Isles that there were still concerns regarding confidentiality

Isles (in Collins and Foley,
2008) found that the group of practitioners is very wide and involves professionals
working in various agencies from mandatory to voluntary; this included child
and family health practitioners, early years workers and educationalists,
teachers and teaching assistants, social workers, play workers, court advisory,
family support workers, and many more. Authorities
may develop partnerships with other organisations including police, probation
boards, NHS trusts, and youth offending teams (Children Act 2004, s. 31). When
joining together these services, issues of confidentiality and safeguarding can
impact the cooperation of all partnerships (Isles in Collins and Foley, 2008). Bachmann
et al (2009) stated that poor
co-ordination of services has severe consequences for children in care; they
also discovered that while provision of multi-agency partnerships was
increasing, the process was often found stressful by management. Stress can
negatively impact an individual’s tack performance, as well as strain working
relationships (Zhang et al, 2013).
This could have consequences for management in children’s services as
relationships to team managers, as well as service users, is a key part of the
role (Broadhurst et al, 2009).

According to Anning et al (2010), the New Labour government,
led by Tony Blair in 1997, were the first to acknowledge the interrelatedness
of children and family needs across the areas of health, education, social
services, law enforcement, housing, employment and family support. The aim of
joining the services was to improve safeguarding, as well flexibility and
efficiency of social work (Hill et al,
2013). Frost and Robinson’s (2007) study on social workers and health
practitioners found that there were still concerns regarding confidentiality
and that not all departments were able to gain access to key files. One
participant stated: ‘People in the team don’t understand my role, just as I
don’t understand their role because we don’t meet’ (Frost and Robinson, 2007:
189). For the coordination of services to be a success, multi-agency teams need
to act as one collective identity (Hill et
al, 2013) and all agencies need to have a clear idea of the teams, their
roles and their responsibilities (Anning et
al, 2010).

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On various local authority
websites (see staffordshire.gov.uk; dudley.gov.uk; sandwell.gov.uk) the
children’s services teams and agencies listed include the Central Referral Unit
CRU, disabled children’s support, adolescent/youth team, fostering team,
adoption team, quality and performance, early help team, child sexual
exploitation CSE team, and more. Featherstone et al (2014) looked into family support and early intervention, two
teams which provide help in order to keep the family together. They found that
the introduction of services such as Sure Start and Children’s Centres were a
success for family support and early intervention as the services offer helpful
negotiation with the service users (Featherstone et al, 2014). Morris (2012) reports that policy changes and
financial handouts have a lesser impact compared to these face-to-face
services. However, Lonne et al (2009)
point out that there can be imbalances in offering family support as sometimes
the interests of the child oppose the interest of the parents, for example
religion can impact the decision for a child to receive certain life-saving
health treatments (Smith, 2015). In such cases, management of family support
and early intervention teams lack the ability to find a balance which support
the family’s rights and the child’s rights (Garrett, 2009).

Stott (2013) looked into another
children’s services team: leaving care support. This team provides help to
young people that are turning eighteen, and are, therefore, in the process of
leaving local authority care (Stott, 2013). The majority of care leavers move
to independent living aged 16-18 (Stein, 2006), and are expected to complete
their journey to adulthood far younger and far quicker than their peers who
have not been in care (Stein, 2005). Stein (2006) stated that, despite the use
of  leaving care support, those who have
been in care are more likely to have fewer qualifications, be young parents, be
homeless, and often have offending behaviour and mental health problems. Dixon
and Stein (2005) also criticised leaving care support because there is no
option to return to the service in times of difficulty. However, Osterling and
Hines (2006) stated that adolescents viewed to have significant social
problems, or mental health issues, are often moved up to adult services.

Albert et al (2017) stated that permanency planning is an important part
of children’s services. Whittaker and Tracy (in Tracy, 2017) define permanency
planning as the decision-making process to either keep families together,
reunite children and families, or to find a permanent home for the child
elsewhere. Permanency planning was initially viewed as one of the final
pathways (Besharov, 1992); other social service methods would be used before
permanency planning was discussed. However, it is now seen as an innovative
system which does improve the livelihoods of service users (Ayre and Preston-Shoot,
2014). On the other hand, Whittaker and Tracy (in Tracy, 2017) point out that
there is little follow up on service users, which can cause implications in
communication and cooperation with the service user. Fernandez (2013) suggests
that management should improve caseload sizes to ensure that communication with
service users is kept up-to-date, and so that service users are aware of what
decisions are made. Maluccio (in Tracy, 2017) supports this, and states that
the decision for permanency planning should be carried out adequately by
management, and that permanency supports a child’s growth and functioning.