Knowsley Model of Children in Need
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Knowsley Model of Children in Need Continuum of Need. Purpose of Session. To enable practitioners across agencies to start to develop a shared understanding of children's needs & thresholds for intervention within the Continuum of Need

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Knowsley Model of Children in Need Continuum of Need

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Knowsley model of children in need continuum of need

Knowsley Model of Children in Need

Continuum of Need

Purpose of session

Purpose of Session

  • To enable practitioners across agencies to start to develop a shared understanding of children's needs & thresholds for intervention within the Continuum of Need

  • To assist practitioners to understand & apply thresholds appropriately within Organisations

    Continuum of Need Framework

Key messages in safeguarding children


  • Children best protected when practitioners clear about their role working together across agencies to gather a ‘holistic’ picture of a child’s world

  • Children who need help, every day matters. Delay can cause unnecessary harm and abuse

  • Early support leads to improved outcomes for children & families

  • Important to understand & apply thresholds consistently

Why do we need thresholds document

Why Do We Need Thresholds Document?

  • Legislative requirement (Working Together, 2013):

  • Places a duty on LSCB’s to publish guidance on thresholds

  • Allows a common understanding of children’s needs & levels of intervention & responses

  • Knowsley’s Thresholds document endorsed by KSCB (all partner agencies)

  • Thresholds not an ‘absolute’. No national definition of thresholds. Interpretation & professional judgement (Eileen Munro)

Do we understand thresholds in knowsley

Do We Understand Thresholds in Knowsley?

Do we understand Thresholds in relation to:

  • When to start a Common Assessment

  • Referral to CSC

  • Initiate a Single Assessment

  • Hold a Strategy Discussion or S47 Enquiry

  • Convene a Child Protection Case Conference meeting

  • To accommodate a child or young person in local authority care (Section 20)

  • To initiate Care Proceedings applying to the Court for the removal of a child or young person

  • To implement a plan for permanence thus making decision that a child or young person shouldn’t return home to their family


  • Yes fully understood, applied & embedded

  • Not fully understood and inconsistently applied

  • Don’t know or not sure

Do we understand thresholds in knowsley1

Do We Understand Thresholds in Knowsley?

  • Ofsted would say “no”. Inspection judgment of early help & protection “inadequate” (Ofsted, 2014). Findings –

    • Early help services are not well coordinated or targeted. LA cannot be sure CYP who most need support get it or early intervention is preventing statutory involvement

    • Threshold for referrals to CSC not consistently applied by partner agencies and children’s services. Number of cases inappropriately assessed prior to being stepped down to a CAF due to not meeting the threshold for a social work service

    • While strategy discussions are held promptly, they do not always involve the minimum representation of agencies required by Working Together.

Ofsted what does the local authority need to improve priority and immediate action

Ofsted: What does the local authority need to improve? Priority and immediate action

  • Ensure that professionals in all partner agencies and social care understand and apply the threshold for referral to children’s social care.

  • Ensure that strategy meetings involve representatives from at least three agencies and include the workers who will carry out any enquiries, and ensure that the minutes of the meeting include clear directions and rationale for actions.

  • Improve the take-up of common assessments (CAF) by partner agencies and improve the quality of CAFs completed so they are an effective system for coordinating early help to families who need this.

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of early help services, and in particular check that help is delivered to those who most need it, and evaluate the extent to which early help prevents the need for more intensive intervention.

What we have learnt locally

What we have learnt locally

  • We know that there is inconsistency in how thresholds are understood & applied

  • We know that not all practitioners are aware of how escalate their concerns

  • We know that there is increased pressure on our Social Care - ‘MASH’ – when thresholds are not understood fully

  • Children are referred for services multiple times before they get the right service. Question whether this is about lack of practitioner understanding of the child’s needs/ appropriate response or a gap in commissioning of services?

  • We know that, in order for children to get their needs met at the right level, the appropriate threshold must be applied

Number of cafs by agency and month

Number of CAFS’ by agency and month

Number of contacts received

Number of Contacts received

Number of new contacts proceeding to a new referral

Number of New Contacts Proceeding to a New Referral

What is the data telling us

What is the Data telling us?

  • Police notifications account for 44.5% of all contacts received in June due to police force policy

  • This places demands on the service in progressing those contacts regardless of whether or not they  meet the threshold for referral or assessment.

  • The number of referrals that progress to assessment continue to evidence the over reliance on agencies in referring to MASH when the threshold is not met.

  • Only 27% of all contacts received in June progressed to a new referral.

  • The evidence would suggest that threshold criteria are still not fully understood by agencies and professionals.

Development of new continuum of need

Development of New Continuum of Need

  • Continuum of Need guidance details how practitioners should apply thresholds for intervention

  • Illustrates the levels of intervention to enable children to get the support they need

  • Developed by a Multi Agency working group who where part of the development of the new Early Help Model.

Key themes to model of children in need

Key Themes to Model of Children in Need

  • ‘Owned’ by KSCB & partner agencies

  • Describes a ‘tiered based’ approach to understanding children’s needs

  • Supports professional decision making about interventions

  • Helps to identify those children most at risk of suffering harm & in need of protection

  • Strengths based approach to working with families

Knowsley model of children in need continuum of need

Knowsley Model of Children in NeedContinuum of Need

Knowsley model of need characteristics level 1 universal

Knowsley Model of Need Characteristics Level 1 – Universal

  • Children and young people who make good overall progress in all areas of development.

  • These children receive appropriate universal services, such as health, care and education.

  • They may also use leisure and play facilities, housing or voluntary sector services.

  • These children may have a single identified need that can be met adequately by a universal service, however if further additional needs are identified an EHA will be required and step up to level 2.

Knowsley model of need characteristics level 2 universal plus

Knowsley Model of Need Characteristics Level 2 –Universal Plus

  • These are children and young people whose needs require some extra support from a targeted intervention/service.

  • This may be short term but requires a co-ordinated response from additional services

  • These children and young people will benefit from an EH/CAF episode to ensure that needs are met and risk of escalation of need is minimised.

  • An EHA will also ensure that information is held centrally and visible to other professionals who may also have concerns.

Knowsley model of need characteristics level 3 universal partnership plus

Knowsley Model of Need Characteristics LEVEL 3 –Universal Partnership Plus

  • These are children and young people with increasing levels of unmet needs that are more complex.

  • The depth of need with level 3 children is more significant than those experienced in level 2.

  • Children and families may require both specialist and statutory intervention to support these needs.

  • The EH and subsequent CAF should be coordinated to address the needs of the child and reduce further escalation of need.

  • The EH will inform specialist assessments that may be required and can be used to ‘step down’ to level 2 (when issues have diminished) or step up to level 4 (when issues have escalated).

  • The EH can be led by a Lead Professional from a range of services or by a Social Worker.

Knowsley model of need characteristics level 4 need for protection or specialist provision

Knowsley Model of Need Characteristics LEVEL 4 – Need for Protection or Specialist Provision

  • These are children and young people whose needs have reached the threshold of significant harm or risk of significant harm.

  • Needs at level 4 are complex and cross many domains.

  • These are cases of a Child Protection nature (Sec 47 of the Children Act) or are within Care Proceedings (Sec 20 and Sec 31 of the Children Act).

  • They will be coordinated and led by a Social worker.

  • The EH/CAF process will be used to ‘step down’ to level 3 when levels of risk and need diminish

Early help

Early Help

  • In line with existing guidance, consent should be obtained where possible from individuals and families as a matter of good practice.

  • There are certain circumstances where information will be shared even though consent has not been given, where the circumstances of the case justify it.

  • Such circumstances will be where, for example, there is a public safety issue; there is actual or likely suffering of harm by a child, vulnerable adult, carer, family member or by a member of the public; or there are mental or physical health concerns or factors which require sharing of information. 

  • In such circumstances, the lack of consent is never a factor preventing the sharing of information, although it is a consideration to be noted.

Key stages of early help

Key Stages of Early Help

  • The Early Help IT system (Liquid Logic) will provide a seamless transition through Early Help services based upon a simple Red, Amber, Green (RAG) rating system which will inform referrers regarding the level of need evidenced and the action to be taken when considering 6 key risk domains relating to children.

  • The Early Help Team will act in a supportive and advisory role to the range of referrers from schools, health etc: This will consist of sign-posting to appropriate universal and universal partnership services as well as advice on how to complete the EHA and operate Team Around the Family Processes.

  • The EH IT system will identify children and young people, living within families, with increasing levels of unmet needs that are more complex and trigger referrals to the two main services delivering the EH complex need offer Family First (0-11 age range primarily) and Stronger Families (11-18).

  • The Early Help Team will have a role in gate-keeping any cases which sit near the threshold of Universal Partnership leading into Universal Partnership Plus to advise on the most appropriate course of action and/or referral.

Family first 0 11

Family First 0 - 11

  • Family First is a Universal Partnership Plus (level 3) service.

  • The service provides holistic, targeted Family Support for the whole family via an Early Help Assessment. It is based within Knowsley Children’s Centres and has teams within each area of the borough.

  • In addition to the level of need the family must also meet one of the following criteria. The service focuses on the priority issues that can lead to costly specialist service involvement and issues we know can cause poor outcomes in Children if not addressed.

    • Children aged 2 and under

    • Parents with mental health problems

    • Parents with substance misuse problems

    • Domestic abuse

    • Serious family criminality

  • Referrals are received via the Early Help Team based within the MASH. These are either via a ‘step down’ arrangement from Children’s Social Care or a ‘step up’ from level 2 services.

Stronger families

Stronger Families

  • The Stronger Families Service is (like FF 0-11) a Universal Partnership Plus (level 3) service supporting families where children will experience poor outcomes due to the complex and interacting needs of both adults and children in the family.

  • It provides holistic, targeted, family support based upon thorough, whole family (EH) assessment and multi-agency co-ordination of services through Team Around the Family (TAF) processes

  • SF has worked to the same criteria as FF 0-11 but it has also been at the forefront of KMBC’s response to the Troubled Families agenda and so has also tackled the specific criteria for the programme:

  • School attendance and exclusion

  • Anti-Social Behaviour

  • Adult employment.

  • Knowsley will also be an ‘early starter’ for Troubled Families Phase 2 (commencing Spring 2015) which will expand the criteria (and payment by results opportunities) to things we had already identified as important through existing Family First criteria including mental health, substance misuse and domestic abuse.

  • The SF service is also currently forging strong relationships with CSC and YOS to keep children at home as one of the co-providers of the Multi-Systemic Therapy Team which will begin delivering interventions in early October.

Stronger families1

Stronger Families

  • The Service is comprised of 3 area-based teams:

  • North- Towerhill Community Centre, Kirkby

  • Central- Nutgrove Villa, Huyton

  • South- Southmead Children’s Centre, Whiston

  • Referral into to the service is currently through the Early Help Team based in MASH as its for FF 0-11

  • Each team provides the core service offer of whole family assessment and multi-agency action planning, intervention and review acting, most often as the ‘Lead Professional’.

    The service also provides or promotes:

  • Restorative Practice

  • Family Group Conferencing

  • Connexions

  • Parenting support and programmes

  • Youth Crime Prevention (Nacro)

  • Volunteering

  • Links with Adult Services (social care, prisons, drug services, Department of Work and Pensions, Family and Continuing Education)

  • Teen Parent Support

Knowsley model of children in need continuum of need


  • Facilitates multi-agency information sharing and joined-up work in respect of ASB, Offender Management and safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults. This is achieved via the co-location of staff in one building, agreed processes and a multi-agency governance structure.

  • For children’s cases MASH has specific process for information sharing and joined-up work around Section 47 (level 4) cases. The process seeks to provide holistic information around the child that will promote the best safeguarding decisions quickly and effectively.

  • Co-located MASH partners include Police, Children’s and Adult’s Social Care, Housing (KHT), Health (5 Borough’s Safeguarding Nurses Team), KMBC Anti-Social Behaviour Team, KMBC Domestic Violence team and the Early Help Team.

  • The MASH also has information sharing agreements in place with the Probation Service.



  • 2 scenarios for attendees to work through

  • Some of you will break off into another room (to keep noise levels under control!)

  • Opportunity for you to talk to practitioners about the case studies and understand different agency perspectives

  • Please work through each case study and try to reach a consensus on what threshold is met

  • A facilitator is available on each table

Knowsley model of children in need continuum of need

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