Child pathway questions

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The new Children’s referral Pathways have been put in place following feedback from Services Managers within Children’s Services for the local authorities which EEAST serves. It has been highlighted that multiple referral were sent through SPOC and many contain insufficient information to support the reported concerns. In addition to this referral were made where support was being requested for a family and no parental consent had been obtained. 

In light of this information, the new pathways for children were put in place. This is to support referrals for children meeting the right thresholds for Children’s Services and in addition to identifying whether there is a need for support or safeguarding. 

The three pathways are Child in Need (S.17 Child Act 1989), G.P. and Safeguarding (S47 Child Act 1989). For all referrals, the referrer needs to obtain the consent of the parents, carer and/or the child over the age of 13 years. This will support working openly and honestly with patients where safeguarding concerns or the need for support have been identified. Parental consent should be sought for all referrals, however, a lack of consent can be overridden, if there are safeguarding and if to do so would put the child/children at greater risk and a referral should be made.  

The questions in all of the pathway have been devised to support the referrer to focus on the presenting needs of the child, to obtain the child’s voices and provide from observations in the home, from other adult which evidence the abuse/neglect and/or the support required.      

Child in Need (CIN)
is defined as a child/children who would benefit from services of support, which will also include a Young Carer and a child with a disability. Examples of this are:

  • Crew have attended to an address with concern that mother had a panic attack and she has reported that the family are due to be evicted from their home.
  • Crew have attended due to a child with a high temperature, there were concerns for the home environment, a clutter score of 4 and mother appears to be struggling with the care of her 3 children.

In both examples, consent is required from mother before a referral can be made to Children’s Services for support. If there is no consent, then no referral can be taken.     

The G.P. pathway
is used when there are no safeguarding concerns and no consent has been obtained for support under CIN and to share information with the G.P. and to request G.P. support or a visit to the family. Examples of this are:

  • There are concerns about parents smoking cigarettes in the presents of a young child who crew have attended with respiratory difficult.
  • Crew have attended a friend’s address were a young person 13 to 17 years has been found intoxicated; parents have been contacted and/or the young person has been conveyed to hospital.
  • The crew have attended to a child with respiratory difficulty, the home is reported to be damp, mother/parents have spoken with their Housing Officer or Landlord. 

- the categories of abused used for this pathway are as follows:

  • Overdose/Alcohol misuse/ Suicidal/ Mental Health (Parents)
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse/Rape
  • Fabricated Illness
  • Neglect
  • Child Sexual Exploitation/ Child Exploitation
  • Child Trafficking
  • Parent not Protective/  Absent Parent
  • Home Environment (Clutter score 7 plus)
  • Concealed pregnancy
  • Violent extremism and Hate crime

The term Protective Parent or Adult has been included in this pathway and is defined as someone who can care for and meet the needs of a child or children. 

The term ‘loco parentis’ is Latin for "in the place of a parent" refers to the legal responsibility of a person or organisation to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent. An example of ‘loco parentis’ or a protective adult applies to a member of teaching staff. 

An example of a protective parent/ adult and situation is:

  • ECAT receive a referral for crew attend to an incident where a teenage who has taken an overdose, self-harmed, underage drinking or use of illegal drugs, in the home or at another location. The parents are appropriately concerned, accompany the child to hospital, or the parent is on route to hospital to meet the child; in addition to following through with the recommended advice and support if the child is not conveyed. If the parents are not protective, or there are additional safeguarding concerns i.e. child exploitation or child sexual exploitation then this will constitute a safeguarding referral being made to SPOC.

Published 20th February 2020

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