About the Western Area Child Protection Services in Fermanagh Trust. Copy from the website.
Social Work staff in both Trusts work in partnership with families and other agencies to keep children safe in the WHSSB area. The volume and complexity of work associated with protecting children continues to be at a high level. The WACPC Annual Report has identified that in the past year (2002 / 03) there were 504 potential at risk referrals to social services.
Although Social Services staff in the Board and in the Trusts have responsibility for child protection services, a multi-agency approach is absolutely essential. There is no doubt that assessing the requirements of and providing services to families whose children are in need of protection cannot be delivered by one agency alone. Child protection services including post registration practice requires close working relationships between a number of agencies, notably Social Services, Education, Health and the Police.
The ACPC and the Child Protection Panels in Foyle and Sperrin Lakeland Trusts accord high priority to effective child protection practice despite the considerable pressures and challenges within the Family & Child Care Programme. Each child whose name is on the Child Protection Register has a Case Co-ordinator who is a Social Worker, an identified Core Group, i.e those members of the multi-professional team who work directly with the family and a Child Protection Plan, the purpose of which is to ensure the Child's safety and well-being.
One of the key issues for Social Workers in this area of work is trying to identify the level of significant harm likely to be experienced by the child. Clearly this has an implication for risk assessment and risk management. The volume of work currently undertaken means that many Social Workers have to balance the roles of surveillance and policing with offering family support and therapeutic input. On occasions, requests for more frequent Case Conferences and Core Group Meetings, with parental involvement in them, has increased workload pressure but has good outcomes for families.
The lack of investment following implementation of the Children Order has had an impact on Child Protection work. It is difficult to identify resources to meet all of the components of the Child Protection Plan. Furthermore, it has been suggested by Trust Social Work Managers that if sufficient foster care resources were available, younger children in some instances would be Looked After rather than being with their families and potentially at greater risk.
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Source: Area Child Protection Committee.
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