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Central to the GIRFEC approach is a common framework (the My World Triangle) and criteria (the wellbeing indicators) for assessing and meeting the needs of children, called the National Practice Model (please see the diagram opposite). This common approach keeps the child at the centre and provides one point of contact between the family and the involved agencies and services. This single point of contact is called the, ‘Named Person’. If a child has not yet started school, their Named Person is most likely to be the health visitor. Once they are at school, it will be a guidance teacher, head teacher or depute head.
In Aberdeenshire teaching staff and health visitors are already doing much of what a Named Person will do. They are considering a child’s whole wellbeing and asking themselves what they can do to support the child if something is getting in the way of their wellbeing.
They are drawing in support from other professional services where appropriate, and making sure the child and their parents are at the centre of any discussions. They are thinking about what information it might be helpful to share and they are discussing this with the child or parents (unless there are more immediate child protection issues).
This process is known as the Child’s Network of Support, the network of Support promotes wellbeing to ensure children and young people get the right help at the right time.
The network will always include family and/or carers and the universal services of health and education. Many will draw support from their local community. Most of the child or young person’s needs will be met from within these networks.
Only when support from the family and community and the universal services can no longer meet their needs will targeted and specialist help be called upon.
Each child who requires support whether from a single universal service or several agencies will have this support coordinated by a Lead Professional and recorded within a single plan. In Aberdeenshire we call this a Multi-Agency Action Plan.
When is all this going to start?
In some parts of Scotland, children and young people already have a Named Person. It’s expected to be in place across the whole of Scotland by 2016.
Where can I find my Named Person?
If your school already has the Named Person arrangement in place your head teacher or guidance teacher will be able to tell you more.
The Named Person will usually be either a head teacher or a guidance teacher and they are already there to help and support you. The Named Person won’t be a new, different person, it will just reinforce the work a guidance teacher or head teacher already does and make it easier for you (or your family) to get extra help and support if you need it.
It will be up to your school to decide on exactly how things work and to explain this to you.
Where can I find out more about my rights?
Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People is a good starting place.
What if I don’t need any help or support?
Most children and young people get all the love, care and support they need from their families and their wider community.
But you have the right to know that someone is there for you if they need them. And they will also look out for you, and check that things are OK if they have any concerns.
Do you get a Named Person before you go to school?
Yes. Every child from 0-18 gets a Named Person. From birth it’s likely to be the Health Visitor, until they go to school when the role is taken on by a head teacher, depute head or guidance teacher.
What about after you leave school?
If you leave school before your 18th birthday you will still have a Named Person until that birthday. The local authority (council) where you live will be responsible for making the Named Person service available to you, and they will be required to publicise the arrangements they have put in place.
Many school leavers will be in further or higher education, training or employment, and managing other aspects of their lives with the support of family, friends and community resources. If this is the case for you, you will be unlikely to seek assistance from the Named Person service, or be brought to the attention of the Named Person as needing some support for your wellbeing.
However, even if you are managing well, there may be times when you need some additional support which will prompt you, your parents/carers, or a person who has concerns for your wellbeing, to contact your Named Person. Your local authority will need to have arrangements in place to provide general information or advice, to offer support via a local authority service, or to signpost you to other relevant services.
What if I’m already getting help from someone else?
If you’re already getting help and a plan has been written, then your Named Person should know about it and will be helping you too as a ‘partner to the plan’. This means that everyone helping you will work better together as a team with you.
Can people talk about me behind my back and keep records about me?
The whole point of this approach is to involve you in decisions that affect you. There might be some occasions when your Named Person (and perhaps others) need to make a decision for your own safety and protection but in most cases you will be fully involved. And there might be a time when someone else is worried about you and thinks your Named Person should know what’s going on. But they should discuss that with you, so that you should know what’s being said and how it might help you. And they will only share what’s necessary so that you can get the right kind of help.
What is the Children and Young People Act?
The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act is an Act of the Scottish Parliament. It’s a set of new laws that aim to help make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up. The new laws should make sure the Scottish Government and public services (like schools, colleges, health services and the police) keep encouraging and supporting children’s rights. It will also make the public services that support children and young people even better. Almost 2,500 children and young people got involved in telling us what they thought about the suggestions for the new law.
Find out more about the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act
Young carers are children and young people aged 18 and under, who provide or intend to provide care for another individual. The care required may be due to a disability, long-term illness, mental ill-health or drug or alcohol dependency. It also includes support to siblings if the parent is not able to do the parenting role without assistance.
Caring can take many forms and include physical. practical and emotional support; such as cooking, cleaning, giving medicine, assistance with dressing and washing, paying bills or keeping the cared-for company.
Caring for a family member can be very rewarding, but also hard work. Young carers often have to look after themselves too and can find it difficult to keep up with schoolwork, go out with friends and stay healthy.
The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 was implemented in April 2018, to ensure adult and young carers are supported to manage their caring responsibilities with confidence and in good health, and to have a life of their own outside of caring. Our Local Young Carer Strategy details how Aberdeenshire Council intend to support young carers.
Quarriers Aberdeenshire are commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council to provide a Young Carer Support Service. Quarriers offer advice, information and support, which can include support to complete a Young Carer Statement.
- Universal Guidance Notes on Young Carers (docx, 82kb)
- Young Carer Referral Form (docx 735kb)
- Quarriers Aberdeenshire Young Carers Leaflet
- Carers (Scotland) Act 2016
- Further young carer information, including Young Carer Packages and Young Carer Grants can be found on the Young Scot webpage, https://young.scot/campaigns/national/young-carers.
- Young Scot have also produced a useful Young Carer Jargon Buster(pdf 3.6Mb).
Getting it right for every child and young person is a national policy to help all children and young people grow, develop and reach their full potential. Its focus is to improve outcomes for children and their families based on a shared understanding of their wellbeing.
In Aberdeenshire our ambition for our children is clear: we want Aberdeenshire to be the best place in the Scotland for children and young people to grow up. We want them to be loved and cherished, safe and healthy, and to enjoy being young. – It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, after all.
We believe that joining up children’s services – with children’s wellbeing at the heart of that approach – will help us achieve that ambition. That’s where our getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) approach comes in.
GIRFEC isn’t an extra thing people have to do. It’s a way for those who support children to work differently, making sure they are all on the same page. Where needed, GIRFEC links day-to-day work in education, health, policing, social work and the voluntary sector – in fact any public or voluntary organisation whose staff come into contact with children. It makes it easier for those different organisations to communicate consistently with each other, and with children and young people.
If your child or young person needs some extra support or if the named person is worried about their wellbeing, they may suggest writing a plan to makes sure that any issues or problems can be dealt with.
You should be involved in the plan and so should your child whenever that is possible.
It’s THEIR plan after all!
The named person might use the wellbeing wheel to guide the conversation with you and your child and there are 5 questions they will ask themselves to make sure they get the right support and help:
The 5 questions the named person will consider:
- What is getting in the way of this child or young person’s wellbeing?
- What can I do now to help this child or young person?
- What additional help – if any – may be needed from others?
- Do I have all the information I need to help this child or young person?
- What can my agency do to help this child or young person?
There might be other people who could help you and the named person can put you and your child in touch with them.
Unless there was serious worries about your child’s safety the named person would nearly always speak to you and your child before sharing information with other people.
You should then meet up with the named person again after an agreed time to review the plan and see how you are doing.