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YOUNG CARERS SCRUTINY TOPIC GROUP                                               4 (c)


Report of the Director of Children, Schools & Families

 Report Author:                              Kathy Amos

 Short description of report content

  The main aim of this report is to inform the Scrutiny Board of the way in which
 Young Carers Professional Assistants are involved with the Targeted Advice
 Service (TAS) and Early Intervention. The report provides an insight into how
 young carers are identified through contacts and referrals received by the
 Targeted Advice Service.

1. Background

1.1     In July 2009, the ‘Right Response’ project was set up to change how we
        respond to contacts and referrals. Statistical evidence showed that
        Hertfordshire’s social care referral rates were particularly high and indicated
        that some referrals were not meeting the threshold for this service. Further
        research showed the need for practitioners to consider the use of the
        Common Assessment Framework approach, where a multi agency service
        could provide support via Team around the Child/Family meetings.

1.2     In January 2010, a new threshold document was launched (Meeting the
        Needs of Children & Families in Hertfordshire). This is aimed at helping
        practitioners to better understand when a specialist service (such as social
        care) is required to assess a family’s needs and when a Common
        Assessment or Universal services approach is more appropriate and
        effective in meeting the needs of the family.

1.3     The new arrangements for handling contacts and referrals included the
        disbanding of Client Services and by increasing the functions at the
        Customer Service Centre. In addition a new team was established
        (Targeted Advice Service) to deal with those referrals where the threshold
        for social care has not been met. These arrangements were put in place on
        the 24th February 2010.
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1.4     The Targeted Advice Service (TAS) is an interim multi-agency team which
        deals with those contacts where they are not meeting the threshold for
        social care. The Customer Service Centre take the initial calls then pass to
        the TAS team. The TAS Duty Manager makes a decision on the contact as
        to its priority and what needs to happen next. Contacts are then allocated to
        the Children’s Information and Advice Officers (CIAOs), Young Carers
        Professional Assistants (PAs) or to multi-agency members of the team.

2. Remodelling Support to Young Carers

2.1     Remodelling the Young Carers’ service has been an outcome of the new
        arrangements in handling contacts and referrals. It is estimated that 8,000
        young people in Hertfordshire under the age of 18 years have a caring role.
        In order to appropriately support these young people it is essential that we
        ensure mainstream services are identifying young carers and that all
        Children’s Services work to meet young carers’ needs. Schools in particular
        play a key role in identifying young carers.

2.2     Until February 2010 Young Carers PA’s were based in Assessment Teams.
        Whilst their work in these teams was valued, there were indications that they
        were working predominantly with families, where the young carer undertook
        inappropriate levels of caring, where some safeguarding concerns. It was
        felt that relocating the PA’s into the TAS team would allow them to move
        towards more early intervention and targeted work, which in turn would
        provide greater opportunity to reach more young carers and preventing an
        escalation of their needs.

2.3     As part of their relocation to the TAS team, the PA’s attended Integrated
        Practice training which includes the ‘Common Assessment Framework’,
        ‘Team around the Child/Family’ and ‘Information Sharing’.

2.4     PA’s attend ‘Team around the Child/Family’ meetings and where the need
        for their support is identified, they will work with the young carer either by
        allocating grant funding (to provide an opportunity for the young carer to
        have a break from his or her caring role) or liaising with adult care services
        to alleviate some of the caring responsibility.

2.5     It is self evident that young carers continue in their caring role over many
        years. It is therefore important that they can access support from staff that
        are familiar with the young carer’s situation for them to avoid having to tell
        their story repeatedly.    Practice therefore has been restructured to allow
        the young carer to renew contact with a named worker, already familiar with
        their circumstances who can take up the work from that point without the
        need to carry out yet another assessment.

3. Early Intervention

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     3.1        Mainstream services referring a young carer for social care intervention,
                may find that the information given indicates that the young person requires
                targeted rather than specialist intervention. The TAS team may suggest to
                the referrer that a Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is undertaken
                and that the PA is invited to the Team Around the Child/Family meeting. The
                common assessment process ensures that a multi agency approach is put
                in place to support the young carer and where appropriate the family. This
                will strengthen links between adult services (where they are working with a
                parent) and children’s services, to provide support and additional resources
                to ensure that the young person’s caring does not escalate to a level
                requiring children’s social care intervention.

     3.2         From the table below it is clear that since relocating to the TAS team more
                young carers are being identified. Referrals coming through to the team,
                where it is clearly evidenced that there is a young person carrying out a
                caring role, are allocated directly to the Professional Assistant for the
                relevant district. The average number of young carer referrals to Targeted
                Advice Service is currently 13 per month. In some cases the young person
                may not require the services of the Professional Assistant, as they are a
                secondary carer rather than the primary carer. In such cases, the family will
                be contacted and signposted to a local young carers group.

                                 Referrals to CSF Assessment Team 1st Oct – 31st Dec 2009





Number of Referrals





                           YOT     Pupil    Schools    GP      Carers in CSF internal   Parents   Anonymous   MH ACS
                                  Support                       Herts
                                                            Referral Source

     3.3        Being based in the TAS team, the Young Carer PA’s are now given the
                opportunity to follow up referrals where the referrer considers a number of
                indicators as linking the young person to carrying out a caring role. For

     29b84ab0-9669-46c9-96f9-7fbd1d3a06a5.doc                                                                          3
                     Persistent lateness and absence
                     Problems completing homework
                     Behavioural issues
                     Bullied
                     Isolation from peers

3.4     The PA will speak to the school, school nurse, parents, adult care services
        (where appropriate) and if the conversations do indicate that the young
        person is starting to take on a caring role, or their caring role has begun to
        increase, the PA will arrange to visit the young person and family. Speaking
        to the family at this stage may only require the PA to intervene for a short
        period of time. This could include helping the family to understand the
        impact that the caring role has on the young person, speaking to adult care
        services to discuss ways in which their service can change the care
        package to alleviate some of the caring role.

4. Key Issues

4.1     Staffing levels - Three FTE workers are funded from Carers Grant, a further
        FTE post is funded through CSF Assessment Team.

        2 x 2.5 workers in post
        1 full time worker in post
        1 full time post vacant
        1 full time post frozen

4.2     Uncertainty of funding – As with many services, there is ongoing uncertainty
        around funding streams to support this young carer’s service.

5. Future developments

5.1     The Target Advice Service was established as an interim measure, until
        local multi-agency, integrated support teams are developed and established.
        Once the new teams have been confirmed, a decision will be made on how
        the young carers’ professional assistants will work within the new teams.

5.2     Evidence from their time in the TAS team already indicates that there is
        scope for extending their role, to expand their ‘Think family’ approach via
        strengthened partnership working with adult care services.

5.3   The PA’s role could also include undertaking a Common Assessment for
      families where there is a likelihood of siblings becoming young carers, due
      to a parent’s medical, mental health or drug and alcohol misuse.
6. Recommendations

6.1     It is crucial that young carers are seen as children and young people first
        and that their contribution within the family is recognised. Whenever young
        carers are referred into Children Schools and Families, we need to ensure

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        that their caring role is identified, understood and their needs addressed.
        This will mean investing in our workforce now and in the future (when they
        are based in the new district integrated support teams).

6.2     Workforce learning and development needs to ensure that everyone in
        contact with young carers works in a multi agency way, ensuring that young
        carers are recognised, supported and protected from harm.

6.3     It is important that Hertfordshire develops capacity to deliver services that
        offer additional benefits over and above mainstream services and meet
        specific unmet needs without the intervention of social care. As specialists,
        professional assistants can support capacity building at a district level and
        work alongside front line staff to develop their understanding of the barriers
        that prevent young carers being able to succeed and develop skills to
        ensure young carers have the same opportunities as all children.

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