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3.4 The Specialist Support Service


This chapter provides information on the Specialist Support Service, including how to make a referral.


Decision to Look After and Care Planning Procedure

Leaflet J9 - Contact with Family and Friends


In April 2017 this chapter was updated throughout and should be re-read.


  1. Introduction
  2. Aims
  3. Objectives
  4. Outcomes
  5. Making a Referral
  6. The Integrated Service for Looked after Children (ISL) Teams
  7. The Post Order Support Team
  8. ISL Health and Wellbeing Service
  9. Children and Family Support Teams

1. Introduction

The Specialist Support Service is part of Worcestershire Children's Social Care Services and complements the work undertaken within other parts of the service.

2. Aims

Our vision is that children, young people and families achieve their potential in a safe environment so that they can lead successful lives. We have set out to achieve this by ensuring that the needs of children and young people are defined clearly so that the right services are delivered by the right people to the right children, young people and families at the right cost at the right time. We will focus our resources on those children, young people and families that need them most.

Our service users should see us demonstrating the following values:

  • Safeguarding and inclusion is at the heart of all we do;
  • Working together in partnership to provide a seamless pathway of services bespoke to the needs of the individual;
  • Children, young people, families and communities are involved in the development of countywide and local services;
  • We will do what children, young people and families tell us works for them and stick with them until they no longer need our support;
  • Services are inclusive and therefore, locally responsive and targeted at those who need them most;
  • Valuing diversity and respecting individual needs.

3. Objectives

Our objectives are:

  • To provide support/guidance and advice to carers in the family in order to try and achieve the child or children remaining within the family and achieving their full potential;
  • To provide support/guidance and advice to carers and their child or children in order to facilitate rehabilitation of accommodated child/children back within their families;
  • To provide a range of services that would facilitate the above aims as well as engaging with others partner agencies and voluntary bodies in order to achieve the above aims;
  • Consult with users of the service in order to advise of how services might be further developed in order to achieve the above aims.

4. Outcomes

The Specialist Support Service includes:

  • The Care Leaver Service;
  • An Outreach Service;
  • ISL Health and Wellbeing Service;
  • Family Contact Service.

5. Making a Referral

Specialist Support Services can be accessed by Children's Social Care as follows:

  • The Service Request Form (SRF) is an embedded within a Frameworki episode;
  • Referrers should identify the needs of family / young person, not what service is required;
  • Once completed this should be sent via workflow to the relevant team;
  • Referral forms not completed fully will be returned to the referrer;
  • Urgent referrals can be discussed with the relevant Team Manager, but a Referral Form must still be completed;
  • Specialist Support Services will determine how best to respond and which service will provide any support.

6. The Integrated Service for Looked after Children (ISL) Teams

The Care Leaver Service (CLS) provides support, help and guidance to young people over the age of 18 who was previously looked after by Worcestershire.

Care leavers are young people who were previously looked after (The Children (Care Leavers) Act 2000). To become a care leaver the young person must be:

  • Eligible:  aged 16-17 and still in care and has been ‘looked after’ for a total of 13 weeks from the age of 14 up to and including their 16th birthday;
  • Relevant:  aged 16 and 17 and has left care, but was looked after for at least 13 weeks from the age of 14 and looked after at some point while they were 16 or 17;
  • Former Relevant: aged between 18 and 21 (and up to 25 if in further or higher education) who were eligible and/or relevant.

Care Leavers can also be classified as ‘qualifying’ care leaver. This category applies to young people who:

  • Left care after 1st October 2001, after they had turned 16, but who are not 'eligible' or 'relevant' because they did not fulfil the 13 week criteria;
  • Were accommodated, but in residential education, health or mental health provision, private fostering or Special Guardianship.

A Personal Advisor will be allocated to all eligible looked after children during their 16th year and will work with their social worker to help prepare the young person for their transition into adulthood.

Once the young person ceases to be looked after and is relevant or formerly relevant the Personal Advisor will be the lead professional for the young person.

7. The Post Order Support Team

The Outreach Service covers the whole of Worcestershire and provides a wraparound service for young people it work with 365 days a year, including evenings, weekends and bank holidays. The two Outreach teams work a rota to provide a flexible service to meet the needs of the service users.

The teams provide:

  • Transitional support to young people who are Looked After or for some young people as a direct alternative becoming looked after (i.e. under the Southwark judgement);
  • Independent living accommodation and a bespoke package of support for a young person up to the age of 19 plus. This can include sleep in support;
  • Support for young people living in independent living accommodation provided by another service provider;
  • This support is intense and each plan of support is individual to the needs of the child or young person. This work is usually long term (approx. 12-16 weeks or longer);
  • The service provides a range of independent living accommodation options, from small units of accommodation (for 1-3 young people) to accommodation with onsite support;
  • The teams also provide transitional off-site support for young people who have moved on from their independent living accommodation;
  • The team provides training and advice to social workers, foster carers, residential workers and other professionals about the work needed to prepare the young person for independence.

8. ISL Health and Wellbeing Service

ISL Health & Wellbeing is a multi-agency service combining skills and expertise from CAMHS, Worcestershire County Council, and Worcestershire Health and Care Trust to support those who care for Looked After or Adopted children. The team is comprised to Social Workers, Clinical Psychologists, a Mental Health Practitioner, the Named Nurse for Looked After Children, a 16+ and Transitions Nurse, a Community & Leisure Development Worker and Community & Leisure Mentors.

The team work to a holistic health and wellbeing model based on an underpinning attachment and trauma theoretical model (Dyadic Developmental Practice (DDP).

The service provides:

  • An extensive training programme for Residential Workers, Foster Carers, Adopters, Social Workers relating to the health and attachment needs of Looked After and Adopted Children;
  • Foundation and Nurturing Attachment Groups for a wide range of Carers, Adopters and some Social Care professionals;
  • Team Around the Home support for all of Worcestershire's Children's Homes;
  • A Consultation service for more complex cases;
  • Attachment focussed parenting support and advice to Worcestershire Foster Carers, Special Guardianship Carers, and Adopters;
  • Direct therapeutic work (including DDP and Theraplay) for some Worcestershire Foster Carers, Special Guardianship Carers, Adopters, Adopted children, Looked after children and Care Leavers. This is provided directly by the service or commissioned from independent practitioners;
  • Specialist therapeutic advice for Social Workers, Carers and other Professionals;
  • Oversees the completion of health assessments for Looked After Children;
  • Supports the LAC Pathway for Looked After and Adopted Children who access services from CAMHS;
  • Community and leisure advice, information and signposting;
  • Community and leisure information packs to newly-approved carers and adopters;
  • Leisure passes for Looked After Children and carers;
  • Summer activities programme for Looked After Children.

The Green Fingers project for Looked After, Adopted and Kinship young people also sits within the ISL Health and Wellbeing Team. Project activities include:

  • Alternative Education (one-to-one educational mentoring) at the Green Fingers site;
  • Ongoing Arts / Music / Green Fingers Saturday group sessions;
  • Community & Leisure Mentoring Service to support Looked After Children into positive activities;
  • Business and Administration and Horticulture apprenticeship;
  • Apprenticeship project with Heart of Worcestershire College;
  • Work experience, work placement and volunteering opportunities;
  • One off project and events e.g. cookery workshops;
  • Healthy lifestyle events;
  • Arts Award / AQA Awards;
  • 'Get Ahead' training.

9. Family Contact Service

The FCS provides a contact service for children and young people who are looked after by Worcestershire. Priority will be given to cases subject to court proceedings and where there is a requirement to provide evidence to inform proceedings. This applies where there is an assessed and identified risk which means contact has to be supervised and the children are aged under 14.

See more detail in Supervised Family Contact Practice Guidelines.