Meet the team

Walter McCulloch, Director of Children's Services

Having been Assistant Director for Safeguarding and Early Help Services for several years I am delighted to take up the position of Interim Director of Children's Services. We continue to focus on improving our services and, although we can see progress in some areas, there is more to do. The council is committed to delivering its Children's transformation plan with workforce stability and the implementation of Signs of Safety being critical this year.

If you are interested in joining the team please review the link to see what current opportunities there are in Children, Families and Education.

​Sharon Muldoon, Assistant Director for Quality and Performance

Sharon's service area covers all commissioning activity for Children Families and Education service, responsibility for the Safeguarding Quality Assurance Service, the delivery of Performance Management /Improvement Plans and finally the management of Northamptonshire’s Safeguarding Children Board.

Over the last 3 years Sharon has been a key part of the Senior Management Team of Childrens Services leading the Improvement Programme which resulted in the Local Authority receiving a ‘Requires Improvement’ judgement.  She has worked for the Authority for five years, having previously designed and delivered a centralised Business Intelligence and Performance unit for the Local Authority. Before working in Northamptonshire, Sharon has worked with other Local Authorities and held roles in the Voluntary and Private Sectors.

“Our services have transformed over the last 2 years and we have exciting plans for developing services which are outcomes focused, evidenced based and making a real difference in the lives of our Children in Northamptonshire.  We have a number of vacancies for Independent Reviewing Officers, Child Protection Chairs and key roles in Commissioning, if you are interested in joining our team. Please get in touch”.

Our Teams

At Northamptonshire, you’ll be joining a team of people from a wide range of backgrounds who are committed to making things better for vulnerable children and their families.

Here is some information about each part of our service and the support provided: 

Our Early Help and Prevention Teams offer intensive support and intervention packages to children and families with needs at Level 3 of Thresholds and Pathways and where those needs are likely to escalate to Level 4 or, even where needs and risk do not escalate, where children remain at risk of poor outcomes due to inadequate care and parenting; difficulties in behaviour management; impaired physical or emotional well being; poor attachment; neglect and poor educational attainment, all of which put them at a considerable disadvantage as they enter adulthood and risks perpetuation of a cycle that may well impact adversely on their own children.

The service has a vision of working intensively with the whole family to improve children’s lives and life chances.  They provide hands on support and guidance to families utilising Strengthening Practice tools to guide and inform their practice.  The Early Help and Prevention service work closely with families to achieve positive outcomes and make lasting change. 

Our Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub is the access point into statutory services.  The team is a well resourced multi-professional group who work together to make decisions in relation to safeguarding.

The team comprises of a range of agencies from across Northamptonshire including professionals from the Police, Health, Social Care, Youth Offending, Drug & Alcohol support services, and Education along with other virtual partners.

The team is dynamic and fast paced in its approach and utilises the skills of the multi-agency group to make sound safeguarding decisions at the point of contact.  The MASH will direct Children and their families to the right part of the service and the right time to meet their needs.

​The First Response team carry out safeguarding assessments utilising our strengthening practice framework.  They are a short term assessment team who fully complete assessments which identify the needs of families and ensure that the right service provision is in place for them.

This team comprises of skilled social workers who are able to complete timely and robust assessments of need and ensure that the right level of service provision is in place.   The team utilises our strengthening practice tools to ensure that the right service is offered to our children and young people at the right time.

Safeguarding and Care planning teams are longer term teams completing work with children who are subject to child protection plans, child in need plans and care proceedings. Social workers in these teams work with children, young people and their families to overcome complex difficulties and work holistically to help improve outcomes for children and young people to achieve their full potential.

Social workers in these teams are skilled professionals who are able to work with a variety of complex cases to achieve good outcomes for children.  Within the teams they will utilise strengthening practice tools to ensure that all risks are addressed and that the voice of the children and young people are at the centre of all they do. 

This team works with children and young people who have a long term plan of foster care and residential care. This is a long term team where social workers will build lasting relationships with the children and young people they work with and help them achieve their full potential.

This team are responsible for ensuring that the children and young people that they work with are afforded the best care, they advocate for them and ensure all of their assessed needs are met.  The Looked After Children’s service work with children and young people throughout childhood until they are 18 years old and work in partnership with all involved in the child’s life to ensure they achieve the best outcomes. 

​This specialist team work with children who have a plan for adoption. This team work with children to help prepare them for the transition to adoption and offer support to them and their adopters until an adoption order is made.

This team works with the safeguarding and care planning teams to help them write child permanency reports and ensure that plans are progressed in a timely, child focussed manner. Social workers in this team have experience of preparing children for adoption and work closely with them and their carers to ensure they are well prepared for their placements.

It is extremely important to Northamptonshire County Council that our children and young people have the best start in life as possible, and are happy and successful. Our leaving care team are a team of professionals who are committed to support our young people through to adulthood.

The leaving care team work with young people from the age of 16. Our care leavers are important to us and  our Care Leavers’ Charter sets out a list of promises that Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) have committed to making to young people moving out of care and into adulthood. Personal Assistants in this service are committed to abiding by this and working with our care leavers to achieve positive outcomes.

​The Adoption team work to recruit and assess those people who wish to become adoptive parents.  The adoption team are supported in this.

We pride ourselves on the support we give to our adoptive families. We are there for them every step of the way. Support includes training courses to develop their skills, advice and support from our professional team, and learning from other families who have been through the adoption process. 

Our fostering service is made up of three teams: 

  • Fostering recruitment
  • Connected Persons
  • Fostering

The service is responsible for the recruitment, training, assessment, support and development of foster carers in Northamptonshire. The fostering service undertake assessment of connected persons carers and offer them support and guidance.

The fostering service is a county wide service through which we aim to offer fulfilling and rewarding placements for our children and their carers.  Social workers in this part of the service work in partnership with the rest of the service to ensure that the best outcomes are achieved for our children.

​Our Emergency Duty Team  are experienced social work practitioners who provide cover for our day time services outside of working hours.

They work evening, weekends and bank holiday's ensuring that a high quality service is provided to our children and young people at all times. The team work closely with colleagues in partner agencies to ensure a swift response to any safeguarding concerns that arise.