Families that have alcohol and mental health problems: a template for partnership working
Example from practice 5: Help people to think and act differently
An effective protocol will also need to help with some of the other barriers that may have made interface working difficult. Examples are taken from SSDs unless otherwise stated.
- Hillingdon’s protocol specifically includes working with families who do not meet the agency’s child protection threshold.
- Stockton on Tees includes a confidentiality statement within the protocol.
- Northamptonshire’s protocol demonstrates how to include families who do not meet service eligibility criteria.
The team noted some significant individual features that were particularly helpful to staff and address key issues, often setting out new ways of working.
- Several protocols address the practicalities
of joint care planning and funding care packages.
- Barking and Dagenham’s protocol states the need to have mechanisms in place to make integrated care plans.
- Northampton’s protocol includes a section on financial issues, acknowledging that some families will cross the usual departmental boundaries. Financial negotiation should take place away from the family and cost sharing should be considered.
- Southwark’s protocol formalises joint responsibilities and sharing of costs giving clear guidance onallocating funding and managing the care package.
- Westminster’s protocol gives clear instructions for budget arrangements at case closure, any service transfer arrangements and other service change.
- South Yorkshire ACPC says that in supervision sessions, mental health staff must identify parents on their caseloads and consider the children’s needs using The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000). Staff who are not involved in children and families services should be able to consult children’s advisers or the Child Protection Adviser in their workplace.
- Southwark’s protocol says that community mental health teams should carry out systematic assessments of children in families where the adult has a mental illness. They should consider the needs of the parents resulting from their parenting responsibilities as well as their mental illness. They should work with or refer to children and family teams as appropriate.
- Hillingdon’s protocol says that mental health workers should check on service users’ parenting responsibilities, and describes the referral process to children and families services.
- Hampshire’s protocol has "parenting capacity assessment hints” for mental health workers.
- Wokingham’s protocol states there should be clear lines of responsibility and the need to consider the whole family - "think family”.
- Oxfordshire’s inter-agency policy covers eligibility criteria that include an adult’s entitlement to receive support in their parenting role whether or not their child meets the criteria of a "child in need.” It also addresses the issue of continuing to give appropriate support to parents when there are child protection concerns.
- Some protocols, notably Northamptonshire’s and Oxfordshire’s, adopt an inclusive approach to the parenting needs of all those who, for whatever reason, are disabled or ill. Northamptonshire’s protocol "includes all parents with physical illness and disability, including learning disability, dependency and addictions, and difficulties relating to personality disorder or mental health.” The protocol supports the right of disabled people to fulfil their role and responsibilities as parents, as well as the right of children to live in a safe environment, which meets their needs.
- Oxfordshire takes a similar approach, because "parents encounter more barriers to participation than their non-disabled peers, and as parents are more likely to be affected by inflexibility in service provision,” and states that: "Assessment of the disabled/ill parent(s) should identify the support and assistance needed to enable parents to meet their parenting responsibilities.”