The Assessment and Intervention service is the “front door” to children social care – where members of the community and professionals can report concerns they have about a child who they believe to be in need of help and support or at risk of harm . The service receives the information about Children and their families via a single front door – The Multi agency safeguarding Hub ( MASH ) . This hub includes a number of professionals who will work collaboratively , sharing information they have which supports them in making timely decisions regarding the most appropriate help needed for a child and their family . The members of the Hub will apply Southwark’s Thresholds and if a decision is made that a social work assessment is required then the case will be allocated to a social worker based in the Assessment & Intervention service.
The social worker has up to 45 days to work together with the family and other professionals who may be involved to assess the needs of the child and their carers with a view to deciding what the future needs are . The outcome of the assessment may be a the case is closed to Social care and early help services or universal services continue to work with the family with a Team around the Child approach.
It may be the needs are more significant and the case will be transferred to a social worker in the Safeguarding & Family support service for ongoing intensive support and intervention . Where there are concerns about a child safety and they are assessed to be at risk of, or suffering significant harm eg physical , emotional , sexual harm or suffering neglect then a Child Protection case conference will be called and again the case will be transferred to the Safeguarding & Family Support service . There are occasions where children need to be removed from their home in order to keep them safe , again the assessment by the social worker will help determine if this is necessary.
The Service works hard to ensure children and their families can stay together and be supported.
Within the service is a Specialist pre-birth team which undertakes assessments of woman who are vulnerable during their pregnancy e.g. have poor mental health , suffering violence , learning disability , or have substance misuse problems . They work closely with our midwifery services ensuring the assessment is completed pre birth ensuring decisions are made prior to the birth of the baby . Finally the Service also has an Integrated Homelessness team which undertakes assessments on homeless 16 &17 year olds and families who are destitute after being found to be Intentionally homeless.
Who is the service for?
Children between the ages of 0 -18 resident in Southwark who are in need as defined in Section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
Criteria for access to service
Members of the community and professionals can report concerns they have about a child who they believe to be in need of help and support or at risk of harm, however the decision as to whether the concerns are progressed to assessment and intervention is determined by Southwark's Threshold Guidance.
Accessibility of this service
The bulk of the service is based at Sumner House which is open to the public between 9am and 5pm weekdays.
The Integrated Homelessness service is based at Bournmouth Road and open between 9-4pm.
Both building are accessible for disability access. Parking is available locally.
How the service is provided
Children and families are allocated a Lead Social Worker from a Practice Group which has 4 social workers, a Clinical Practitioner and a Practice Coordinator. Services are delivered by more than one member of the Practice Group in order to be most effective and responsive to the needs identified.
The assessment will focus on the child’s developmental needs , a parent/ carers capacity to meet these needs and the environment in which the family are living . The social worker and sometimes the clinical practitioner will meet with parents seeking out their views . They will also want to meet with the child on their own as it is important we seek out their wishes and feeling too.
How can I access this service?
Children and Families can self refer by telephoning MASH on 020 7525 1921.
Professionals can refer via emailing a Referral form / CAF to MASH@southwark.gov.uk or call 020 7525 1921 if there is an urgent child protection matter.
They may also call the same number and request a consultation with a social worker if they want some advise prior to making referral , or wish to carefully consider if threshold is met for a referral.
Do you need to pay for this service?
The service is free for users and funded by the Local Authority as it is a statutory service.
Confidentiality and Impartiality
The service is confidential and we will seek your permission before speaking to other professionals. If there are child protection concerns about your child we may, as part of our safeguarding duties speak to other professionals without seeking your permission.