My Social Care Journey
Information and definitions to help you understand your social care journey better.
Use the expand and collapse links below to find out more information and who you could contact.
An interactive 'My Social Care Journey' is available on the Buckinghamshire County Council website.
All families need help at some time. This support may come from a GP, your school, a youth worker, housing officer, or a combination of these professionals.
This can mean things get better quicker rather than waiting until problems are so big that the family might need a social worker.
We call this Early Help. It is always up to your family to choose to accept this help as it will only work if we all work together.
If your family decides they would like some Early Help support, then lots of different professionals will get together for an Early Help Panel to find the best way to support you and your family.
A referral is usually made if an adult in your life is concerned about you or your family.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a social worker. Depending on you and your family’s situation, you may receive help a GP, you school, a youth worker or a group of professionals working together.
If we think you’re not safe then you will be assigned a social worker. They will find the best way to support you and your family. Your social worker will talk to you about what life is like for you and you can talk to them about any worries or questions you might have.
After meeting you and your family, the social worker will recommend what should happen next. This might mean you receive extra support from other professionals to keep you safe.
If you would like to contact us yourself for some extra support, you can phone us on 01296 383962.
Having a Child in Need Plan means you have your own social worker who will visit you and your family at least once every 4 weeks.
Your social worker will listen to your wishes and feelings and you can ask them any questions you have. They will talk to you about your family life and how they can best support you.
You can choose to meet your social worker in a place that you feel comfortable. This might be at your home or your school.
You and your family will help write this Plan. Your social worker will also meet with other professionals during this time to make sure the Plan is right for you.
Initial Child Protection Conference
An Initial Child Protection Conference is a meeting for you and your family with several people who care about you and want to support you.
At this meeting you will talk about how to make things better for you. This might include problems at school, at home or people you hang around with. Everyone together will decide on how to help and support you and your family.
You will have chance to share your thoughts, feelings and opinions and we will listen to you and help you find the support you need. At the end of this meeting a Child Protection Plan will be created to help support you and your family.
You and your family will be assigned your own social worker who will see you at your home at least once every 2 weeks.
Reviewing Child Protection Conference
After 3 months, you and your family will go to a Child Protection Conference to review how the Plan has been working for you.
All the professionals who have been involved in your Plan will be there. Together they will decide with you whether you still need the same level of support or whether changes need to be made.
If the professionals at the meeting that your family situation has not improved, they may decide that living at home might not be best for you at that time. In this case, living with someone else who could help support you improve your needs may be in your best interest.
If you would like to express what you are feeling before one of these meetings, you can share this with the professionals by using the Mind Of My Own app
If you have a disability and, or special educational and you and your family need some extra support, the Children with Disabilities team will work with you and your family to help support your needs. This team is made up of specialist Social Workers and Occupational Therapists.
You will have a written plan which is just for you and your family created by the education team, health services and social care with your family.
When you reach the age of 14 your wishes and feelings will be written into a Transition Plan which will help professional support you in your future.
When you are 17 years old, your social worker will ask adult services to talk to you about support you would like as an adult.
Sometimes it is not safe for you to stay at your family’s home. Your social worker will find you best place for you to live. This might be:
- With a member of your wider family, like an aunt, uncle, grandparent or family friend
- with foster carers in their family home
- in a children’s home
Wherever you live, the adults there will support you and keep you safe. Your social worker will visit you in your new home at least once every 6 weeks.
You can find out more here.
Looked After Child review
The purpose of this review meeting is to make sure that your care plan continues to be appropriate and that your needs are being met. The professionals who have been supporting you during your placement will be at the meeting.
We encourage you to go to the meeting to express how you are feeling. If you don’t feel comfortable attending the meeting, you can still share your wishes and feelings at the meeting using the MOMO app.
You will have your own Independent Reviewing Officer who will make sure everyone involved with you attends the review and that they all do what they have agreed to do after the meeting.
For more information on your review meeting, take a look at the We Do Care website.
When you are old enough to leave care we will continue to support you with things like education or training, finding a job, finding somewhere to live and helping you to develop your independence skills.
When you are16 you will be assigned a Personal Advisor who will help you become independent. They will work with you until you are 21 (or 25 in full time education). Your social worker will continue to work with you until you are 18.
Your Personal Advisor will work with you and your social worker to create your Pathway Plan. This is used to help you look at all parts of your life and think about where you are now, what you need and what you want for the future.
Find out more about leaving care here .
If you are facing difficulties at home, a Family Group Conference can help your family come up with a plan to support you.
At the meeting, you will work out a plan to strengthen family relationships and help to cope with issues you might be facing. Dealing with these issues as a family can prevent additional social care involvement.
This meeting is attended by:
- your family
- professionals (such as social worker, family support worker, GP, teacher, health visitor etc.)
- support person (a friend or professional who can speak for you if you don't want to)
If you need help from a Family Group Conference, a coordinator will talk to you to explain what will happen and understand your wishes and feelings before the meeting.
You can also express your feelings using the MOMO app.
The Children and Teenager Community Help team (CATCH) work with you and your family through challenging periods to prevent you from coming into care.
Your CATCH Worker will meet with you wherever you feel most comfortable. This may be at your home or somewhere else. Anything you say to them will be kept confidential.
You can be involved in supportive groups such as Therapeutic play, to help you work on challenges you may have.
After about 6 weeks you and your family will have a review to see if you still need the support of a CATCH worker.
When children's social care and other agencies have a concern that you may have been sexually exploited, the Swan Unit and its specialist workers will support you.
Child Sexual Exploitation is where adults misuse their power and control over you. This can lead to you being sexually abused.
Your specialist worker will ask you some questions and decide what support you need. This means you might have further help for you and your family from other professionals to support you and keep you safe.
A victim of CSE in Buckinghamshire described her experience;
“You get passed round…It wasn’t particularly me looking for them. It was them looking for me. It’s just that they pass your number around. Or you’re with one of them and they invite three or four of their friends round and then you have to sleep with them. Because you’re in their place and they’re making your life a bit more exciting you do what they want. I didn’t think they found me attractive… I was happy that I was wanted but I think that was about it. It was the attention”
If you are worried that you or a friend have been sexually exploited, please call us on 01296 383962.
Further information is available on the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board website.