Looked After and Adopted Children's Therapeutic Team Statement of Purpose

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This Statement of Purpose should be read in conjunction with the following policies, which can be found within this Procedures Manual:

1. Therapeutic Team Background and Composition

The Looked After and Adopted Children's Therapeutic Team (LAACTT) is located within and managed by Children and Young People's Services of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. It was established in August 2007. The team comprises of:

  • Consultant Clinical Psychologist / Team Manager;
  • Clinical Psychologist;
  • Therapeutic Intervention Workers;
  • 2 x Post Adoption Social Worker (therapeutic support);
  • 1 x SGO Social Worker (therapeutic support);
  • Administration worker / Business support (Social Care).

2. Aims and Objectives

The aim of the team is to enhance the service to Looked After and Adopted Children and involved professionals, their families and carers, being mindful of their social, developmental and emotional health and well-being.

The Looked After and Adopted Children's Therapeutic Team's primary aims are:

  • To promote a greater understanding by foster carers, adopters, special guardians social workers and residential staff of the needs of looked after and adopted children in the areas of emotional and developmental health and attachment;
  • To assist in the care planning processes for looked after and adopted children, with a particular emphasis upon:
    • Assessment, planning and reviewing of therapeutic care needs;
    • Planning and preparation for transitions;
    • The impact of moves upon children's well-being.
  • To provide brief interventions based on Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (Dan Hughes' DDP), art therapy, cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT), mindfulness, theraplay and narrative, informed interventions in supporting and enabling children in making sense of identify and self;
  • To facilitate Multi-Agency Therapeutic Network Meetings;
  • To provide training and workshops for foster carers and adoptive parents and special guardians
  • To provide added value to social care colleagues by contributing to ongoing professional development through consultation and training processes regarding Best Practise.
To promote stability of placement for looked after children by providing a highly responsive and intensive intervention programme for identified children and their carer who need it the most.

3. Services Provided

The team:

  • Provide a telephone / email service that foster carers, adopters, residential staff and social workers can use to contact the team with requests for advice and guidance;
  • Offer a response to children and their carers where placements are in crisis or where a placement is in jeopardy of breaking down. Generally, this will include a consultation with the carers / other involved professionals to explore the issues and to signpost to appropriate services where necessary;
  • Facilitate Multi-Agency Therapeutic Team Network Meetings, which aim to gather together carers and professionals and to provide a therapeutic perspective when understanding the child's world and planning strategies to support children and their families / carers;
  • Provide a brief Tier 2 Child and Adolescent Mental Health type Service. This work draws on the principles of DDP, Theraplay, Art Therapy and Narrative Therapy. Where a child is in a foster placement, the method of referral is directly to the Therapeutic Team. When a child is adopted, the Post-Adoption Assessment is the method used to determine level of support required. This work can be in the form of individual, joint or family sessions with children and their families or other involved professionals. The post adoption worker may also utilise Adoption Support Fund, (ASF) to support adoptive families who meet the criteria.
  • Assessment of children's needs using a variety of assessment tools, including the CoramBAAF Social and Emotional Assessment Form - Carers Report, the Sibling Assessment Checklist, the Carer's Questionnaire, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, Randolph Attachment Disorder Questionnaire (RADQ), Department of Health Scales and Questionnaires, Assessment Framework. 
  • Annual monitoring of SDQs in line with Government legislation and Performance Indicators for Councils. 
  • The team provide consultation to staff regarding emotional and social well-being in line with Every Child Matters (2008);
  • Training days and workshops are facilitated by the team to professionals, families and carers involved with looked after and adopted children and children who live within a Special Guardianship arrangement. This will assist parents, carers and workers when considering children's care and therapeutic needs;
  • 'Promoting attachment' training for special guardians, foster and adoptive carers is facilitated throughout the year;
  • Workshops and training days are facilitated on specific issues, for example sexual abuse, life story work, sibling assessments, understanding attachment and trauma, transitions and loss;
  • Consultation is provided to workers from a range of areas, including locality social workers, fostering workers and the Adoption team.
  • Support and guidance is also provided through resources such as leaflets, articles, handouts and books which can be utilised by professionals and cares involved with looking after children who have experienced care.
  • Post-adoption / SGO Assessment s are carried out by the team when therapeutic support is identified
  • The team liaise with other service providers (e.g. CAMHS and Education Psychology) in Rotherham to ensure the most appropriate intervention is provided to looked after and adopted children, their carers and special guardianship families;
  • Provide performance analysis particularly in respect of the emotional and behavioural health of children in care (NI 58) and the stability of placements of looked after children (NI 62 and NI 63), National Minimum Standards.

4. Process Following Referral of Request for Consultation

  • Consultations (typically 1–3 short pieces of advice / support or intervention) can be offered to any carer, parent or involved professional. Assessment questionnaires are completed to understand the child's need;
  • Therapeutic Team Network Meetings are arranged to bring together those involved with the child to develop understanding about the child's emotional health and well-being;
  • For brief therapeutic interventions, (typically 6–14 sessions) referrals in respect of looked after and adopted children and those in special guardianship arrangements can be directly referred into the Therapeutic Team.
  • If any child protection concerns are identified during the assessment / ongoing therapeutic intervention, these will be referred back to the social worker and Independent Reviewing Officer immediately. For adopted children, a referral will be made to MASH;
  • For adopted children, parents can contact the team and a post - adoption assessment / SGO assessment can be undertaken, to determine levels of needs and involvement.

5. Complaints and Compliments

  • Rotherham's Therapeutic Team is compliant with the framework of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and Children and Young People's Services' Complaints Procedure. All carers, children and young people and all other persons, including staff have access to this procedure;
  • An emphasis is placed on resolving complaints at an immediate local level, i.e. Stage 1, Informal Problem Solving, and these are usually dealt with by the Team Manager. Although most complaints are resolved at this stage, if a complainant is not satisfied they can request that their complaint is considered for escalation to Stage 2, Formal Resolution, and Stage 3, Review Panel. A complainant can also contact the Local Government Ombudsman, who may consider an investigation but would usually first direct the complainant to the Local Authority's complaints procedure;
  • Children and Young People's Services has a Children's Rights Officer whose role it is to develop links with children and young people who are looked after. The Children's Rights Officer is able to raise issues on behalf of young people and to support and advocate for them as appropriate;
  • The Children's Rights Officer has regular sessions with foster carers and is available to speak to children when they wish. They actively take up issues with the service and there is evidence that children's concerns have positively affected service provision;
  • Further detail can be obtained from the Complaints Service;
  • Compliments can be recorded and forwarded to Kevin Rimes in the Complaints and Compliments Team.

6. Monitoring and Evaluation of the Service

  • The service will be regularly monitored by an annual Service Report being presented to the Service Manager, Head of Service, Strategic Director and Cabinet Member;
  • In addition, the quality of the work will be monitored by regular file audits, customer satisfaction surveys, regular supervision and Individual Performance Development Reviews carried out with staff by the Team Manager;
  • The number and content of the complaints within the service will be reported in the annual Service Report, which is also presented to the Head of Service, Strategic Director and Cabinet Members;
  • Evaluation of therapeutic work and group interventions is conducted by the team and reports made available.

7. Equalities and Diversity

The Therapeutic Team Therapeutic Team recognises that, for some children and young people, discrimination is a fact of everyday life. The team will work with carers and children / young people to reflect and look at the effect of discrimination where necessary. Management information on ethnicity / gender / sexuality / and disability will be compiled and regularly analysed to ensure that the service is being fairly accessed across the population of looked after and adopted children.

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