Preparation for the 1st Looked After Review for Short Breaks (where Reg 48 is Applicable)
1. Short Breaks where the Child in Care Regulations are Modified (Reg 48)
For Short breaks where the Child In Care regulations are modified (Reg 48) the following applies:
- The purpose of the short break plan for a child in a short break needs to be substantially different from the plan for a child who is continuously looked after;
- Where a child receives short breaks, the parents have primary responsibility for planning their child's future;
- The short break plan should focus on setting out those things which will ensure that the child's needs will be fully met while the child is away from the parent;
- The short break plan should include all the key information about the child. These should not be separate plans which duplicate information. There is no requirement for a separate placement plan for children having short breaks but arrangements for the placement need to be included in the short break plan;
- This modified version of the Looked After process does not need the child to have a Personal Education Plan (PEP) or a Personal Health Plan (PHP), but will require that their health and schooling needs are continued from home to the placement in a continuous and smooth transition;
- In accordance with Reg 48, the plans for children in short breaks are reviewed less frequently than plans for other children. The first review is required to be held within three months of the first short break and at least six monthly from then on.
One month before the review date a reminder letter will be sent out by the Business Support Team confirming the date, time and venue of the review with the relevant set of consultation paperwork for the child and parent(s) and carer(s). It may well be best practice for the consultation paperwork for the child to be completed by the parent with the child when undertaking short break reviews under section 17, and 20 (Reg 48).
The updated and current short break plan will be entered onto the child's FWi record with an alert to the Short Breaks IRO that the system has been updated with this information three days prior to the review. The Short Breaks IRO will have the opportunity to see the completed consultation paperwork before the review.
2. Preparing the Relevant Paperwork for each Section 17 and Section 20 LAC Review where Reg 48 Applies
The following paperwork needs to be completed prior to the child receiving a series of short break reviews under Reg 48:
- Short Break Review Plan which includes signatures for emergency treatment from parents/carers with parental responsibility. This paperwork will be used at the first review and updated as required.
Service providers should present all necessary paperwork in relation to the individual child at the first review.
Invitations to attend the review will be discussed with the child or young person. In the majority of cases it would be expected that parents, Social Worker, the child and the service provider of the short break care will attend. In some cases it may be decided that the child prefers to meet with the IRO before the review or separately from the review meeting in a two tier process. The child's views on how they want the meeting to be planned are important.
Reviews should take place in the child's home where possible rather than in the provision of the service provider. This is to be as safe and informal a setting as possible and should not be included as part of a block booking to achieve as many reviews as possible. This is no longer viewed as good practice and must be avoided as far as practicable.
As a member of the Quality Assurance Service a critical part of the role of all IRO's is to support the driving up of practice within the Directorate. Therefore IRO undertaking review of short break placements will have processes that mirror those used by the IRO's reviewing care planning within the Team, such as raising concerns and issue resolution protocol, monitoring after each review and case oversight between reviews when necessary.