Step between social care and early help services

Step Up and Step Down enables professionals from Children’s Social Care, Early Help Services and a range of other partners to support the child/family intervention and plan as they move between requiring statutory, safeguarding and specialist support, and targeted and universal services and interventions. Early Help professionals from a range of services and sectors are crucial to the step-down process as they enable continued targeted and universal support for identified cases once statutory services step out and close.

Step Up and Step Down is an extremely important function to ensure that children and families receive consistent, seamless support, at the right time and from a range of professionals and partners across the borough. When children/families have received a statutory intervention and have progressed positively, it is important that the progress made is sustained and that children and families do not feel that they are being passed from ‘service to service’.

The Step Up and Step Down Protocol - Early Help and Social Care provides guidance to support staff in Integrated Services, Social Care teams and other agencies, in achieving successful stepping between Social Care interventions for children, young people and families where it is agreed that statutory intervention is no longer required, and targeted universal services and interventions.

The desired outcome is that all interventions are proportionate to the family’s needs and at the optimum level to have the maximum impact in terms of supporting the family to achieve sustained change and preventing families from stepping back into social care. The child and family should experience the process as seamless and without delay. Key relationships should be maintained where this is in the child/young person’s best interest.