Further information

The wider network: the ‘four-tier model’ of services

CSC services play a specific statutory role within a wider set of children’s services. Many local areas describe this range using a four-tier model. This is often displayed as a pyramid or continuum of needs (see below). The terminology and boundaries between tiers vary slightly across the country, but generally they are:

CSC ‘sits’ within tiers 3 and 4 of this framework, meaning that it deals largely with families experiencing serious and complex difficulties. For families needing a bit of extra support or help, there are a range of other services that may be more suitable in the first instance.

The remainder of this section describes some of the processes for getting help at the lower tiers of this model.

Early Help Assessment

The Early Help Assessment, replacing the Common Assessment Framework (CAF), is an early assessment and planning tool to facilitate coordinated multi-agency support.

It enables professionals to efficiently identify the emerging needs of children and young people at risk of poor outcomes; it reduces duplication of assessment and improves involvement between agencies.

Team Around the Child (TAC)

The Team Around the Child and their Family (TAC/F) is a model of service provision where a range of different practitioners come together to help and support a child or young person. Essentially it is a ‘virtual’ team of involved professionals brought together – with the family’s consent – to devise a plan of action to support the child and their family. The plan of action is based on needs identified using the CAF.

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Young carers

Young carers are a diverse group. The amount and type of care they give varies so much that we cannot predict how it might affect each young carer’s wellbeing. So much depends on the level and type of care they provide – for example, giving emotional support can be just as demanding as the physical aspects of care. Several pieces of legislation and guidance formally recognise young carers and define service provision and the responsibility of agencies towards this group. Only a small proportion of young carers are currently identified or assessed for support. Research has found that young carers can experience substantial physical, emotional or social problems. They come across difficulties in school and elsewhere. CSC is required to assess any young carer coming to their attention, who asks for a carer’s assessment, even if the adult family member does not give consent.

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  • Introduction to...children's social care