View West Yorkshire SCB Procedures Manual View West Yorkshire SCB Procedures Manual

5.5.1 Holidays and School Trips In and Outside the UK

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to day trips and holidays within and outside the UK for all Children Looked After.

RELATED CHAPTERS

For general procedures in relation to Activities and Transporting see Activities and Transporting Children Procedures.

PERMISSIONS

For a summary of the permissions and forms that must be completed in relation to this Chapter, please see the Permissions List.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was reviewed and updated in June 2015, when a note  was added into Section 1, Holidays for Children Looked After in the UK in relation  to Delegated Authority and the circumstances when Foster Carers can make decisions about taking children in their care on holiday.


Contents

  1. Holidays for Children Looked After in the UK
  2. Holidays for Children Looked After Outside the UK
  3. Holidays for Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers
  4. Holidays for Children on Child Arrangements Orders
  5. Holidays with/to Families and Friends
  6. Holidays where the circumstances are unusual
  7. When the Court's permission is required
  8. Insurance
  9. Holidays Abroad/Passports
  10. Taking Children on Day Trips and Organised Holidays

    Appendix 1: Passport Applications Guidance


1. Holidays for Children Looked After in the UK

1.1 Holidays for Children Looked After within the UK

Arrangements for notifying and consulting the Social Worker about holiday plans should be agreed in the Care Plan or within the Delegated Authority.

Where there is a proposal for a Child Looked After to go on holiday or a school trip, the child's social worker must obtain full information about the holiday/trip. This will include:

  • Proposed dates;
  • Duration;
  • Address of holiday location/what type of holiday;
  • Insurance details;
  • Who will be present on a family holiday e.g. names of other children and other adults;
  • If the holiday involves staying with friends or relatives, their names and addresses.

The child’s social worker will seek the views of the child and consent of the parent(s) or person(s) with Parental Responsibility, as soon as possible.

If there are two parents, for example, living separately, consideration should be given to:

  • Whether one or both parents should be asked;
  • What impact the consent of only one parent being asked will have on relationships between the child and/or the parents and/or with Children's Social Care. This should be discussed with the Team Manager and an accurate record of this discussion is to be placed on the child’s file by the child’s social worker.

If it is a group day trip or holiday, the Social Worker must be satisfied that adequate health and safety precautions are taken.

Where the social worker, parent(s) and staff/carer agree to the proposed holiday, the holiday can be approved and should be included in the child’s file within detail records. Written consent must be obtained from the of the parent(s) or person(s) with Parental Responsibility.

A signed copy of the written consent of the parent(s) or person(s) with Parental Responsibility is to be placed on the child’s file by the child’s social worker.

For children who are in a long term placement and there is agreement with the Children’s Services that the carers have Delegated Authority (see Policy for Delegation of Authority to Foster Carers and Residential Workers) depending upon the nature of the delegation agreed it may be the case that the carers are able to make such decisions themselves. However, good practice should ensure that decisions by the carers are shared in a timely way with the Supporting Foster Care Social Worker and / or child’s allocated practitioner.

Children must not be taken on holiday during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances that would be approved by the Head of School (See Consent for Absence from School Procedures).

Note that under the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, the previous ability of head teachers to grant leave of absence for the purpose of a holiday during term time in ‘special circumstances’ of up to ten school days leave per year has been removed. The 2013 Regulations make clear that head teachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’).

1.2 UK Holidays for Children Looked After within the UK where the Parent(s) or Person(s) with Parental Responsibility Do(es) Not Consent to the Holiday

Where the parent(s) or person(s) with Parental Responsibility do not consent to the holiday as set out in Section 1.1, Holidays for Children Looked After within the UK, the child’s social worker should consider whether the holiday should go ahead despite parental consent not being given.This should be discussed with the Practice Manager and an accurate record of this discussion is to be placed on the child’s file by the child’s social worker.

Written confirmation of the Practice Manager’s decision, together with the reasons should be provided to the Parent(s) by the child’s social worker.

It might be required for the Practice Manager and/or the child’s social worker to seek legal advice. Legal advice is to be sought in any event if the child is subject to s20 of the Children Act 1989 and the parent(s) or person(s) with Parental Responsibility do not consent to the holiday.

Where the holiday will interrupt contact arrangements between the child and parents, consideration should be given for additional contacts before and after the holiday.

An accurate record is to be placed on the child’s file by the child’s social worker.


2. Holidays for Children Looked After Outside the UK

2.1 Holidays for Children Looked After Outside the UK

Please ensure that the child has a valid passport prior to any travel arrangements being made. Where a holiday cannot proceed due to the child not having a valid passport, costs incurred will not be reimbursed.

Where the proposed holiday/time outside the UK exceeds the period of one month, an application must also be made to the appropriate Court for the Court's permission to allow the child to go abroad.

Arrangements for notifying and consulting the social worker about holiday plans should be agreed in the Delegated Responsibility.

Where there is a proposal for a Child Looked After to go on holiday or a school trip, the child's social worker must obtain full information about the holiday/trip. This will include:

  • Proposed dates;
  • Duration;
  • Address of holiday location/what type of holiday;
  • Insurance details;
  • Who will be present on a family holiday e.g.: names of other children and other adults;
  • If the holiday involves staying with friends or relatives, their names and addresses.

The child’s social worker will seek the views of the child and consent of the parent(s) or person(s) with Parental Responsibility, as soon as possible.

If there are two parents, for example, living separately, consideration should be given to:

  • Whether one or both parents should be asked;
  • What impact the consent of only one parent being asked will have on relationships between the child and/or the parents, and/or with Children's Social Care. This should be discussed with the Team Manager and an accurate record of this discussion is to be placed on the child’s file by the child’s social worker.

If it is a group holiday, the social worker must be satisfied that adequate health and safety precautions are taken.

A written document is to be produced by the child’s social worker which should include:

  1. The name of the person(s) with whom the child is going on holiday and their relationship to the child;
  2. Holiday address;
  3. Dates of the holiday;
  4. The views of the child;
  5. The views of the parent(s) and their consent to the proposed holiday. Where the parental consent is not obtained, details should be recorded;
  6. If a report from International Social Services (ISS) has been obtained, a summary should be included. It this has been requested and not yet received, the committee may agree to the holiday taking place, subject to a satisfactory report from ISS;
  7. Cost to the Council, if any. The necessary approval of expenditure should be attached.

An accurate record is to be placed on the child’s file by the child’s social worker. A signed copy of the written consent of the parent(s) or person(s) with Parental Responsibility is to be placed on the child’s file by the child’s social worker.

Children must not be taken on holiday during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances that would be approved by the Head of School (See Consent for Absence from School Procedure).

Note that under the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, the previous ability of headteachers to grant leave of absence for the purpose of a holiday during term time in ‘special circumstances’ of up to ten school days leave per year has been removed. The 2013 Regulations make clear that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’).

2.2 Holidays Outside the UK for Children Looked After within the UK where the Parent(s) or Person(s) with Parental Responsibility Consent to the Holiday

All details, including the written document as detailed in Section 2.1, Holidays for Children Looked After Outside the UK, are to be presented by the child’s social worker to the Service Manager for a signature.

Once a signature of the Service Manager has been obtained, a copy of the document is to be provided to the carer(s) accompanying the child on the holiday. A copy is also to be placed on the child’s file. Written consent must be obtained from the of the parent(s) or person(s) with Parental Responsibility.

2.3 Holidays Outside the UK for Children Looked After within the UK where the Parent(s) or Person(s) with Parental Responsibility Consent to the Holiday

Where consent the parent(s) or person(s) with Parental Responsibility do not consent to the holiday as set out in Section 2.1, Holidays for Children Looked After Outside the UK, the child’s social worker should consider whether the holiday should go ahead despite parental consent not being given. This should be discussed with the Team Manager and Practice Manager an accurate record of this discussion is to be placed on the child’s file by the child’s social worker.

Written confirmation of the Practice Manager’s decision, together with the reasons should be provided to the Parent(s) by the child’s social worker.

It might be required for the Practice Manager and/or the child’s social worker to seek legal advice. Legal advice is to be sought in any event if the child is subject to s20 of the Children Act 1989 and the parent(s) or person(s) with Parental Responsibility do not consent to the holiday.

All details, including the written document as detailed in 2.1. are to be presented by the child’s social worker to the Service Manager for a signature.

Once a signature has been obtained, a copy of the document is to be provided to the carer(s) accompanying the child on the holiday. A copy is also to be placed on the child’s file and should be included in the child’s Placement Plan. Written consent must be obtained from the of the parent(s) or person(s) with Parental Responsibility.

Where the holiday will interrupt contact arrangements between the child and parents, consideration should be given for additional contacts before and after the holiday.

An accurate record is to be placed on the child’s file by the child’s social worker.


3. Holidays for Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers

The procedure is the same as for Children Looked After (see Section 1, Holidays for Accommodated Children and Holidays for Children Looked After Outside the UK) except that:

  • Approval is unlikely if the child/young person wishes to go on their own and/or to a destination which could call into question the integrity of their original claim for asylum;
  • The child's social worker would have to endorse the holiday by signing the consent form.


4. Holidays for Children on Child Arrangements Orders

The procedure is the same (see Section 1, Holidays for Accommodated Children and Section 2, Holidays for Children Looked After Outside the UK), except that the written consent of every person with Parental Responsibility for the child is required, or else the leave of the Court before the child can be taken out of the country. The person in whose favour the Child Arrangements Order is made may take the child out of the country for a period of less than one month without the above consent or leave of the Court.


5. Holidays with/to Families and Friends

If it is proposed that the holiday/trip be with a family member or friend, social workers must ensure that adequate checks are undertaken as set out in Social Visits (Including Overnight Stays with Friends) Procedure.


6. Holidays where the circumstances are unusual

If it is proposed to arrange a holiday for a Child Looked After to a destination where the child may be at risk, for example, where there is political unrest, concern that the child may not return as planned or other circumstances which may make it unsafe for the child, it may be necessary to seek the approval of members.

In these circumstances, the social worker should consult the Practice Manager who may decide to seek the authority of members.

If it is decided that the matter should be referred to members, the social worker should draft a report to include the following points:

  1. The name of the person(s) with whom the child is going on holiday and their relationship to the child;
  2. Holiday address;
  3. Dates of the holiday;
  4. The views of the child;
  5. The views of the parent(s) and their consent to the proposed holiday. Where the parental consent is not obtained, details should be recorded;
  6. If a report from International Social Services (ISS)  has been obtained, a summary should be included. It this has been requested and not yet received, the committee may agree to the holiday taking place, subject to a satisfactory report from ISS;
  7. Cost to the Council, if any. The necessary approval of expenditure should be attached.


7. When the Courts permission is required

If the child is the subject of a Care Order and the holiday abroad is for more than one month, an application must also be made to the appropriate Court for the Court's permission to allow the child to go abroad if the parent's written agreement is not obtained.

Where a Court Order is required, the social worker should contact Legal Services as soon as possible for the necessary application to be made and advise the Parents of the intended application.

If the holiday is authorised by the Court, the holiday should be included in the Placement Plan/Placement Information Record and additional contact arranged as above.


8. Insurance

8.1 Medical Treatment during visits to EEC Countries

Children travelling within EU/EEA countries and Switzerland will be covered for medical treatment through a European Health Insurance Card. An application form can be downloaded from the following website, or be collected from the post office. The Department of Health also provides health advice for travellers. For children under 16 years old, the form needs to be completed by the parent(s) or foster Carer(s) and be submitted as a family application. Young people over 16 can apply for a European Health Insurance Card in their own name.

8.2 Private Medical Insurance Cover or Insurance Cover for Holidays

In situations where medical cover is required at short notice, it is suggested that private insurance cover is taken out.

The insurance referred to in Section 8.1, Medical Treatment during visits to EEC Countries during visits to EEC Countries above only covers a child for medical treatment and not for loss of luggage, cover for cancellation of the holiday etc. Therefore a private insurance policy is needed for a child travelling abroad.


9. Holidays Abroad/Passports

9.1 Holidays Abroad

The social worker should ensure that the carer is provided with a letter which confirms:

  • Name, age, date of birth of the child(ren);
  • Legal status of the child(ren), name of the authority to whom the order is made;
  • Names and addresses of carers;
  • Name of person giving permission for the holiday, date given;
  • Duration and destination of holiday for which permission is given.

The carer should be advised to keep this letter with the passport.

A copy of the letter should be put on the case file.

The social worker should ensure that the following information about the holiday is recorded on the case file:

  • Holiday destination, address and telephone number;
  • Start and end dates;
  • Emergency contacts;
  • Details of the tour operator telephone numbers etc;
  • Details of travel Insurance.

The social worker should check the following with the carer prior to the holiday:

  • That medical and accident insurance has been obtained;
  • That the carers have an E111 for the child obtained from the Post Office. It is advisable that an E111 is obtained as this gives clear advice on which countries medical treatment will be given free or at a reduced cost. Most European countries are covered.

Consent for medical treatment form will be taken on holiday.

9.2 Passport Applications

The following should be read in conjunction with:

Appendix1: Passport Applications Flowchart and Checklist

Additionally, the United Kingdom Passport Agency provides guidance for social workers seeking to obtain a passport for a Child Looked After, to view this guidance see Home Office Identity Passport Service Guidance for Social Workers. Information is also available from the GOV.UK website.

  • All children aged 16 years and over will be interviewed;
  • The social worker who makes the application has to have a UK passport - however if the social worker has a passport that was issued in another country, they have to provide extra documentation e.g. photo copy of passport;
  • Photos these must be recognised passport photos; It is not acceptable for a carer or worker to take a photo e.g. with a digital camera and then gets this developed "passport size"; THESE PHOTOS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Photos:

  • Children must be in a sitting position; this can be difficult for some children who have a disability;
  • Hair should not cover the face;
  • Makeup should not be worn;
  • The face must be clearly shown.

Do not attach photos to application form with paper clips/staples etc. There should be no marks at all on the photo's the passport offices are very strict on this and will return the application and photo to be redone, incurring an additional fee.

Signatures:

  • Principle officers sign Section 9; social worker must sign Section 10 and includes their passport number etc.;
  • If the child is 12-15 years old they must sign Section 6, their signature goes on the passport;
  • If the young person is aged over 16 years then s/he must sign Sections 6 and9, these apply in all cases even if they are the subject of a legal order. Note: It is important to ensure that all signatures initials etc. have the same date the passport offices will return applications to be redone incurring an additional fee.

Other Supporting Documents:

  • In all cases the child's and their mother's birth certificate are required;
  • If the mother was born after 01-01-2003 the maternal grandmother's birth certificate is also required;
  • If the maternal grandmother is deceased then the birth certificate will still be available from the register office;
  • If the child is the subject of a Legal Order e.g. Care Order, Interim Care Order, Placement Order, Adoption Order etc, please note the passport office request an original copy of the Order (in the case of Interim Care Orders they have accepted a faxed copy after it was explained that the Court no longer send out originals but faxes the renewals);
  • If the child is placed for adoption then a copy of the Placement Order is required;
  • If the child is adopted then a copy of the Adoption Order is required;
  • If the child has changed his/her name, all paper work pertaining to this must be sent;
  • A letter on headed paper is required see LAC-04i. This should be signed by the Principle Officer on behalf of the Group Director of Early Intervention and Safeguarding.
  • Please make sure the letter is signed and dated on the same day has the passport application.

Timescales:

  • Ideally all children who have a Permanency Plan should have a valid passport. The social worker should know where this is kept at all times. This should be recorded on file;
  • In all cases the field social worker, residential worker, foster carer and the proposed adoptive parent should seek consent for holidays for Child Looked After. This should be done as early as possible to ensure that enough time is available for the social worker to apply for the passport. In any event the carer should be advised not to book a holiday until consent has been given.

Consent:

  • If the child is accommodated under section 20 Children Act 1989, parents must be consulted with a view to obtaining their agreement. In such instances good practice would suggest that involving the parent in the passport application process is recommended for example obtaining their signatures etc.;
  • If however there is no contact between the child and their parents, contact has been terminated or it is not in the child's best interests to do so. Advice should be sought from the Legal Section;
  • Should the parent refuse to give consent and this is deemed unreasonable then advice should be sought from the Legal Section.

The application, and all supporting documents should be sent to the relevant Passport Office within 4 weeks of the date on the application.

If this timescale is missed then the application will be returned for resubmission; this will incur an additional passport fee.

Passport Fee

The fee for passports will vary depending on the type of passport that is applied for, and how quickly it is needed. Check the GOV.UK website or call 0300 222 0000.

  • Standard service, normally three weeks but up to six for first time passport applications;
  • Premium service, guaranteed one-day service for renewals and amendments only;
  • Fast Track service, guaranteed one-week service for renewals, first child passports (under 16 years old) and amendments only.

Applications

  • By post: use pre-addressed envelope that comes with this pack, it is recommended that applications are sent using Royal Mail Special or Recorded Delivery services;
  • By the Check and Send Service at the main Halifax Post office Commercial Street. There is a handling charge for this service.
  • By Appointment: book an appointment at one of seven regional offices by calling the Passport Advice line on 0300 222 0000. Note: this is only available for customers using the Fast track or Premium service. It is not available for First time Passports for young people aged 16 +.

When collecting the passport for a child you need; proof of your identity, and a letter signed by the person who signed Section 9 of the form giving permission to collect the passport. 


10. Taking Children on day trips and Organised Holidays

When planning day trips or organised holidays, the following must be taken into account:

Activities and Transporting Children Procedures.


Appendix1: Passport Applications Flowchart and Checklist

Click here to view: Passport Applications Flowchart and Checklist.

End