Multi-agency working aims to support children and young people earlier to ensure they meet the five Every Child Matters (ECM) outcomes. The five outcomes of ECM state that we need to be working together to achieve the best possible outcomes for children in our setting. These outcomes are:
•Enjoy and achieve
•Make a positive contribution
•Achieve economic well being
Multi-agency working brings together practitioners from different sectors and professions to provide an integrated way of working to support children, young people and families. It is a way of working that ensures children and young people who need additional support have exactly the right professionals needed to support them. The early year’s foundation stage (EYFS) is clear that different professionals working together will help to improve outcomes for children in both their learning and development. It could be that records are shared or that observations of a child by a professional, such as a speech and language therapist or by a practitioner in the setting, may contribute to further assessment.
There are many outcomes for children that will be positive if the professionals working with the children and families can share and agree upon the way they might assess, plan and implement for the child. Both the children and their parents can be involved in any plans to ensure that the child can achieve their potential.
Anyone working together be that a team of two or larger will know that different opinion/ideas is known to be beneficial,
For example: If a child has speech problems - it may be more than just mechanical, it may be that a child is developmentally behind, so for the child a speech and language therapist (SALT) may be insufficient, it could be their environment - what is their home life like? Are their needs being met? Are they hearing social speech in the home? Do they have a dummy permanently in their mouth? Do they attend pre-school? (perhaps/hopefully) it was the pre-school that picked up the child needed help or perhaps the mother spoke to them or a health visitor or doctor if hearing/glue ear is suspected. To help a child such as this the pre-school may have sign posted the parent to the health visitor, who may then see the child in the home/setting or both (depending on what she observes) who then recommends a SALT, who then feels another professional is needed for development progress i.e. area senco/senco, education psychologist etc.
A meeting may be called where some or all (including the parent’s) to see how best a child can be helped. Targets are written up, agreed timetables on how long a child will be monitored/assessed and when professionals next meet up to see if all is going to plan or whether different/more/ less help is needed.
Working together everyone knows what is going on, what is or isn't working and what needs to be done next. I have been to meetings such as these and sometimes they work/go very smoothly with the child progressing, sometimes things don't 'move' at all and the multi-agency group have to see why, sometimes then, different methods are used, sometimes different professionals are called in, sometimes a CAF is called for.
There are many external agencies available to early year’s settings. Below are some of the agencies my setting interacts with:
OFSTED - Inspect provision of care in the setting. They ensure all of our staff are up to date on training, we are providing a healthy and safe environment for children and following the EYFS. Ofsted provide support and advice for staff and the setting itself.
Police – In cases of emergency the police will provide help and support. They will be contacted if a problem arose such as child missing, breaking an entry, suspicious persons and they may also be a point of contact if there is a suspected case of...