Purpose: To bring together different agencies into one meeting where there are concerns about a child or a family identified within a Common Assessment Framework (CAF) – but not enough for statutory intervention – to source support services and agree an Action Plan for implementation.
In English: A meeting between the family and different professionals to find support and help for a family where the social worker is not, at this stage, considering “Child In Need” status, “Child Protection” status or removing the child/ren. The social worker would have completed an assessment known as a CAF to identify areas where parents or children might need a bit of extra help. During the meeting, an “Action Plan” will be agreed between everyone; for example, the Health visitor will make a referral to Speech Therapy by X date.
Who will attend:
- Child/ren (where age-appropriate)
- Social Worker
- Whichever agencies are involved. This might be midwife, health visitor, school nurse, nursery teacher, school teacher, special educational needs teacher, speech therapist, CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service) and/or any other support worker who might be working with your family or able to offer extra support.You should know everyone at the meeting.
Parental involvement: Whilst the social worker is likely to “take charge” and chair the meeting, it can only go ahead with the full permission of the parent/s. You should be involved in the planning of the meeting, for example; who you think should attend. If English is not your first language and you feel you need an interpreter, you can take a family member, or your can ask your Social Worker if one can be provided by the local authority.
Child/ren involvement: The child/ren should also be fully involved in the meeting process, but only where this is age-appropriate. There’s no hard and fast rule to this, as one child at the age of ten might be able to understand what’s happening, compared to another child of the same age who might not. The general rule though is that nursery age children and young primary age children would not ordinarily be too involved.
Venue: The meeting should be held somewhere quite central, but with thought given to how you will get there. It can also be in the family home, if you feel more comfortable there and there’s enough space.
My experience: TAC/TAF meetings tend to be quite a relaxed affair where the focus is very much on support. Because there has been a CAF assessment done, no one is fixated on safeguarding issues, though of course all the usual rules apply – if there are concerns about the safety of the children, things will escalate. I’ve never felt “on my guard” at these meetings, purely that people are there to help me and my family.
Preparation: The social worker will be known as the “Lead Practitioner” which means they will be responsible for inviting others, sorting out the venue and chairing (being in charge) of the meeting. This doesn’t mean that you as parents can’t be just as involved though! Think of this as a chance to work together with your social worker; if you have an idea about who should come, then say. Similarly, if you think there’s a reason why someone else shouldn’t come, you can also talk to the social worker about this. You and your children are the focus, and trying to get the best support network in place for you all is key – so your views are really important. Follow the tasks below to be fully prepared
- Make sure you know who is going, their profession, and why they’ve been invited.
- Talk to the social worker about the “agenda” for the meeting and ask to be involved in adding what you think might be useful.
- Think about what you want to get out of the meeting, for your family. For example, you might feel that your child needs extra support in school, or you might be concerned about aspects of your child’s health, or you might need a bit of practical support within the home. Make a list of your “objectives” and refer to them in the meeting.
- If you’re not familiar with the venue or don’t drive, refer to http://www.traveline.info/ – a journey planner where you can input the postcodes of where you’re travelling from and to and a time and date of travel. If you do drive, you can put the postcodes from and to into a Google search and up should pop a route planner.
- To the meeting take a pen, some paper and your “objectives”.
- Listen to what is being said and jot down key points, suggestions or ideas that people have around the Action Plan and take down any review meeting dates.