Information for parents and families can be found on our accessing support ,  child protection or Children's Centres pages. This page is aimed at professionals and agencies, although parents and families may find this detailed information useful. 

Support for families is provided through 7 district teams. They are led by an Early Help District Managers and Safeguarding District Managers

North Cambridgeshire
Head of Service Safeguarding  and Head of Service Early Help

  • March, Chatteris and Whittlesey
  • Wisbech
  • Huntingdon and St Ives
  • St Neots, Ramsey, Sawtry and Yaxley

South Cambridgeshire
Head of Service Safeguarding  and Head of Service Early Help

  • East Cambridgeshire
  • South Cambridgeshire
  • Cambridge City

The district delivery model integrates Social Care units, Early Help support and Children Centres services. 

Each Early Help team is multidisciplinary and work with children and families from 0-19 (25 if there are special educational needs). Children and families supported have one or more of the following vulnerabilities that adversely affect their ability to achieve good outcomes

  • Domestic abuse
  • Substance misuse
  • Child and parental mental health
  • Children with SEND and their families
  • Children and young people who under achieve due a number of socio-economic factors
  • Children and families with multiple problems

Each District Team has between four to five social work units which are small teams lead by a Consultant Social Worker. In each unit there is a Senior Social Worker, two further Social Workers, a Unit Coordinator and a half time Clinician working together in a systemic way with children, young people, and families to support them to thrive and prosper in Cambridgeshire.

 There are in total 33 units that manage all new referrals to the service, conduct social work assessments, undertake child protection enquiries, and provide short and long term interventions for children and young people who are subject to Child In Need or Child Protection Plans.

 The units are designed to hold children through their time of involvement with social work services and also deliver court work in care proceedings and work with Looked After Children where their plan is to return home as well as work with younger children who are likely to remain looked after for the longer term or who will be adopted.

 We recognise that the quality and timeliness of decision making for some children who cannot remain in their family is key to achieving the best outcomes for them. To support our social work units to do this we have designed a court skills developer post and a permanence practice developer post. The purpose of these is to support and challenge the social work units to drive practice improvements in all areas of planning for permanent care solutions for children.

 To support the Social Work Units to work alongside families we have created family network facilitator posts. The purpose of these roles is to ensure that wider family members are brought together to support a child to remain in their family home wherever it is safe to do so. They will also help a family identify alternative family carers if a birth parent is unable to continue to look after their child. As we are committed to children being brought up in their family networks the introduction of these posts will ensure that we are identifying the strengths within families at the earliest point of social work intervention.

Clinicians work jointly with social work colleagues to develop systemic social work practice within the social work units.

  • Offer a clinical lens on the assessment and care planning process to reduce risk to children
  • Contribute to robust assessment drawing on systemic and psychological theory to inform the unit assessment
  • Contribute to multidisciplinary meetings to maintain a thoughtful network around the family
  • Offer evidence based clinical interventions, including those adapted for families of children with disabilities, as needed.

These primarily include:

  • Social Learning Theory in a systemic frame
  • Systemic, strengths focused family work and couple work to promote resilience and reduce risk of family breakdown
  • Attachment focused relational interventions such as Video Interactive Guidance and Theraplay

In Early Help clinicians provide supervision and consultation, working alongside lead professionals, embedding Think Family principles and systemic practice across the wider Children Families and Adults partnership. This promotes a joined up approach between agencies to their work with high demand families and those families requiring help outside of social care.

Clinicians also develop pilot projects which coordinate networks of agencies that are connected in the delivery of services around particular needs (eg self-harm in adolescents), investigating where barriers to this coordination arise, and developing plans to overcome these barriers.

There has been a commitment for the Children’s Centre service offer to be at the heart of District-based provision,. This will ensure that Children’s Centre services are clearly accessible for our most vulnerable families, and able to respond to the increasing complexities and higher levels of need emerging in the county.

We will commence public consultation on the Children’s Centre service provision in June 2017, the outcome of which will result in final proposals for agreement by Committees in September / October 2017.  Some preparation work has been underway to consider the development of children’s centre provision more widely. We are exploring a Child and Family Centre offer, evolving from the current Children’s Centre offer to extend across the 0-19 age range within the district model of services, with a particular focus on families with identified vulnerabilities.  

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