Children, Families and Adults Directorate

We have overall responsibility for ensuring that the needs of vulnerable residents are addressed across Cornwall, working with our partners and together with other agencies in line with the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment. Our role is to ensure that we support and protect the most vulnerable residents at any stage of their life when support is needed.  We work together with partners to secure the best possible start for children and young people through inclusion in education and by providing social care to vulnerable children and their families. For adults, promoting independence, inclusion and the care and well-being of the most vulnerable to ensure everyone has the best possible opportunity to improve their physical and mental wellbeing and stay safe.

We act as the Council lead for safeguarding children and young people, supporting families and working together with others to deliver a wide range of the Council’s statutory duties to help and protect vulnerable children. They include children who have special educational needs and disabilities, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, other children in need, young offenders, children subject to child protection plans, children in care and care leavers. We are also responsible for the Council’s statutory Adoption & Fostering Services.  We also support the educational inclusion of the children at greatest risk of poor outcomes, helping to close the gap between them and their peers in the wider child population. Some of our services are delivered jointly with the Council for the Isles of Scilly.  More and more are delivered jointly with children’s community health services.

What we do:

Children’s Psychology Services - our services include educational and child psychology, supporting children and young people with emotional wellbeing and mental health needs; children with special educational needs and learning disabilities; prioritising children who have experienced trauma.  Children’s psychology and social care are increasingly integrated, helping to provide a multi-disciplinary assessment of need for children with multiple conditions.

Disabled Children and Therapy Services – we provide early support and portage to children with diagnoses of disability and their families.  We undertake the majority of assessment and care planning in acute and complex cases where children have severe and enduring disabilities and illnesses, including occupational therapy.  We provide a wide range of short breaks to give disabled children additional learning experiences through play and their carers a break.

Area-based Children and Family Services - we provide a range of early help for families to enable them to overcome the difficulties they are facing with the aim of helping and protecting the most vulnerable children and young people in Cornwall. These services include: a multi-agency Early Help Hub; children’s centre services; access to a wide range of family support and parenting programmes; targeted youth support for the most vulnerable young people; a multi-agency referral unit for accessing children’s social care; and the full range of statutory social work services.

Children on the Edge of Care Services – we provide a specialist, multi-disciplinary service to support children on the edge of care and their families, with the aim of preventing family breakdown and keeping children out of the care system, either at home or with their wider family.  This service incorporates the youth offending service for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Children in Care and Care Leavers Services, including Fostering and Adoption – we deliver the full range of statutory services to support children in care and young people making the transition from care to independence.  The service leads on empowering children in care and care leavers to participate; supporting children in private fostering arrangements; receiving and supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children; providing specialist support to kinship carers, including special guardians; and life-long adoption support.   

Safeguarding Children Standards Unit – we focus on reviewing the quality of practice quality and the effectiveness of child plans in helping the child to achieve improved outcomes. We lead on the Quality Assurance and Performance Management of the whole service and key. This is done through independent reviews of plans, case auditing and providing feedback on the quality of practice.  It provides the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) function for overseeing the response to allegations of professional abuse and supports the multi-agency Safeguarding Children Board for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Specialist Practice Development and Education Unit – we set the practice quality standards for the full range of specialist practice, aimed at supporting social workers and other frontline practitioners to constantly improve the quality and consistency of their practice. The unit is responsible for the Trainee Social Worker Scheme; the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment for newly qualified social workers; the Career and Qualification Pathway for social workers; the Core Curriculum; and the full range of pre and post-qualifying practice education. Elements of the Core Curriculum are made available to partner professionals.

Children’s Commissioning Services – we work together with health commissioners to agree outcomes-based commissioning intentions across education, health and social care.  These are based on one vision; a shared understanding of need; agreed priorities and outcomes; a commitment to evidence-based practice; and an agreed basket of meaningful measures.  We lead on procurement and contract management. Many of the contracts are tendered, awarded and managed on behalf of the Isles of Scilly.

Business Support and Administration Services – we provide specialist business and administrative support to the full range of frontline teams, helping to reduce the bureaucratic burden on frontline practitioners.  We manage and develop the Integrated Children’s System, which is the specialist data base for recording the full range of work with children and families. We also provide specialist finance support to the service, ensuring accurate and timely payments to foster carers, special guardians and adopters.  We provide the data for the Quality Assurance & Performance Management and all the statutory social care performance returns to the Department for Education. 

We work to ensure that no child is left behind and that young people are prepared for adulthood through effective and accessible education solutions that support the closing in opportunity gaps between those most and least likely to receive full education. We ensure schools continue to be integral to their local communities and meet educational standards and statutory obligations set out by the Departments for Education.  We also develop and deliver attractive Adult Education services that support Cornish residents in developing skills that support their careers and wellbeing.

What we do:

Early Years and Family Services – we ensure that Early Years provision meets all statutory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Welfare Requirements. This includes making sure all children are school ready and get the best possible start in life.  

Special Education Needs and Disability – we continue to develop effective systems to ensure all statutory duties are met in the light of the Children and Families Act. We also ensure that all statutory duties are delivered so that attendance and inclusion levels remain above average.

School Effectiveness / Strategy – we implement school improvement initiatives; promote educational achievement; close attainment gap between Cornwall and national average; and continue to widen the gap between national Ofsted performance and Cornwall performance.

Schools infrastructure, place planning, provision and inclusion – we are responsible for the Education Welfare Service and championing children’s to education and inclusion.  We implement the Council’s Pupil Place Planning Strategy (2015-20) to ensure the greatest possible provision of school places and access to them throughout Cornwall which includes management of all school admissions and children’s transport entitlement.  We also work to ensure the quality and standards of schools’ infrastructure.

11-25 Employment and skills pathways (including Post 16 Employment and Skills Pathways) – we identify potential pathways for education and employment for all those from aged 11 onwards including for example full time education, apprenticeships and initial employment. We also create strategies for enabling these pathways, developing the necessary skillsets in children and young people

Partnerships and Improvements – we work with partner organisations to deliver education and early years services and to identify and encourage the implementation of service delivery improvement opportunities

Business Support and Administration – we support the Education and Early years function in administrative tasks including recording within the education management system. We provide schools with support and analysis of data, completing statutory returns in relation of education and early years. We administer the Early years funding for 2,3 and 4 year olds and SEN payments to education providers. We also provide support to service activities including Education Welfare, Behaviour Support, Sensory Loss and services that create an income.

Adult Community Education – we aim to increase qualification course enrolments; maximise learner take up of advanced loans route to provision; and we work towards a Cornwall Strategy for Community Learning with Further Education colleges and VCS

Virtual School - the Virtual School for Children in Care, known as CiCESS – Children in Care Education Support Service -  champion the rights and needs of Children in Care and to support and challenge schools and partner agencies in helping to address the difficulties that Children in Care face, in order to provide a positive educational experience and improve educational attainment. We work with Headteachers, Designated Teachers, Social Workers, Foster Carers, Psychologists, external agencies and professionals from other local authorities.

We ensure that our residents feel supported in their adult-lives, especially people most at risk or those facing challenging phases of their life. We support effective social work practice, social care and occupational therapy to put in place high quality care and support in particular to older people, adults with mental health problems and adults with learning disabilities or physical and/or sensory impairments.

What we do:

Operational Locality Services - we arrange adult care in the local area including personal budgets, care at home and residential services.  We ensure continuous improvement of these services. We also provide services to assess care needs of vulnerable adults and offer services to improve the wellbeing of these individuals including therapy services.

Provider Quality Assurance and Service Improvement – we act as overseer to the organisations that provide adult social care services within Cornwall, assessing quality of care provision and supporting the providers in improving their services to adults.

Adults Safeguarding – we provide a framework for multi-agency working for recognising and taking action to prevent or stop the abuse of adults at risk. We define the responsibilities of partner organisations in responding to safeguarding adult concerns/allegations. We also develop common values, principles and practice that underpin the safeguarding of adults at risk, identifying the different types of abuse, signs, symptoms and indicators. We also set standards of practice that safeguard adults at risk.

Learning and Development – we improve the quality and consistency of practice, influencing the offer of education partners to develop the wider health and social care workforce in Cornwall. We maintain a learning and development offer for the sector and the wider social care workforce, including an offer to provider services via trading. We ensure the learning and development of our professional staff, enhancing and supporting the offer to social workers and other professional staff.

Brokerage and buyer development - we help adults to understand their support options based on their budget and select the best social care option that works for them

Business Support and Administration – we provide support to the services function in the management and delivery of administrative tasks including front line teams and for senior management. We also support system performance to ensure adult recording is responsive to the needs of the service to carry out statutory activities and ensuring a fit for purpose. We also provide finance and procurement support to the service.

Direct Payments – we provide direct payments to adult care service providers.

We lead on the strategic commissioning of Adult Social Care provision in Cornwall. We work closely with partners across the NHS, private, voluntary and independent sector to coordinate and improve the Adult Social Care experience in Cornwall, including integrating community led and Council led services.  We are also joint partners with the NHS taking forward the Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Cornwall.

What we do:

In-house provider services – we undertake needs assessment, specification development and awarding of services to in house providers followed by performance and quality management of in house service provision.

Strategic Commissioning – we support and enable the developing approach to strategic commissioning and improvement. We deliver a range of services including: needs assessment; procurement support; specification development, tendering activity and contract award processes as well as direct implementation and (where appropriate) supporting implementation. We also deliver contract management and performance management for external suppliers.

Strategic Market Development - we develop the market and lead on stakeholder consultation for the service.

Business Support and Administration - we provide business and administration services that relate to Commissioning activities and integration/transformation activities between the Council and other Adult Social Care partners. We act as key points of contact for external partners in relations to commissioned activity. We also provide finance and procurement support to the service.