Sunday, August 06, 2006

#10 Integrated Children's System (ICS)

The Integrated Children’s System (ICS) is currently under development. It is both a 'concept' of all agencies working together, and it is also the core of an ‘Electronic Social Care Record’ (ESCR) for children that will hold all of the case records and information about every contact a child or young person has with social services. The nearest parallel is with health records and the NHS system, and in fact there is some reference between the development of the two systems, as this document, for example, explains.

It appears that everyone will, in time have an ESCR and work is already taking place on a ‘Single Assessment Process’ for elderly people that brings together medical and social care records. More information about this whole area can be gleaned by searching on strings such as ‘NHS +ESCR’ or ‘ICRS +ESCR’ (ICRS = Integrated Care Records Service).

To return to the children’s agenda, though: once the ICS is up and running, it is intended that when a child becomes involved with social care, an electronic message will be sent to the Children’s Index to inform everyone of social services involvement and to seek information about any other agencies’ involvement. If a CAF has been completed by any practitioner, this will form a starting point for a more comprehensive ‘Children in Need’ assessment to be carried out by social services.

Pilots of ICS are currently being carried out in several parts of the country, and the final reports are expected within the next few months.

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