An open referral system is used. This means that referrals can be made by parents or relatives of the child or any involved professional. However, families are advised to seek the support of one of the professionals involved in the child’s care, for example a social worker or consultant paediatrician. Referrals will be dealt with by the Manager and/or the school administration team who will assist parents / carers / social workers to identify whether we are the relevant placement and also to devise the most appropriate Care Plan and care package.
When a parent / carer / authority requests a placement at Christopher’s Cottage, it is our policy to forward a referral request form. This should be returned, along with any other available relevant information e.g. educational reports, social history, court proceedings or psychological assessments. Following a referral meeting by the management team, a decision will be made as to the suitability of the placement.
Subsequently, arrangements are made for a manager to visit the child / young person either within their home or school to discuss the feasibility of a placement. Wherever possible, a care-planning meeting will be held prior to admission so that a Care Plan may be drawn up and an agreement from all parties is reached about the placement’s desired outcomes.
In some circumstances emergency placements are accepted, but a planned placement is preferable, and all relevant documentation must be completed within 72 hours.
On arrival, the parent / carer will be given a token to keep until the child / young person is collected at the end of their stay. The token is then given back to a member of Christopher’s Cottage staff in order to confirm that they are authorised to collect the child / young person. This system is particularly helpful if the child / young person is picked up by transport and taken directly to school at the end of their stay.
During a placement at Christopher’s Cottage, staff will help the child / young person to be safe, feel secure, and develop a routine.