Roles and Responsibilities
Taking a Lead with Families
The Lead Family Worker (LFW) holds a key role within the Early Help Framework and Families First approach, in ensuring a coordinated approach is maintained towards the family and acting as a single point of contact for the family. Evidence shows that when this approach is taken then the workload for front line practitioners reduces. The Lead Family Worker will be appointed and supported by a Lead Agency to ensure that LFW have adequate training and support to deliver the role competently and confidently using and evidence based approach.
It is expected that the LFW should be respected by partner agencies irrespective of their professional background. Partner agencies should share information as requested, keep the Lead Family Worker informed of any developments that are of interest or concern.
The Lead Family Worker can change during the time of family intervention when appropriate as long as there is an agreement through the Early Help Panel. Families must not be left without a lead at the time of an intervention.
Roles and Responsibilities
This document outlines the key roles and responsibilities of the Lead Family Agency and Lead Family Worker within the Early Help Framework.
Effective early help relies upon local agencies working together to:
- Identify children and families who would benefit from early help;
- Undertake an assessment of the need for early help; and
- Provide targeted early help services to address the assessed needs of a child and their family which focuses on activity to significantly improve the outcomes for the child.
Overarching Practice Standards
- The voice of the child is listened to, recorded and impacts on decisions
- The safeguarding and welfare of the child is the focus for all that we do
- The families we work with are treated with respect and honesty and kept informed throughout any intervention
- The strengths of the families as well as concerns will be assessed and used to safeguard any child
- The work with children and their families will be based on the achievement of identified improved outcomes that are measurable
- At all times due regard is taken of all the diverse needs of the child and their family, including race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexuality, religion and communication issues
Once the Early Help panel has agreed which is the most appropriate agency to take the lead, the agency will allocate a lead family worker. The panel members will ensure that all relevant information is passed to the worker. This is to take place within one week of the panel.
Lead Family Worker
The role of the Lead Family Worker is pivotal to the success of the integrated approach. Once they have received notification that they are responsible for co-ordinating the work, they become responsible for the following:
- Contacting the referrer to let them know that the case has been allocated to them and their agency.
- Contacting other agencies who may be involved with the family such as schools.
- Contacting the family to engage them in the process and to gain their written consent
- Managing and progressing cases, ensuring co-ordination and integration of all necessary resources and organisations in order to support children, young people and their families.
- Completion and review of the Family Outcomes Star and plan with the family to improve the wellbeing of the family.
- Working alongside partners across a range of agencies to ensure a co-ordinated approach to delivering supportive interventions.
- Keeping the Families First team updated on the progress of the family
Escalating the case should there be cause for concern, or stagnated progress
- Communicating regularly with other professionals and agencies where appropriate.
My responsibilities as a front line worker with children and families
Referral and Assessment
- I will arrange, wherever possible, to visit the family with the referring agency to discuss the reason for the referral
- I will ensure that I have received consent from the family to sharing information with other agencies in order to support them
- I will inform the child and their family that I am the named worker for them and I have given them details of how to contact me and suitable arrangement will be supplied while I am not at work
- I will clearly explain to the child and their family about my role, the purpose of my involvement and what support and intervention I and my agency can offer.
- I will record the reason for undertaking the assessment of the child and family on the case note database system for my agency, including an overview of the protective factors, risks, issues and concerns evident for the children in the family.
- I will contact relevant agencies involved with the child and family and obtain their views to inform the assessment process.
- I will use appropriate tools including genograms to identify trends, patterns and the family history to understand how this may have impacted upon the life of the child and their family
- I will develop an intervention action plan with the child and their family.
- The plan will focus on the strengths in the family as well as addressing any concerns.
- The plan will include clear outcome measures to show progress.
- I will work closely with the child and their family to ensure that their plan is achieved
- I will see the family regularly in line with the requirements of my agency
- I will review the family progress regularly with them
- I will continue to discuss the child and their family with other relevant agencies through regular reviews
- I will ensure communication with internal colleagues and external agencies is clear, comprehensive, effective and evidenced
- I will refer to statutory agencies in cases where a child may be at risk of significant harm.
- I will work to provide good quality support to families, linking them into other universal or specialist services when appropriate
- I will focus on the family’s functioning, their resilience and will build on their own capabilities to solve problems.
- I will use supervision and team meetings as appropriate to reflect on my feelings about the child’s circumstances, to review the plan and to ensure that I am putting the child first in my considerations
- I will ensure my work is targeted and timely in order to avoid delay and drift.
- I will ensure that the journey of the child is clear in the record
- I will ensure that all records are respectful of the child and their family
- I will be careful in my recording to distinguish between fact and opinion
- I will ensure that I follow the quality standards of my agency in all recording