The lead professional is a key element of integrated support, they take the lead to coordinate provision and act as a single point of contact for a child and their family when a range of services are involved and an integrated response is required.
The lead professional is core to the delivery of services for children with a range of additional needs where a level of multi-agency support is identified as being appropriate through the completion of a Common Assessment.
In Stockton-on-Tees the introduction of the role of the lead professional accompanied the pilot of Common Assessment Framework Process in 2006, this is being extended borough wide.
Where a child or young person with multiple additional needs requires support from more than one practitioner, the Lead Professional is someone who:
- Acts as a single point of contact that the child or young person and their family can trust, and who is able to support them in making choices and in navigating their way through the system
- Ensures that they get appropriate interventions when needed, which are well planned, regularly reviewed and effectively delivered
Children with additional needs is a broad term that refers to those children and young people whose experiences and characteristics may affect their capacity to thrive, and who require additional support in order to achieve their potential.
The needs of the majority of these children and young people will be able to be met through the intervention of single practitioners working alongside universal services. However, for a significant minority, their needs are such that they require an integrated package of support. These children will require a lead professional to coordinate the support they receive.
The lead professional could be identified from (but is not limited to) the following groups; Connexions personal advisers, health visitors, midwives, youth workers, family workers, substance misuse workers, nursery nurses, attendance officers, community children's nurses, school nurses and support staff such as learning mentors working in schools. Such practitioners could be drawn from voluntary, community or private sector organisations or from statutory services, depending on the agencies currently involved with the child or young person.
The lead professional will be identified from the group of practitioners working with the child, young person or family. They should be chosen through a process of discussion and agreement between those practitioners who are involved. Ideally the lead professional will be the practitioner who is most relevant to the child or young person's support plan and who has the skills to carry out this role. The person who takes on the role of Lead Professional will vary according to the specific needs of the child.
For more information on the lead professional, visit the Every Child Matters Website.
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