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2.5 Child in Need Plans and Reviews

This chapter does not apply to children who are the subject of a Child Protection Plan. Where the child is subject to a Child Protection Plan, this will be drawn up in outline at the Initial Child Protection Conference and in detail at the Core Group meeting(s). It will be reviewed by a Child Protection Review Conference. Please see the West Yorkshire Local Safeguarding Children Boards Consortium Procedures Manual in relation to the implementation of the Child Protection Plan.

For children who are in receipt of Short Breaks, see also the Short Breaks: Assessment, Planning and Review Procedure.

See also Children and Young People Aged 0 -25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Procedure


This chapter has been amended throughout in May 2013, and should be re-read in its entirety.


  1. Child in Need Planning Meetings 
  2. Child in Need Plans
  3. Reviews of Child in Need Plans

1. Child in Need Planning Meetings

Child in Need Planning Meetings will follow either a Child and Family Single Assessment, where the assessment has concluded that a package of family support is required to meet the child's needs under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

The Planning Meeting provides an opportunity for a child and his or her parents/carers, together with key agencies, to identify and agree the package of services required and to develop the Child in Need Plan.

All Child in Need Planning Meetings should be attended by the child (depending on age and understanding), parents/carers and those agencies whose potential/actual contribution is recommended as an outcome of an assessment.

The relevant social worker should discuss potential attendees for the Planning Meeting with the child and the parents/carers prior to arrangements being made for the meeting.

It will be important that an appropriate venue suitable for the child and his or her family are used for the meeting. Consideration must be given to transport, timing and any child care issues. Where a child is attending a meeting and is of school age the meeting should be held outside of school time, wherever possible. 

The first Planning Meeting will usually be chaired by the social worker's practice supervisor or team manager.

The social worker is responsible for convening the meeting and arranging invitations. 

A note of the meeting will be taken by the Chair. This record will be documented on the child’s electronic record and copied to those involved, including the child and parent/s, who will need to sign their agreement.

2. Child in Need Plans

A Child in Need Plan will be developed in a Child in Need Planning Meeting.

Most Child in Need Plans will envisage that Children's Social Care intervention will end within twelve months. During this time the Child in Need Plan needs to be regularly reviewed to decide whether escalation or de-escalation would be more appropriate than continuing with the plan. However, some children and families may require longer term support, for example disabled children.

When an assessment is being completed for a child that is not looked after to ascertain if a Special Guardianship Order should be made, the child will be considered as a Child In Need. The Team Manager will decide and record if a Child In Need Planning Meeting is required. This will be recorded on the Child's Electronic Record as a decision.

The Child in Need Plan must identify the Lead Professional, any resources or services that will be needed to achieve the planned outcomes within the agreed timescales and who is responsible for which action and the time-scale involved. All plans should be SMART.

In particular, the Child in Need Plan should:

  • Describe the identified developmental needs of the child, and any services required;
  • Include specific, achievable, child-focused outcomes intended to promote and safeguard the welfare of the child;
  • Include realistic strategies and specific actions to achieve the planned outcomes;
  • Include a contingency plan to be followed if circumstances change significantly and require prompt action;
  • Included timescales that are not too short or unachievable;
  • Not be dependent on resources which are known to be scarce or unavailable;
  • Clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of professionals and family members, including the nature and frequency of contact by professionals with children and family members;
  • Lay down points at which progress will be reviewed and the means by which it will be judged;
  • Detail the minimum frequency that the social worker will visit the child and family based on the needs of the child (and in accordance with minimum visiting frequency standards).

The Chair of the Child in Need Planning Meeting is responsible for the distribution of the Child in Need Plan. A copy of the Child in Need Plan should be provided to the parents, child (if old enough) and the agencies or other professionals involved in the provision of services under the Plan.

The Lead Professional will be responsible for implementing the plan including making referrals to appropriate agencies for services as described in the plan.

Where it becomes necessary to make minor adjustments to the plan and services provided, any changes to the plan must be made in consultation with the parents and the child (where appropriate) and key professionals from other agencies. 

3. Reviews of Child in Need Plans

Reviews of the plan should take place at six weekly intervals. However the multi-agency group may decide that less frequent reviews at up to three monthly intervals are required. Disabled children who are managed at CIN level 3 will be reviewed at a minimum of 6 months.

If there are significant changes in the family circumstances, an early review should take place.

Any child protection or safeguarding issues which arise during the course of a Child in Need Plan must be responded to in line with the West Yorkshire Safeguarding Board Procedures.

The Review will usually be carried out by the Lead Professional, who should invite or seek the views of the child, parents and any service providers. The responsible team will administer all Child in Need Reviews. 

The Review will take place within a meeting. The Lead Professional or their practice supervisor / team manager will usually chair the meeting.

The purpose of the Review is to ensure that the services provided are contributing to the achievement of the objectives within the time-scales set and that the overall plan remains appropriate.

Where it is proposed that a complex package of support being provided under a Child in Need Plan should continue beyond 12 months there should be a specific review chaired by the manager of the responsible team. Exceptions to this will be those cases where the plan acknowledges the need for longer term support, for example in relation to children who meet the criteria for the Disabled Children Team. 

All decisions made should be recorded on the child's electronic record, together with reasons, and dated.

A copy of the record should be sent to the child (if old enough), parent and all other participants in the Review process.

The outcome of a Review will be:

  1. That the child is no longer a Child in Need requiring Children's Social Care intervention, which will result in a recommendation to the team manager that the case be closed;
  2. That the child continues to be a Child in Need requiring the same level of services, resulting in the continuing provision of services and minor amendment, as necessary, of the Child in Need Plan;
  3. That the child appears to be suffering or is likely to suffer Significant Harm, resulting in the need for a Strategy Discussion/Meeting and possible Section 47 Enquiry as part of a Child and Family Single Assessment.

Where the outcome of the Review is an amendment to the Child in Need Plan, the Lead Professional should circulate a copy of the amended Plan to the child, parents, and other agencies/professionals involved in providing the services set out in the amended Plan, including any new services to be provided.