Receiving Notifications from Other Local Authorities or Placement Providers Regarding Children Looked After Placed in Calderdale
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter addresses the action to be taken on receipt of a notification from another local authority that a Child Looked After has been placed at an address in the authority.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was updated in June 2014 in line with the Children's Homes and Looked after Children (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2013 in relation to notifications received from children's homes of children admitted to/discharged from the Home (see Section 1, Introduction). In addition, Section 2.1, Responsibilities of Children's Social Carehas been reviewed locally and amended; it describes the action to be taken when a notification is received that a Child Looked After has been placed in Calderdale by another local authority or placement provider.
Where a Child Looked After is placed in the area of another local authority (regardless of the type of placement), the placing authority is required to notify the local authority's Children's Social Care Services where the child is living. (The relevant education and health Service for the area in which the Child Looked After is placed must also be notified). The notification will include the address where the child is placed.
Each local authority (Children's Social Care Services) is required to maintain a register of Children Looked After for whom it is responsible and all Children Looked After placed in its area, including those children who are the responsibility of another local authority.Under the Children's Homes and Looked after Children (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2013, the Manager of a children's home must notify without delay the area local authority (if different from the placing authority) of the admission to/discharge from the Home of any child.
The notification must state:
- The child's name and date of birth;
- Whether the child is Accommodated under Section 20 or subject to a Care Order or Supervision Order;
- The contact details for:
- The child's placing authority; and
- The child's Independent Reviewing Officer.
- Whether the child has an Education, Health and Care Plan and, if so, details of the local authority which maintains the Plan.
Register of Children Looked After
In Calderdale the register of Children Looked After includes the following information in relation to each child:
- The name, gender and date of birth of the child;
- The name and address of the person with whom the child is placed and, if different, the name and address of the child's parents and all those with Parental Responsibility;
- The name of the placing authority and allocated social worker including contact details;
- Whether the child has a Child Protection Plan;
- Whether the child is Disabled;
- The date on which the placement was made and the date when it terminated including the reason for the termination;
- The child's legal status;
- Where arrangements have been made by the host local Children's Social Care Services to undertake the duties of the placing local authority; what those arrangements are and the name of the person within the placing authority with whom they were agreed.
Where children are placed in a series of short term placements at the same place, these can be treated as a single placement provided that all the placements occur within the period of a year, no single placement is for longer than four weeks and the total duration of the placements does not exceed 90 days.
2. Procedure on Receipt of Notifications in relation to a Child Looked After placed in Calderdale
2.1 Responsibilities of the Children's Social Care Teams
Any notification received at any point of contact within Calderdale from another local authority or a Calderdale 'private' children's unit that a Child Looked After has been placed in the authority should be passed immediately to the Multi-Agency Screening Team (MAST).
MAST will log the information onto CASS as a request for service/contact ensuring all the information provided is recorded within the request for service/contact. The contact will be closed with an outcome of 'child placed by another LA'. By completing the recording process an automated register of children placed in Calderdale by other LA's can be generated from CASS. MAST will check and search the address on CASS to establish whether there is any information recorded in relation to the address, for example, recorded incidents of domestic violence. If so, this information must be communicated to the allocated social worker in the local authority with responsibility for the child.
Where the placing local authority requests that the authority carry out certain functions in relation to the child on its behalf e.g. supervision of the placement, assisting with a S47 investigation this should be made clear within a referral to MAST. MAST will process this request to the relevant team. If the request is a safe and well visit or a S47 this will be processed immediately to the Children's Assessment Team (CAT) for action if agreed. MAST will inform the referrer of the decision and any follow up action, points of contact within the Children's Assessment Team. If the request is an ongoing requirement MAST will process the referral to the relevant Locality Team if appropriate and following legal advice if required, and provide the referrer with the relevant contact details. The Locality Team manager will arrange a formal planning meeting involving representatives of the placing local authority. The Locality Team manager will take responsibility for chairing the meeting.
In these circumstances, the authority may agree to undertake the following:
- Supervise the placement in order to be satisfied that the welfare of the child continues to be suitably provided for; and/or
- Visit the placement on a regular basis.
It would never be appropriate for the authority to agree to a request to supervise a child placed in secure accommodation and/or subject to Section 53 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.
Where it is agreed at a planning meeting that the authority will undertake supervision of a placement on behalf of a placing authority, a social worker will be allocated. The placing local authority should be requested to provide sufficient information about the child and the placement to enable the social worker to supervise the placement competently, including the following:
- Care Plan;
- Placement Plan/Placement Information Record;
- The most recent Review of Arrangements Form.
The agreement to supervise the placement should be detailed in writing and signed by the relevant Head of Service of Children's Social Care for the two local authorities. It should include an expectation that the allocated social worker in the authority will be invited to contribute to the child's Looked After Review.
Where a significant incident arises in the placement whilst the child is placed, Children's Social Care Services in the authority will be expected to respond to the presenting needs. However, except in an absolute emergency (e.g. where it is not possible to contact the child's social worker or their Team Manager, or if out of hours the placing local authority's Emergency Duty Team), Children's Social Care Services in the authority should not take any significant action or remove the child, without consultation with the child's social worker or Team Manager within the placing local authority.
Children's Social Care Services in the authority should never take action on the basis of the placing authority's verbal authority, but must be certain that required actions are as a result of a written request, by fax or secure email.
At all times case management responsibility remains with the placing local authority.
In the event that Children's Social Care Services in the authority has to have an involvement in an emergency situation where the child is suffering or is likely to suffer Significant Harm and the placing authority cannot be contacted, any action should be on the basis of the requirements of the with West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures.
2.2 Maintaining the Register
The Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Team is responsible for maintaining the register of Children Looked After as required by Regulation 10 (see Section 1, Introduction) and will ensure that the name of the child is added to the register.
This register includes:
- Children looked after by the authority;
- Children looked after by another local authority but placed within the authority, where there has been agreement that the authority will carry out some of the responsibilities of the placing local authority;
- Children looked after by another local authority but placed within the authority, where the placing local authority continues to carry out all the functions in relation to the child;
- Once the information has been logged onto a contact/referral MAST will email the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Team administrator with the relevant details so that the details can be added to the register.