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3.1 Child in Need Plans and Reviews

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter describes the process for meeting the needs of a Child in Need following an assessment, including cases where the family move out of Borough. It explains the social worker’s responsibilities and the timescales for review.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was revised and updated throughout in March 2017 and a new Section 3, Child in Need Transfers was added and should be re-read.


Contents

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


1. Child in Need Planning Meetings

Child in Need Planning Meetings will follow an assessment, where the assessment has concluded that further social work involvement 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 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 social worker is responsible for convening the meeting and arranging invitations.

A record of the plan developed will be completed by the social worker. This Plan will be copied to those involved, including the child and parent/s, who will need to sign their agreement.


2. Child in Need Plans

Most Child in Need Plans will envisage that Children's Social Care  intervention will end within six months.

In particular, the Child in Need Plan should:

  • Describe what needs to change in the family and any services required to support the family to achieve this;
  • Identify the roles and responsibilities of the participants, including the family members. This must include a clear identified role for the social worker beyond monitoring the work of the other universal and targeted services. This will include the nature and frequency of contact between professionals and family members;
  • Include a contingency plan to be followed if circumstances change significantly and require prompt action;
  • Include timescales that are not too short or unachievable;
  • Agree next review date; this should be at about 6 weekly intervals.

The social worker 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.

Changes to the plan must be made in consultation with the parents and the child (where appropriate) and key professionals from other agencies. 


3. Child in Need Transfers

Where children have been on a Child in Need Plan in Waltham Forest and the family move out of the borough, consideration should be given to whether the family should be referred to the receiving authority for the continuity of a Child in Need plan.

Consent should be sought from parents to share information with the receiving authority and advising them of the need for a continuing Child in Need plan.

Where consent is not granted:

  • When families have moved, it is considered best practice that the social worker visits the family in their new home and confirm that the family are developing new community links; i.e. that they have registered with a local GP, health visitor, application have been made for a school;
  • Social work team is to make a decision based on their assessment of changes to family circumstances whether safeguarding referral is required to inform receiving authority or not;
  • Should safeguarding referral not be required, the decision must be recorded and the case closed to LBWF.

Where consent is granted:

  • The social worker should contact the receiving authority and make a referral as soon as possible (note this may be before the family have actually moved) including a copy of the most recent plan, the most recent assessment and a chronology;
  • This referral should be followed up by the social worker within 5 days to ensure that it has been received and acted upon;
  • The Waltham Forest social worker should visit the family in their new home and confirm that the family are developing new community links; i.e. that they have registered with a local GP, health visitor, application have been made for a school;
  • Waltham Forest Social worker will invite the new social worker to attend a joint visit with the family. Note this may be the same visit as above;
  • Within 20 days of the family having moved it is expected that a Child in Need meeting should have been arranged in consultation with the receiving social worker and the receiving professional network and family.

The case closure should be completed after the visit/Child in Need Meeting whichever is the latter.


4. Reviews of Child in Need Plans

Reviews will be conducted at six weekly intervals and usually be chaired by the social worker. 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 London Child Protection Procedures, Implementation of Child Protection Plans Procedure.

The purpose of the Review Meeting is to assess the progress of the plan; to decide if there remains a need for social care  involvement or whether the other involved services can manage the remaining changes.

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

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 although the child may continue to receive services from a single agency or under a multi-agency/early help plan; 
  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 at risk of Significant Harm, resulting in the need for a Strategy Discussion/Meeting and possible Section 47 Enquiry as part of an Assessment.
Where the outcome of the Review is to continue with a  Child in Need Plan, the social worker should circulate a copy of the amended Plan to the child, parents, and other agencies/professionals including any new services to be provided.

End