Child in Need Plans and Reviews
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure applies where allegations are made or suspicions are raised that approved prospective adopters have caused Significant Harm to a child. It also applies where allegations are made by or in relation to a child placed for adoption or a child already adopted and in receipt of adoption support services. It may relate to recent abuse or neglect or historical abuse
The procedure should be read in conjunction with the West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures.
In July 2020 this chapter was updated to reinforce practice in relation to Child in Need Review Meetings. In Section 2, Child in Need Plans, a note was added to reflect the importance of using the Review meeting to consider the objectives in the Child in Need Plan and whether these are still being met; if not would an alternative intervention be more appropriate? In Section 3, Reviews of Child in Need Plans, the process for decision making a Child in Need Plan is to be ended was updated; such decisions can only be made within a Review Meeting, and the views of the family, and other involved professionals will be clearly recorded. After this the social worker will make a recommendation to the practice manager who can make an informed decision as to whether the case should be closed or escalated. Any professional not present at the Review meeting must be consulted to ensure the views of all involved are represented
1. Child in Need Planning Meetings
Child in Need Planning Meetings will follow a Child and Family Single Assessment, where the assessment concludes 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 their 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 their family is 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 Manager 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
The Child in Need Plan will be developed in a Child in Need Planning Meeting.
The period of intervention under a Child In Need Plan is not time limited; however it is important to regularly review the objectives in the Plan as part of the Child in Need Planning Meeting. This will help to ensure that the intervention continues to be appropriate in meeting identified the child’s needs, and allow consideration of whether an alternative intervention would be more appropriate.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 6 weekly intervals. However the multi-agency group may decide that less frequent reviews at up to 3 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 Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection 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 Manager / team manager will usually chair the meeting.
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:
- 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;
- 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;
- 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.
Any decision made to end a Child in Need Plan must only be made within a Review meeting as part of the review of the Child In Need Plan. The views of the family, and other involved professionals, will be clearly recorded and the social worker will make a recommendation to the practice manager who can make an informed decision as to whether the case should be closed or escalated. Any professional not present at the Review meeting must be consulted outside of the review meeting to ensure the views of all involved are represented.
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.
4. Children in Need Moving to Another Authority - Principles
This section deals with children who are subject to Children in Need Plans and who move to another local authority. The principles apply to local authorities in the circumstances of both transferring out and receiving in Children in Need.
In a number of situations, a move by children and their families to another local authority is a positive step. However, and particularly where children and their families may have moved on more than one occasion in a short space of time, the move may be a cause for concern and any assessment should consider the impact of the move on the child, including whether the child may be subject to trafficking or modern slavery.
- When a Child in Need moves from one local authority area to another, the Children Act 1989 is clear that the responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child lies with the local authority where the child is to be found;
- Given the child has already been identified as having particular needs or as being vulnerable in some way, urgent consideration / assessment should be given as to the impact of the move for the child in respect of their vulnerability, for example, through changes in the protective factors, increased risk with known perpetrators or whether they might be subject to trafficking or modern slavery;
- Given the circumstances, and in line with the above, a timely response should be made with regard to levels of assessed risk. For cases transferring into Calderdale, the case will be received by the MAST team and transferred to the CAT team for assessment in line with local arrangements and timescales for assessment;
- The parent/carer should be made aware of their responsibility to ensure the child receives appropriate education and health support in the area they plan to move to, together with any other specialist service required for the child;
- The social worker should assist and promote the family accessing relevant and appropriate services with regard to meeting the child's needs. Any deficits in services to meet specific needs by the receiving local authority should be noted;
- The local authority Children's Social Care Services where the child and family are moving to should be formally notified and all relevant information should be shared:
- Social work assessment;
- Child in Need Plan;
- Minutes of latest Child in Need Review;
- A summary / case report.
- Parent / carer's permission should be sought to share this information with the receiving local authority in line with Information Sharing Advice for Safeguarding Practitioner.
However, Data Protection legislation should never be a barrier to 'sharing information where the failure to do so would result in a child or vulnerable adult being placed at risk of harm' or indeed on those occasions where seeking consent might increase the risk of harm.
If necessary the social worker or team manager, should consider seeking advice from their Caldicott Guardian or their Legal Services;
- The social worker should ensure that other agencies involved in the Child in Need Plan are made aware and prepared to ensure that their relevant information is shared as soon as possible with their respective counterparts in the area the family have moved to, (for example school and GP records, etc.);
- The social workers and team managers of the respective authorities should ensure there is clear and good communication during any transition and any risks are clearly communicated and understood.
Where possible, the social worker should seek to meet their counterpart and where geography allows, to consider a joint visit and attendance at the Child in Need Meeting, so that the issues can be fully shared. The process should reflect the family's needs and any associated risks;
- Where there is dispute about case responsibility; delay in the receiving local authority accepting responsibility of the case, or a dispute about Children in Need thresholds, the team manager should promptly notify the Service Manager who should make a decision regarding next steps, including, where necessary, to take legal advice;
- The family should be kept informed of any respective responsibilities during a transition stage and when the receiving local authority, (where the family reside), take full responsibilities;
- Receiving local authorities should seek to convene a Child in Need Meeting within 30 working days of the family being resident in their area and include all relevant agencies and, where possible, the social worker and other specialist staff where the child and family have moved from;
- All actions, decisions and arrangements should be fully recorded on the child's case record during this process. This should include management decisions, which should identify the rationale for any decisions made, especially where specific services cannot be provided and/or it is considered the child is no longer a Child in Need.