Waiting Lists and Referrals...!

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Waiting Lists and Referrals...!

Hello lovely Portage folk - hope you are enjoying the summer (such as it is).

We are really struggling with the volume of referrals to the service, resulting in longer waiting lists for families, which feels really uncomfortable to us all in Norfolk.

I wonder what other services are doing to mitigate what I imagine is a UK-wide picture? As the co-ordinator, I really feel I should be looking at different ways of working - my team are exhausted and it feels as though Portage are 'the answer to everything' - from Early Help, to Family Support and taking away from the remit of the Small Steps to Learning (far more social care-based needs, requests for housing, DLA, hardship funding etc) .  Over the 20-odd years I have worked in Portage, our referral demographic has changed markedly - we currently have a huge number of children with social communication issues, which is very different from the historical caseloads of children with CP, DS, chromosome deletion etc.  This has definitely increased since Covid. What are you finding? 

I am considering tightening up our referral criteria - currently we are 0-5 years with a delay in 2 or more areas of the EYFS of 6 months or more, until the child accesses 12 hours of funded pre-school provision.   Is that the overall general picture? This means that if a child is missing some areas of their SOGS assessment, the health visiting team refer straight into Portage - this can encompass speech and language and social/emotional, so we have a huge number of 'query Autism'  - children awaiting diagnosis (the lists for the neurdevelopmental service is over 3 years at the moment - speech and language also have long waiting times). 

I would really value your thoughts.  I have spent the summer holidays so far reflecting on how we can reach more children, with few staff, who are all at capacity already for September when they return...    PLEASE HELP! 

All best wishes, Mel