Our teams and framework

The work our social work teams do and how they do it.

The Family Safeguarding Model video

"My manager and I have a mutually trusted relationship, she really listens and has my back."

Social Worker, Children’s Disabilities Team

Our practice framework

We are currently redesigning our children's social care to implement the Family Safeguarding Model.

The Family Safeguarding Model is a new way of working with families so that they can stay together and children can remain safely at home, where possible. This will be achieved through a more collaborative way of working where parents are motivated to identify the changes needed within their own families, helping to achieve better outcomes for children.

The model will support children's social workers to tackle the challenges of children's safeguarding, particularly domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health, through multi-disciplinary teams that can work with the adults in the family. This whole family approach to child protection will provide help and support to children from different professionals working as one team.

The model will not significantly change the current early help and targeted support services but will co-locate these teams with the Family Safeguarding teams where possible.

As part of this new model, we will be working with parents to build on strengths and identify positive changes, including:

  • Motivational interviewing – a strengths-based conversational approach that encourages families to choose change rather than imposing it on them.
  • Multi-disciplinary teams - a team of specialists working together to address parental domestic abuse, mental health and substance misuse.
  • The family safeguarding workbook and family programme – an assessment of need leading to a programme of tailored support.
  • Group case supervision - monthly supervision for each case with input from every professional working with the family.

What difference will the Family Safeguarding Model make?

  • Families will be offered the right support at the right time in order to help them to reduce the risks to their children and enable children to stay at home where it’s safe to do so.
  • Schools and local community partners will play a key role in identifying and supporting families who need early help.
  • Our new whole-family approach will aim to reduce the number of children coming into care and being taken away from their families.
  • The approach will focus on increasing the engagement of families with professionals, and information sharing between professionals will be strengthened.
  • Health and education outcomes for children will be improved.
  • The model will free up social workers' time, enabling them to spend more direct time working with families and less time on administration.
  • High quality services will continue to be provided at a reduced financial cost to the County Council and partners, and provide better outcomes for children.

Our teams

  • Assessment and Intervention team

    Our Assessment and Intervention service is based in Crawley and Worthing. Fast-paced, busy and supportive, the teams assess and work with children and families and will intervene where children need support, to provide help at an earlier stage.

    The teams also:

    Team members work directly with children and their families while also partnering with agencies, including the police and health, to ensure the best possible outcome with sustainable, positive change.

    The service ensures a strong link with our Early Help colleagues to promote local community support for children and families when social care no longer needs to be involved.

  • Family Support and Protection team

    Our busy and aspirational Family Support and Protection team works with children and families at the point in their journey where there are safeguarding concerns.

    Based in Horsham, Worthing and Bognor Regis, team members:

    • work within a positive, diverse, nurturing environment where successes are celebrated and individuals within the team are supported to grow and develop
    • undertake meaningful, transparent, direct work with children and their families to ensure the most positive outcomes, and act to reduce risks
    • play a key role in child protection, child in need cases and safety planning for children
    • work with children throughout a court process - from pre-proceedings to initial court hearings and finally court proceedings - to ensure there is consistent support for the child throughout
    • work with children who return to their birth families, where it is safe to do so.

    Two members of our team discuss working in West Sussex in a YouTube video.

    "Working within West Sussex is good because I feel that our managers value us, that we really work well within teams and we support each other within teams as Social Workers. I feel that there is a lot of flexibility in the way we work as Social Workers. I feel that West Sussex is the best place to work and live."

    Social Worker, Family Support and Protection Team

  • Adolescent and Family Resource team

    The Adolescent and Family Resource service works with young people on the edge of care or who are already looked after.

    Not all families coming to the attention of children's social care need care and protection due to abuse and neglect; acute stress can be a contributing factor to family dysfunction and breakdown.

    Based in Horsham, Worthing and Bognor Regis, the Adolescent and Family Resource service's philosophy is to work both directly and indirectly with:

    • groups of young people on the edge of care, such as those who find themselves on the cusp of a statutory intervention due to family disruption, conflict or abuse and neglect 
    • children and young people who are already looked after, where there is the opportunity for reintegration back to the family home.

    This can also include young people who are subject to a Special Guardianship Order or Adoption Order.

  • Children Looked After team

    Our dedicated Children Looked After service has a passion for making a difference to our looked after children, alongside an interest and experience of the adoption process.

    The team work with and support children who:

    • remain in long-term care where it is not safe for them to return home
    • may be placed for adoption
    • are subject to a Special Guardianship Order, helping them achieve permanent homes through reunification with their families
    • are leaving care.

    With a focus on outcomes-based care planning for children, including access to an in-house therapeutic assessment and intervention team, they work with young children and teenagers to support them to achieve and plan to build their lives as young adults ready to leave care and live independently.

  • Children's Asylum team

    With Gatwick Airport within our borders, the Children's Asylum team provides a child protection duty response to the airport, and manages new arrivals of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children across the county.

    The team is small and specialised, with social workers who champion best practice with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and complete age assessments.

    Working in partnership with a range of agencies, including a dedicated mental health practitioner, the Children’s Asylum team completes high-quality and timely assessments of need. These ensure good care and planning so that this vulnerable group have the right support, accommodation and legal advice, and their health, education and care needs are met.

  • MASH team

    As the first point of contact with children and families, our social workers in the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) can influence their entire journeys.

    As a fast-moving service, everyone has a voice in relation to the development of the service and can make a difference to delivering the best outcomes for children and families.

    The MASH team continues to develop practice and build strong relationships with a wide range of partner agencies. These include police, health and housing professionals who are co-located and working together to ensure the best outcomes for children and young people.

  • Fostering and Adoption teams


    Fostering social workers act in a supervisory manner for foster carers and usually work across West Sussex. The Fostering Team:

    • undertakes assessments of all notified fostering arrangements
    • promotes awareness of fostering across the county with partner agencies and residents
    • ensures all ongoing fostering arrangements are supported and visited within regulatory time frames.


    The Adoption Team works with prospective adoptive families, from adoption recruitment to support pre-adoption order, and in partnership with colleagues from across Children’s Services and our regional adoption agency, Adoption South East.

    The team also has social workers who specialise in Special Guardianship Orders and assessments.

  • Child Disability team

    The Child Disability team provides a specialist service for children with more complex, lifelong disabilities and autism.

    Members of the team:

    • work with children, their families and other agencies to meet their assessed needs and help them achieve their potential
    • provide ongoing help and support to children in need, children looked after or children in need of protection.

    Teams based in Horsham and Crawley cover the north of the county, while those based in Worthing and Bognor Regis cover the south.

    We also have countywide teams that cover the whole of West Sussex.

  • Conferencing and reviewing service

    The Conferencing and reviewing service work with children who are subject to child protection plans and with the children that we care for. The team chair conferences and review meetings, ensuring that all our children have plans that are outcome focused and are achieving positive impact.

    The team provide ongoing oversight, leadership and assurance, driving aspirational practice and improvements across the system.

    The team is county wide and responsible for:

    • chairing child protection case conferences
    • chairing reviews for the children that we care for
    • ongoing oversight, assurance and impact in driving children’s plans throughout the child’s journey
    • providing specialist practice knowledge to support operational teams
    • generating system wide learning through completing auditing of children’s files.

    Find additional information.


Please note this video uses YouTube's automated captions, which we have checked for accuracy.

Video of some of our team talking about working through the COVID-19 pandemic

2 mins

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