There is a statutory requirement to provide services to Children in Need and their families.
Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 defines a child as being in need in law if:
- He or she is unlikely to achieve or maintain or to have the opportunity to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development without provision of services from the LA;
- His or her health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision of services from the LA;
- He or she has a disability.
Development in this context can mean physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. Health can be physical or mental health. The definition will include any child or young person under the age of 18. The service can also be provided to the child's family or any member of his or her family so long as the aim is to safeguard and promote the child's welfare.
Work with Children in Need involves primarily the provision of advice and/or intervention with the objective of promoting the safe upbringing of children within their own families and communities and preventing escalation to higher level services such as placements in care, child protection work or entry into the criminal justice system, which have a profound cost both financially and socially.
See below for guidance for practitioners based in social care teams and MATs to ensure consistency and quality in relation to the delivery of early help services across the city.