1.1 Explain the importance of multi-agency working and integrated agency working.
Multi-Agency or Integrated working are terms used to describe how different services work together to meet the needs of children, Multi-Agency involves different agencies, services or teams of professionals working together to provide services that can meet the needs of the children. Integrated working involves different services working together in the same building to offer more effective care for children and their families. This approach is one of the more important aspects of the Every Child Matters (ECM) framework. This framework’s 5 outcomes state that we should be working together to help achieve the best possible outcomes for every child in our care. These 5 outcomes are:
Enjoy and Achieve
Make a Positive Contribution
Achieve Economic Wellbeing
By working together with different professionals we can ensure that the learning and development of each child is improved, as more people would have a wider range of knowledge and skills to offer. By something as simple as sharing records or observations with one another can lead to a more precise assessment of the position and needs of an individual child, thus making it easier to improve their outcomes as time progresses.
According to the ‘A Unique Child’ theme, the EYFS guidance states, ‘Every child is a competent learner form birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured’. Throughout the EYFS we are encouraged to put this into practice and to make sure that our practice is inclusive.
Inclusion is an important part of any organisation dealing with the well-being of children, ensuring that the children are accepted as part of the setting. Working with other agencies to ensure this could range from something like making sure ICT equipment is adapted for a child with a visual impairment, to ensuring that a child, whose family is having financial problems, can fully participate in activities such as outdoor visits. Each of these possibilities would need to have someone from another agency assess the situation and advise the setting on what they would need to do.
1.2 Analyse how integrated working practices and multi-agency working in partnership, deliver better outcomes for children and young people.
If the professionals working with children and their families can agree on a way of working for and with them and each other, it would mean that many outcomes would be positive because they could be able to assess, plan and implement more effectively. As long as there is good communication between each of the services and all parties understand what information can be shared while still maintaining confidentiality, then positive outcomes should not be difficult to achieve. 1.3 Describe the functions of external agencies with whom your work setting of service interacts.
Health services – support health issues, medication, treatment, support with communication. E.g. Physio or speech therapist Educational services – support a child’s educational progress and supports the child’s needs Social services – supports the child welfare or concerns about safety. Psychology services – supports with mental health issues
Behavioural services – supports and promotes positive behaviour with help from the Local Authority
1.4 Explain the common barriers to integrated and multi-agency working and how these can be overcome.
Poor communication – job specific language
Lack of information sharing
Lack of co-ordination between different services/service providers (Local
Auth.) Inaccurate report/record keeping
Ineffective policies and procedures
Lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities
In order to overcome these barriers it is important that each individual and service know that they are respected and the knowledge they have is valued and welcome. They would need to know where and when they can share information, and what form it should be in (written in files, kept on a computer, on the wall in a certain room and even the language or jargon used). Each individual should be able to open themselves to new ways of thinking and approaching an idea or problem within a multi-agency team. On possible way to achieve all of this is to appoint a Lead Professional, a person within the Multi-Agency team whose role it is to co-ordinate the information and communication and relay it to and from the child and their family. It is important to remember, while working within a multiagency/integrated team that the child should be at the centre.
1.5 Explain how and why referrals are made between agencies.
It’s important that referrals are made in order for the child to get the best possible outcomes. Practitioners doing observations and recording evidence makes it possible for the child to be referred to the correct professional, for example; a child with hearing difficulties may need to be referred to a support service for deaf children or children who have impaired hearing. Panels are usually made up of different agencies, and these panels determine the access that is available between settings for young people and children. These panels also aim to support the early identification of children’s needs
monitor children’s progress
ensure a child’s needs are identified and assessed quickly and referred to the appropriate
setting coordinate provision through the development of partnership with parents, settings and different agencies
Support inclusion in mainstream early years settings.
It’s important to identify the need for additional support as early as possible, without it the children may not get the help they need at the right time and this could have an effect on the child’s wellbeing. Parental permission must be obtained for any child to be referred and they must be kept well informed.
Early intervention teams have been set up in England to work with children with additional needs from birth to the end of EYFS. The early year’s intervention team will be part of the multi-agency panel enabling referrals to be made between settings. Early year’s intervention team promote inclusive practice, provides advice support and training in settings, supports transitions into schools, ensures that parents are fully aware of and involved in any referral process and they liaise with parents, carers and multi-agency professionals
1.6 Explain the assessment framework that is used in own UK home nation.
CAF (Common Assessment Framework), introduced in 2005, is a standardised framework for assessing the needs of a child before they reach a crisis point. It is a shared assessment and planning framework used by every practitioner working for children’s services in England and Northern Ireland. CAF’s aim is to ensure an early identification of children and young people’s additional needs and make sure that agencies work together to meet them.
This common assessment is general and is meant to be accessed by all early years practitioners and improve communication between them. It could be the first type of assessment for a child with specific needs. A CAF summary should highlight the strengths and needs of a child and family and what is required to support them, e.g. a family dealing with many professionals from different agencies should have an appointed ‘Lead Professional’ who would be their single point of contact and help them make choices.
CAF is a key part of delivering integrated services that are focused around the needs of children; it is a holistic approach to conducting assessments of children’s additional needs and deciding how they should be met. It can be used by practitioners working, on a daily basis, with children
There are 3 main steps in the CAF process:
1. Identify if a child has any additional needs using a CAF checklist.
2. Discuss the strengths and needs of the child using the CAF
3. Decide what is needed to meet the needs of the child; a lead professional may need to be appointed.