Working with Children

We're developing a new approach to children's social care workforce development and social work education. We believe our Children's Social Work Academy will provide a clear professional development pathway in children's services. We know that we're developing and implementing the academy framework in an exciting and changing context that will provide challenge, clarity and continuity, as well as opportunity for progression and development. We also know that our service priorities will change and develop over time as the quality of our practice is enhanced and the needs of the service change.

Our key objectives:

  • Ensuring the high quality of our work with children, young people and their families.
  • Ensuring that children are the focus of our work and their voices must be central and heard in the work we do.
  • Ensuring that outcomes meet the children's safeguarding needs.

We have multiple teams with our Children's social care offering, including:

Initial Response Team

Referrals are made to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team, who triage it and if their decision is that the case needs to be opened to Children's Social Work for a Single Assessment, the case is then passed to the Initial Response Team. The case and the Single Assessment will be allocated to a worker within Initial Response. They will undertake the Single Assessment which will decide what happens to the case next.

Children & Families Team

Consisting of a team manager, practice development manager, social workers, family practitioners and a SWTRO, our Children & Families team work with cases that have been found to require further support either as Child in Need, Child Protection or Child in Care cases.

Permanence & Transition (P&T) Team

Within P&T are both social workers and family practitioners, however family practitioners work as case holding workers, or ‘personal advisors'. Cases are transferred to P&T as and when ‘permanency' is agreed and comprise of Children in Care for whom the plan is long term local authority care and Care Leavers, potentially up to age 24 years.

Children with Disabilities Team

Providing assessment, support and advice for all children who have a diagnosed disability, this team consists of social workers and community care workers who work across Devon. We aim to provide children and their families with the most effective and appropriate level of support.

Listening to the voice of the child

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) Team

A multi-agency service, sharing intelligence and making decisions about what action is required when concerns are raised about the welfare of children and young people. MASH is focused on helping families to find solutions to difficulties when they first emerge and increasing their resilience through our local, community-based services.


A multi-agency team responsible for reducing exploitation and absences from care and home.

Emergency Duty Service (EDT)

A team responsible for handling out of hours emergency responses to both adults and children.

Independent Review Unit

A service responsible for independently reviewing plans for children at risk of significant harm and/or in care and providing a quality assurance function through which intervention is independently overseen and quality assured. The IRU also chairs strategy meetings relating to allegations made against those working with children (LADO function).

Specialist Family Support Services

A service created from combining elements of the dedicated specialist services of Family Group Conferencing, Parent Child Assessment Service, Domestic Violence, Devon Integrated Support Services and Targeted Family Support Teams.

Mission Statement

The mission statement for Children’s Services was written by our children in care.

“Working to improve the safety and wellbeing of children and young people who are in care or leaving care across Devon by

  1. providing support if it is needed
  2. sticking to the promises made to children young people in Our Pledge
  3. fulfilling children and young peoples’ mental, physical, social and emotional needs”