Families First – Local Delivery Model
Families First is a whole system, countywide multi-agency response to supporting family outcomes at a local level. It brings together organisations that provide early help services under one umbrella of consistent practice and clear processes.
Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
This is a central team which processes referrals where there may be child protection concerns which require information sharing from partners. Such referrals are progressed by the Customer Service Centre to MASH and you may be contacted by a member of MASH. Referrals are RAG rated and there are timescales in place according to this: 24hrs for Red, 48 for Amber and 72 for Green.
Families First Triage Team
This is a central team which processes all the referrals that are not child protection but are likely to need early help. They may give advice and information to the referrer and signpost to an organisation that can support the family. They'll contact parents to gain consent to share information and take cases to the local Triage Panels. A member of the team will also contact other agencies such schools, GPs, health, children’s centres etc. for information.
Families First Triage Panels
These started in October 2016 initially in three pathfinder areas and are now in 9 districts (Watford and Three Rivers are one panel) and are currently held weekly. These multi- agency panels are chaired by a Triage Manager who is a qualified Social Worker. Health Visitors, children’s centres, Senior Families First Coordinators, Targeted Youth Support, Intensive Family Support, YC Herts and Police sit on the panel and share information about the family and collaboratively agree who should be the key worker and lead the FFA. This is for families who require a targeted or intensive level of support which requires a multi-agency team around the family.
How to make a child protection referral
Hertfordshire have developed a new online form which will revolutionise how professionals make contacts about children. To ensure this project delivered what you wanted, we talked to Education, Health, Probation, Childrens Centres and Police leads to agree what the user needs were.
You told us you wanted the following:
- I want to know my contact has been sent, received and stored securely.
- I want my contact handled quickly and effectively by the right team.
- I want the ability to save and print a copy of the contact for my records.
- I want to be able to attach documents to the contact.
- I will be given a ref number to use at a later date if I need it.
From 28 May 2019 the new form will achieve all of these outcomes and more.
- To provide you with a user friendly experience.
- To give you a simplified process and structured format for informing us of concerns about a child.
- To reduce the amount of repeat or chase up enquiries you have to make.
- To inform you what we need to progress a contact into a referral.
We currently receive approximately 9,000 enquiries each month by phone and e-mail. We anticipate this number reducing over time.
How to access/use the form:
- The form will be located online at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/childprotection
- You must create an account first. This is a simple process to sign up for.
- Agencies/Departments can choose how many accounts they need.
- Once signed up, you can submit as many contacts as needed on the one account.
- There are 8 sections to the form, ranging from “professional contact details” through to “reason for the contact”.
- There are mandatory fields, meaning we need this information from you. You will not be able to submit the form until we have this information.
- Once submitted, you will receive a reference number which is unique to the contact made, you can track your contact using the 03001234043 number.