Over the past two years Coventry has experienced a high level of repeat referrals, running at 29%. Similarly, Child Protection plans have been at a rate of 66 per 10,000 population and there have been over 150 children subject to a Child in Need (CiN) Plan for more than 12 months. All of these figures are significantly above national averages.
We want to improve outcomes for a cohort of 877 children in need, focussing on the 164 children who have remained on a CiN plan for over 12 months and those experiencing neglect, substance misuse, and domestic violence. The needs of these children are currently not being adequately met due to hard-pressed social workers prioritising children subject to Child Protection plans/Looked After Children. Consequently there is a high number of CiN repeat referrals and we see a cycle of increased service demand at a time of diminishing resource availability.
Our innovation project will create two new Children in Need teams, comprising Family Practitioners with a range of qualifications and backgrounds, supported by a Volunteer Co-ordinator and a Team Administrator. These CiN teams will operate independently but will be embedded within the Child Social Care teams in the East and West areas. The Children in Need teams, supported by volunteers, deliver interventions based on solution focused brief therapy. Professional supervision and oversight will be provided by an Advanced Social Worker, employed by Coventry City Council. By using strength-based interventions, the service seeks to strengthen the family unit, instigating change to reduce factors contributing to risk and need. The service aims to improve the quality of support and intervention for families at this end of the continuum of need and to prevent re-referrals into social care.
Shaun Whelan, Programme Manager
Behavioural Insights Team
Coventry City Council and Catch22