Background The Family Support Team became aware of an increase in safeguarding and complexity in client referrals. In many cases these complexities were not picked up at referral stage but identified at subsequent assessment or provision of support. This resulted in some clients being initially directed to the wrong service, having to repeat their story in order to access the correct support and unnecessary time delays.
Aim Develop a screening tool to identify risk and safeguarding concerns at referral and ensure clients are then directed to the correct support.
Method Phase one: Steering group set up of various family support professionals to research different screening and assessment tools. Phase two: Development of draft screening tool to be trialed for three months in Gateway Team. Phase three: Gather evaluations from Gateway team and make amendments to screening tool. Phase four: Re-evaluate.
Result Screening tool evaluated after three months and 12 months using a questionnaire. Feedback from the questionnaire was used to adapt and improve screening tool. Screening tool scoring was replaced by a traffic light system to highlight risk. Questions were adapted and re-worded to ensure they collated relevant information.
Conclusion Evaluations of the Family Screening Tool shows a positive impact on identifying safeguarding risk at the point of referral. It had a positive impact on ensuring referrals are allocated effectively and in a timelier manner. Evaluations also highlighted it enabled staff to explore safeguarding issues and risk in more depth at referral stage. A challenge of the screening tool was that some staff lacked confidence and were daunted/nervous about asking some of the questions. Additional training is required to build experience and confidence in this area.
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