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Children’s Social Care

Children’s Social Care provides frontline specialist services to children and young people aged 0 to 24 years, and is responsible for ensuring that the children and young people of Lambeth are protected from abuse or neglect.

Lambeth Children's Threshold Chart downloadable link

What we do

This is a legal duty for which the Local Authority is held to account by the Government and by the public. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined in the legal guidance as:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment;
  • Preventing impairment of children's health or development;
  • Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
  • Taking action to enable all children to have the best chances.

(Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013).

Lambeth short breaks policy

We are currently in the process of retendering our short breaks service within Lambeth. Our Commissioning and Children with Disabilities team are working together to ensure that the new short breaks statement is fit for purpose, whilst also linking it to the new service set-up. The new short breaks policy will be finalised by September 2017.

During this period we will be looking to engage with families regarding the statement to help us to develop it – if you would like to be involved in this, please contact Sharon Kitson at Contact a Family This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or on 020 7326 5270 or 07415 643 902.

Lambeth short breaks statement report downloadable report

To fulfil our legal duties we have systems in place to provide the following services to children, young people and their families:

1. Referral and assessment

  • We provide an initial response to referrals and use thresholds to consider whether a referral will be accepted, whether an assessment will be undertaken, and what services will be offered or provided. This ensures that help is targeted at those children who are most vulnerable, and that any decisions made about services are consistent.
  • If a referral is accepted, staff will carry out an assessment to identify the child’s level of need and risk, and decide on an appropriate plan of action and services to be offered depending on this assessment.
  • When a referral is below threshold, Children’s Social Care will provide referrers with information on more suitable resources and pass the referral to other services where appropriate.

2. Support for Children in Need

  • For children who meet thresholds (‘Children in Need’), Children’s Social Care put in place Plans and Packages of Family Support to meet their needs and review these regularly. For almost all children in need or at risk staff work in partnership with families to ensure that children are safe and thrive within their own families.
  • The legal guidance states that a child shall be considered “in need” if:
  • S/he is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision of services by a local authority;
  • Their health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision of such services; and/or
  • S/he is disabled.

3. Child Protection

  • For children at the highest risk of abuse or neglect, Children’s Social Care works with other organisations on child protection matters including:
  • Making enquiries and carrying out investigations,
  • Arranging for the immediate protection of children considered to be at risk of significant harm,
  • Putting in place Child Protection Plans with our partner agencies, acting as lead agency for these plans.

4. Children Looked After

  • Sometimes, for a number of reasons, children are not able to live with their families. In these cases, the children will be cared for by the council. This is called being 'Looked After'.
  • All children under the care of the council have Care Plans, and these plans reflect the child's needs and take account of their wishes and feelings, as well as the views of family and other important people in their life. Children’s Social Care keeps in regular contact with all Looked After children, including visiting them regularly.
  • The council has an education support service specifically to support young people in the care of the local authority. For more information on this service, which is called The Virtual School, follow this Link
  • The council also makes plans to give the child a stable future. If this cannot be with the birth family, extended family or others who are important to them, we will make plans for adoption, foster care or for a place in a residential home.

5. Children with Disabilities

The Children With Disabilities Service is a Specialist service which supports children who have profound, severe, complex and long-term needs, and their families. It provides access to a wide range of support for children and young people according to assessed need from age 0 to 19 years, and then on until they engage with Adult Services.

Read the Eligibility criteria children with disabilities.

For more information follow this Link.

6. Other specialist services

  • We also provide support for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking children and other vulnerable children, including children who come to the attention of the hospital service, children of parents who have No Recourse to Public Funds, privately fostered children and adopted children.

7. Support for Care Leavers

  • The council provides a service to help young people who at the age of 16 are Looked After and are preparing to leave the care of the council, and young people between 18 and 21 (and up to 24 in higher education) who have been looked after by the council and are entitled to Leaving Care Services (Leaving Care Act 2000).
  • The service makes sure that young people leaving care are helped to achieve their potential in education, career and employment. Working in partnership with other organisations, the council also aims to make sure that there is support available for young people in the community.

Where we do it

International House Canterbury Crescent Brixton London SW9 7QE

If you have any concerns about the wellbeing of a child or would like to make a referral

Please contact the Referral & Assessment Service: By phone: 020 7926 5555 In an out of hours emergency: 020 7926 1000 You can also talk to a teacher, doctor or health visitor or call your local police station in Brixton, Vauxhall, or Streatham on 020 7326 1212In an emergency dial 999

For Further information about making a complaint about a Local Authority Service please click this link: http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/elections-and-council/contact-us/make-a-complaint-guide

Complaints about social care for children can be made by e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or by telephone: 020 7926 9777