What is Threshold of Need?
What is the Threshold of Needs?
As carers, we become familiar with the terminology, acronyms and abbreviations which are unique to care. One such phrase carers hear is “threshold” often in the context that concerns do not reach the threshold for the local authority to begin legal proceedings or pursue a full care order. Often when services are working with families the focus is on keeping children at home.
When concerns and risks escalate the next option is to consider a parent entering into a voluntary agreement with services (Section 20 ). Where concerns continue this will be measured by “threshold criteria” and evidence gathered during this process will become the basis for the local authority requiring a court order to ensure that the “child’s needs are paramount”.
Local authorities have a duty to assist families who need help bringing up their children under the Children Act 1989 . The threshold is summarised in the graphic below and more information on what the tiers represent and how they are interpreted is available within each local authorities Children’s Safeguarding Hub. The evidence required by the Local Authority forms a Chronology.
It is not expected that carers will make decisions however it is important to understand that working as part of the team around a child will mean that recordings, observations and notifications of significant events will also contribute towards the assessments and decisions made for children, particularly where a child is not already subject to a Care Order.
A Carer recalls “Sophie arrived on a Sunday night as an emergency accompanied by police officers and Duty Social Workers. I was told that Sophie had been of concern for some time but as the family were avoiding working with services it had been an anonymous call which had led to the Police removing Sophie from home. Initially, contact plans were put in place however the parents’ behaviour and a long period of Social Workers trying to work with the family along with concerns about the impact this had on Sophie who had made a number of disclosures contributed towards the Local Authority gaining an Interim Care Order, without having a period of time to be assessed away from the home Social Services were not able to evidence that Sophie needed protecting and had been told they did not. meet “threshold”.
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