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Cheshire East Consultation Service (ChECS) is our ‘front door’ to social care. Practitioners on this team have an exciting and busy role as they respond to initial contacts coming from professionals or members of the public who might be concerned about a child.
The social workers here provide advice and make important decisions about what actions need to be taken based on the information given about the health, wellbeing and safety of children. This may lead to a referral for an assessment being carried out by children’s social care, early help or, it may trigger a response from universal services.
A small group consisting of 4 experienced frontline social workers who are managed by the principal social worker. The team’s focus is to promote excellent social work practice that is strengths based and child focused so that practitioners can empower the children and families we work with.
The team’s tasks are varied as lead practitioners respond to the needs of the service as linked to the outcomes of quality assurance work. Lead practitioners spend time supporting practice through 1:1 work with social workers, role model good practice and facilitate group supervision sessions as well as supporting social worker recruitment. The team also facilitate targeted and specialist training to support continuing professional development throughout practitioners' careers, including students and newly qualified social workers embarking on their first years in practice.
Within Cheshire East, the fostering role focuses on the delivery of recruitment, assessment, supervision, support, and training of foster carers. Supervising Social Workers work in partnership with other professionals to provide placements that keep children safe and enable children and young people to thrive and reach their potential.
A children’s social worker on the Child in Need/Child Protection team based in either Macclesfield or Crewe will respond to referrals that come through from the Cheshire East Consultation Service (ChECS) to carry out enquiries where there are concerns about a child’s safety and welfare.
Social workers complete children and families assessments gathering information from children, their families and services working with them to make decisions and recommendations and carry out intervention work to support children and keep them safe within their families using the ‘Signs of Safety’ model. This includes multi-agency working with other professionals working with children and their families.
The team carry out duty and assessment visits and work with families throughout the Child in Need or Child Protection processes to assess, plan and provide support to children in need of support or protection.
The service is spilt into smaller teams each with a team manager and a family support worker.
Social workers in the Cared for Children and Care Leavers team are responsible for care planning for children who reside with foster carers, kinship carers or in residential placements. In a small number of cases, children may live with their parents. Within this team social workers start to work with families at the initial court hearing within care proceedings and they work with families and other professionals through the court process to devise and progress care plans such as fostering, adoption and care orders with family members.
The nature of the work in this team is long term work and involves developing relationships with young people to support them through to the age of 18 to help them transition to adulthood or until they achieve legal permanence through adoption or the discharge of a care order.
Social workers in this team need to work closely with other professionals to fulfil the council's responsibility as a corporate parent to ensure that children have good quality placements, education, and health services and that they remain connected with their family network. We are ambitious for our cared for children and are passionate that we want them to succeed and have the best opportunities.
Children with disabilities are three times more likely to experience abuse and/or neglect as their non-disabled peers. This is why children's social care complete holistic assessments to support families in meeting the needs of their disabled children.
The specialist Children with Disabilities (CWD) team works with families and support networks of children and young people diagnosed with life limiting illness and disabilities, to ensure they are supported, safeguarded, and protected from experiencing significant harm.
In this rewarding role, social workers place children at the centre of assessment and enable and empower disabled children to achieve their best outcomes, at home, school and in the community. The CWD team is integral to planning and supporting children and young people throughout their minority.
Read more about staff rewards.
At Cheshire East, we understand that being a parent to a disabled child is not easy, and at times the physical and emotional demands can impact in all areas of life, we know that it may be necessary to support parents and carers to access respite through short breaks, away from their caring responsibilities. Our dedicated team of social workers work are supported by the short breaks team. They help to develop the right level of support through our ‘Short Break Local Offer’ and other bespoke packages of support, to ensure children and young people can experience inclusion and opportunities to achieve their individual goals in life.
Many of our children need ongoing support until they become adults. The team works closely with young people, their families, adult services, and other agencies to plan transitions into adulthood. This considers the child's best interests, adult needs, mental capacity and how best to ensure their continued safety by applying our knowledge of Liberty Protection Safeguards.
Page last reviewed: 21 July 2022
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