Accessing children's services
Guidance for professionals, parents and carers in accessing children's services in Wiltshire
If you think your child or a young person is at risk of significant harm, or is injured, contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Team (MASH) on 0300 456 0108 (out of hours: 0300 456 0100) or if there is immediate danger phone the police or emergency services on 999.
Local Offer home provides information about the support and services for 0-25-year-olds with special educational needs and or disabilities. It includes information on education, health, social care, leisure, travel, money, parent support organisations and the Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) Service.
For any other enquires, please contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0300 456 0108.
Each year Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) rates children's services in local authority area. The ratings are published in November and are always one of four levels - Performs excellently, performs well, performs adequately and performs poorly. Results and further info are available from Ofsted Wiltshire Council.
There are a number of specialist services available in Wiltshire. These include the following:
- Behaviour Support Service
- Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service
- Children's Disability Service
- Educational Psychology
- Educational Welfare
- Early Help Service
- Special Educational Needs Service
- Speech and Language Therapy
- MOTIV8 - support around young people's misuse of drugs and alcohol
- Youth Offending Service
The Wiltshire Parent Carer Council (WPCC) can also help; you can call the council on 01225 764647. The council specialises on services for children with special educational needs and/or a disability.
If you think your child would benefit from one or more of these services, please speak to a professional that works with your child. This could be a school teacher, parent support adviser or health visitor.
Early Support Assessment (ESA)
The Early Help ESA is a supportive process for all children and young people aged from unborn to 18.
- Gathering information from your child, you and anyone working with them
- Completing the ESA to identify your child's needs and what is working well for them
- Working together with professionals to agree an action plan which will aim to put support in place to meet your child's needs
- Meeting regularly to review the process and record any progress made by holding team around the child (TAC) meetings
- Referring to other professionals and services to support and work with your child where it is felt necessary
The Early Help ESA is a voluntary process that you and your child can choose to be involved with.
A team of professionals and services will be used to help you support your child. This support will be determined by the actions plan created at the TAC meeting. If you feel a ESA would support your child, please talk to a professional who is already working with them. If you have any issues with establishing an ESA, then please speak with the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
- It can help access the appropriate services for your child
- It can bring all of the people supporting your child together for regular meetings
- It can enable you and your child to have a say about their needs and how best to support them
- It can help prevent you and your child having to repeat your story to different workers
- Successful ESA's can help reduce the need for accessing statutory children's services.
The Early Help ESA process may begin for your child if it has been identified that there are some short-term, unmet needs.
The Early Help ESA process is not used if there are significant safeguarding concerns for your child that need to be supported by Children's Social Care safeguarding teams — if you are unsure about this or want to know more about safeguarding thresholds, call the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0300 456 0108.
There may be a number of people supporting your child; one of these people would agree to be the named lead professional (LP). This person will normally be someone who best knows your child. This person will help to keep you informed about what is happening, to ensure that your opinions are listened to and included and help coordinate regular TAC meetings, where progress and support are reviewed. The lead professional can be anyone who is working with you or your child. You can have an input into who this might be.
Once all of the information has been gathered, you will be asked to sign the consent for the Early Help ESA and for sharing of information. The ESA form will then be emailed to the ESA team at the Council for registering and a copy held on file. Copies are sent to all the services working with you and your child along with any other services you may wish to seek support from. You will be given the original.
A Team around the Child (TAC) meeting will be arranged to discuss the agreed Action plan ideally within 15 working days. TAC meetings are then usually held every 6-8 weeks.
When it gets to the point where everyone agrees all of your child's needs are being met by the relevant services, the ESA can close.
If you would like more information about the ESA process, please talk to a professional working with your child or contact the Early Intervention Advisors (EIA) on ESA@wiltshire.gov.uk.