Merton's commissioned services for children and young people - an update
April 2017 brings a new financial year and a new configuration of council commissioned voluntary services for children and young people. During the preceding year the CSF commissioning team undertook a comprehensive procurement exercise to ensure the right services were commissioned to meet the needs of young people according to identified priority areas.
The procurement process incorporated consultation and market warming events, benchmarking exercises, reviewing of existing specifications, development of tender documentation and the establishment of an evaluation panel including Merton’s Young Inspectors. Contracts were awarded in late February to a range of providers:
Advocacy and Independent Visiting - Jigsaw 4U: 020 8687 1384
Advocacy and Independent Visiting is available for Looked After Children, children subject to child protection aged 10 upwards. The service aims to give children and young people a voice as they navigate the complexities of the social care system. The service is introduced by social workers to all children/families and referrals made directly to Jigsaw4U. Independent visiting is offered to children and young people with limited or no access to family support or where additional voluntary support is thought will benefit the child or young person.
Short Breaks for Children with Disabilities - Merton Mencap: 020 8254 8389 (access through the 'SENDIP' team)
Merton Mencap were successfully awarded a range of short break services providing Ofsted registered play schemes at weekends and during school holidays. The schemes offer various social and leisure activities and to enable their parents and carers to have a break from their caring responsibilities. The services are offered to young people who have a moderate or severe learning disability, complex needs, autism, and social communication disorders, and who may also have additional needs, such as: hearing impairment, learning disabilities, medical needs, mobility issues, speech / language disorders or visual impairment.
Alongside the short breaks offer Merton Mencap also secured continued delivery of both the Independent Travel Training and a Parents’ Membership Forum. Independent Travel Training supports young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities to start and sustain travelling independently, especially to their place of education which may be within Merton or ‘out of borough’. The service aims to increases choice for young people with SEND regarding transport options and contributes to greater confidence and independence for the young person.
The Parents Forum for parents/carers of children with disabilities and special needs offers support to parents to help them achieve improved outcomes for their children, and provides a means to meet other parents in the same or similar situation while giving them a voice to influence service provision and planning in the borough.
CSE and Missing Services - Catch 22, Risk and Resilience Service: 020 3701 8641
Catch22 were awarded the tender to provide our new combined CSE and Missing Service. The service aims to prevent or reduce missing episodes and reduce vulnerability to CSE. It will be achieved through the provision of independent Return Home Interviews (RHIs) and packages of support for targeted young people aged under 19 years who are missing from home or care and/or young people at high risk of or experiencing child sexual exploitation.
Catch22 will be notified of young people missing from home via the Missing Person Unit on a Police Merlin PAC (Pre Assessment Checklist). Referrals will be prioritised, through a weekly missing meeting and RHIs aimed to be conducted within 72 hours where the child or young person is from a vulnerable group. Referrals for CSE will come from Social Workers and /or may be identified through Return Home Interviews but will be agreed via the Children Services named lead for CSE.
Young Carers Service - Carers Support Merton: 020 8646 7515
The Young Carers programme will continue to be provided by Carers Support Merton. The service offers a programme of assessment and support to meet the specific needs of young carers and their families. All young carers referred will be assessed to determine their needs and to agree an action plan, which may include limited key working, referral to clubs, linking them with other local services, connecting parents to other local services. The focus will be to support young people to understand and manage their caring role, ensure they do not take on inappropriate levels of care and help them move towards greater independence and access to mainstream services.
Merton's Early Help offer
Merton's Children, Schools and Families Department continues to work in partnership with a range of voluntary and statutory organisations to offer a comprehensive package of early help services for children, young people and families in Merton.
Young people in South West London can access service information and advice and guidance from the young people’s health website: www.gettingiton.org.uk