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Children and Family Social Care

Bury Children's Services are required under the Children Act 1989 to provide a service to help families with "children in need" in their area. Children in need are those with a disability and children whose health and welfare may suffer significantly without support from children's social care services.

Most parents will at times experience problems in their lives. Sometimes these difficulties can be overwhelming and parents need all the support they can get. Occasionally children's social care need to become involved to protect children from harm.

How to ask for help

If you feel that children's social care services can help, and you do not already have a social worker working with you, please contact us.

When you contact the advice and assessment team, explain why you need help. Staff will then tell you how we can help. Where you need other services, they will put you in touch with them.

You can also make a referral to children's social care services via the online form on the right hand links section.

How do you know if you are eligible for a service?

Parents

You or your children may be entitled to a service from the children's services department if your child is under 18 years of age and your circumstances involve one or more of the following;

  • You are struggling to care for your children because you are seriously ill
  • One of your children is disabled or has other special needs and you believe you require assistance with their care.
  • A particular event has caused a family crisis making it difficult for you to care for your children. (e.g. death of a family member, relationship difficulties).
  • Certain aspects of your child's behaviour may be causing you some concern.
  • Your child's behaviour is such that you feel you are unable to ensure that she/he is adequately cared for and protected.
  • you are homeless

Children/young people

You may be entitled to a service if;

  • You are being harmed or feel threatened in any way.
  • You are homeless.
  • You were previously in care and are now struggling to live on your own. If you were previously in care you may be entitled to services up to the age of 24 years old.
  • You have special needs.
  • You do not have anyone to care for you.
  • You are caring for a family member and this is preventing you from making the most out of your education or relationships with your friends.

How will we respond?

In order to decide upon the best way we can help you, a social worker will meet with you to carry out an initial assessment . This should be completed within ten working days following your initial contact with us. (An assessment is about gathering information about your family, about things that your family do well as well as the difficulties that there are)

Sometimes it will be necessary to take more time to decide on the best way of helping you and your family. As long as you agree, your social worker will complete a core assessment within 35 working days. This will involve your commitment and agreement to regular meetings with the social worker and possibly other professionals. It may also be necessary for Children's social care to obtain information from other agencies (e.g. schools and health services) to help us meet your child's needs.

We will always ask your permission before we contact other professionals except when we have serious concerns about a child's welfare.

Following assessment we may offer a support package consisting of a service or range of services aimed at meeting the needs of you and your child. If the needs of your child are urgent we will provide services during the assessment. Together we will describe our responsibilities in a child in need plan clearly stating when and how we are to help you and your family. We will also decide together when we are to review the plan. The purpose of a review is to examine if the services you receive are successful in meeting your child's needs, and amend the plan as required.

How do we decide who gets a service?

The children's department has a range of services e.g. group work, individual work and respite care. We need to ensure that those families in greatest need receive the more intensive level of support. All packages of support are regularly reviewed to ensure they meet changing levels of need. We also need to ensure that families with similar levels of need receive a comparable service and that it is not dependent on where they live. Completing the assessment of your needs with you enables us to decide on the level of your family's needs and how we can best support you.

Children in need in Bury

The following is a summary of the groups of children we consider to be in need. This will help you decide if you or your child is in need.

  1. Children at risk of harm or neglect.
  2. Children with disabilities.
  3. Children in families where a parent has a long-term illness or has a disability.
  4. Children in families who are experiencing a crisis e.g. homelessness, loss of employment, death of a family member.
  5. Children in families where parents lack caring skills.
  6. Children whose behaviour is considered to be socially unacceptable.
  7. Children in families who are on low income i.e. income that is below standard state entitlements.
  8. Children or young people who have no parents or other family members to care for them.
  9. Children who have previously been looked after by the local authority and are moving on to live independently.

Hands on Scotland is an online resource for anybody working with or caring for children and young people. There website (in links section) provides practical information and techniques on how to respond helpfully to children and young people's troubling behaviour and offers advice and activities on how to help them flourish.