In 2018, the Complex Safeguarding group of the Devon Children and Families Partnership (DCFP) endorsed a proposal to create a framework for multi-agency coordination of the risks to young people from outside their family. This was in recognition of countywide and national indicators of concern, as well as new requirements set out in Working Together 2018. This document, issued by the UK Department for Education, sets out what organisations working children must do to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children and young people in England.
Subsequently, the DCFP developed the Adolescent Safety Framework to:
1. Improve the quality of multi-agency safety planning when an adolescent is at risk for which their parents are not culpable (for instance serious risk associated with gangs, peer group risk, county lines, drug and alcohol misuse).
2. Ensure consistent safety planning support when key risks are identified.
3. Identify adolescents of concern early to intervene as a partnership to reduce risk and prevent further harm.
4. Ensure evidence-informed and consistent multi-agency interventions.
5. Understand strategic and operational issues affecting adolescent risk.
A group of individuals from statutory and third-sector agencies have worked closely together to create the framework. This group is led by the Quality Assurance, Reviewing and Safeguarding Service of Children’s Services (QARSS) and includes Devon and Cornwall Police, Early Help, education and health services, Devon’s four Community Safety Partnerships, REACH and the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
Following a year of working closely with partners, engaging with relevant stakeholders and examining best practice from across England, the Adolescent Safety Framework (ASF) is now complete and will be implemented on 1st November 2019.
The framework includes:-
1. An underpinning theoretical approach to multi-agency working with extra-familial risk
2. A revised and unified model of Multi-agency Coordination
3. A clear pathway for the assessment of need and provision of help
4. A comprehensive toolkit for professionals undertaking;
- Referrals and screening
- Assessment processes
- Planning and review
- Support, help and intervention
5. A comprehensive suite of guidance and terms of reference for all meetings and key elements of the model.
6. A multi-agency workforce training plan
7. A monitoring and evaluation plan