in Central Area Central A in November 2016. The analysis found that only 1 in 71 children who received targeted early help went on to have a child protection plan and only 1 in 166 children went on to be looked after in this area. Performance was better than borough performance with 1 in 38 children in Central A under a child protection plan compared to borough of 1 in 31, and 1 in 38 became looked after children compared to 1 in 30.

 

He continued that the Children in Need rate per 10,000 children was 650.3 and this was lower than both the London average (690.4) and the National average (667.1) and that 10% of these children were disabled. The Royal Borough of Greenwich was middle ranking in terms of children becoming Children in Need. Child abuse or neglect accounted for nearly half of all these children.

 

The Senior Assistant Director detailed that the areas for further enquiry and analysis were; case analysis of the Early Help Tracking Meeting and referrals identified via MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) which were early help related; the findings of the Early Help Deep Dive needed to be reviewed and the practices replicated more widely; further research on preventing child protection intervention; targeted early help for 10-13 year olds; track back the pathway into care for children who had become looked after within the last six months and whether any early intervention had been received and utilising data capability to ensure the right children were getting early help and that a proactive approach was in place.

 

The Panel queried if GPs were able to make referrals to MASH regarding early intervention, to which the Senior Assistant Director replied that yes, they were very keen to be involved in making referrals.

 

The Panel asked for an explanation of the coordination between services, for example the Troubled Families Programme and Families First. The Senior Assistant Director stated that early help is consent based and that there was an established process which checked who the different teams were coordinating with. There had been a large improvement in the last two years in collating data. Families First was an important part of the offer and provided intensive intervention.

 

The Panel requested that future reports should show actual numbers as well as percentage data.

Action: Senior Assistant Director

 

7:10pm Councillor Merrill joined the meeting.

 

Resolved:

 

1.     That the Panel noted the analysis of the impact of early help and statutory child in need including child protection interventions on diverting children from becoming looked after children.

 

2.     That the Panel noted the areas for further enquiry and analysis and endorsed the proposed actions to progress the in-depth scrutiny exercise.

 

3.     That the Panel noted that a report on the impact of the placement strategy would be presented to a future meeting.

Supporting documents: