SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter does not apply to children who are the subject of a Child Protection Plan. Where the child is subject to a Child Protection Plan, the outline Plan will be drawn up at the Initial Child Protection Conference and in detail at the Core Group meeting(s). This will be reviewed by a Child Protection Review Conference. Please see the Derby and Derbyshire SCB Procedures in relation to the implementation of the Child Protection Plan.
For children who are in receipt of Short Breaks, see also the Short Breaks Procedure.
This procedure was reviewed locally in May 2016 and updated as required; it should be read in conjunction with the Children in Need Guidance for MAT Teams and Social Work Staff.
1. Identifying Children in Need
Children in Need are children whose health or development will be significantly impaired without the provision of support and those who have been assessed with complex and serious needs where, without intervention, the child would become at risk of Significant Harm.
All Privately Fostered children are defined as Children In Need. A child is Privately Fostered if they are living outside the immediate family for more than 28 days. For further details see the Private Fostering Procedure.
Some children with disabilities are considered to be Children in Need which refers to a child who, as a result of their disability, has a substantial and enduring physical, visual, hearing or intellectual impairment AND that resulting from this impairment, the child is limited or prevented from undertaking activities appropriate to their daily living. The Disabled Children Service offer services to children if they meet the threshold for eligibility - (see Integrated Disabled Children's Service Procedure).
Children receiving short breaks services from the Integrated Disabled Children's Service, are reviewed by an Independent Reviewing Officer under the Looked After Review Process. All other children receiving services from the Integrated Disabled Children Service who are classified as Children In Need will be reviewed under this Procedure.
All CIN must have an assessment completed by a Social Worker; this includes CIN held in Multi Agency Teams (MATs). Following assessment a decision will be made at VCM as to where the case should be worked. Some CIN cases may be worked in multiagency teams, this must be a decision taken in discussion between Social Care and MAT managers (see Children in Need Guidance for MAT Teams and Social Work Staff).
All Children in Need require Child in Need Plans which are regularly reviewed through the Child in Need Review Process.
2. Child in Need Plans
All Children in Need must have a current Child in Need Plan. A Child in Need Plan will be developed during the course of a Single Assessment completed by a Social Worker. The Social Worker may complete this alongside a children's practitioner or MAT worker, especially where they are currently involved and have knowledge of the child and family. It is however the responsibility of the Social Worker to identify and evaluate risk, statutory responsibilities and level of intervention following assessment. The key worker must have a temporary single agency plan in place that outlines the work that will be completed in the 6 weeks between case allocation and the first network meeting which will involve the child, family and relevant agencies. The Child in Need Plan is the focus of intervention with the family.
All cases must have an initial progression of change tool – see Children in Need Guidance for MAT Teams and Social Work Staff for details.
Where appropriate, the Child in Need Plans will aim to address the critical issues within three months through intensive interventions. Where this is not achievable, it is nonetheless envisaged that Children's Social Care intervention will end within twelve months. Exceptions to this include Privately fostered children, children subject to Supervision Order under CIN, homeless 16 and 17 year olds, 16 and 17 year olds living independently, young offenders and young carers (where needs are not met by alternative service).
For all other Child in Need cases that have been open for 12 months this must be considered by the Team Manager in supervision. See Children in Need Guidance for MAT Teams and Social Work Staff for full details.
The Child in Need Plan will identify the areas of concern affecting the child or children and set out the changes which are needed. It will set out the actions required by the family or professionals, to achieve the planned outcomes within agreed timescales and identify who is responsible for which action. It must be set out in the agreed format.All Child in Need Plans should be SMART - that is specific; measurable; achievable; realistic and timely:
- Focus on the issues of concern and things that need to change. For example if school attendance is not an issue this does not need to be part of the CIN Plan;
- Ensure it addresses the risks and accounts for the complexities faced by the child/ren;
- Include specific, achievable, child-focused outcomes intended to promote and safeguard the welfare of the child;
- Include realistic, specific actions to achieve the planned outcomes;
- Where necessary, include a contingency plan to be followed if circumstances change significantly and require prompt action;
- Include timescales that are not too short or unachievable or that are open ended;
- 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;
- To be regularly reviewed and amended as appropriate through network meetings and Child in Need Reviews.
The Lead Professional (allocated Social Care or MAT 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 appropriate) and the agencies or other professionals involved in the provision of services under 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. Ideally changes should be made within network meetings or Reviews.
3. Reviews of Child in Need Plans
All Children in Need should have their plans regularly reviewed. All first Child in Need Reviews will be independently reviewed by a Child in Need Reviewing Officer. Once the assessment is completed, a request for a Review date should be sent to the CIN review team on LCS. The first Review should be booked by the first network meeting and take place within four months of the referral date. Subsequent Reviews will take place at six monthly intervals and will be chaired by another Team Manager in the Locality. If there are significant changes in the family circumstances, or a heightened level of concern an early Review should take place. The Child in Need Plan should also be reviewed and amended as necessary at regular network meetings. These should take place approximately every 6-8 weeks. If a CIN case is held in a Multi Agency Team, the Review must be chaired by a Social Work qualified Manager, this can be a MAT manager or a Social Care Manager.
For Privately Fostered child/ren the first Review must take place within 28 days from the initial 7 day visit to the child or young person confirming they are to remain in the placement. Subsequent Reviews will be independently chaired every six months for the first year. For long term stable placements (in excess of a year) consideration should be given as to whether these arrangements can be worked and reviewed under Level 2 Services subject to agreement from the Child In Need Reviewing Officer.
Where capacity allows Child in Need Reviewing Officers will also review:
- All child/ren following the end of their Child Protection Plan where a Child in Need Plan is identified. This review meeting is booked at the Child Protection Conference and takes place three months later. These delist Child In Need Reviews must take place even if the plan is to close;
- All child/ren where an Initial Child Protection Conference has been convened however a Child Protection Plan was not made and a Child in Need Plan was identified instead. This review meeting is booked at the Child Protection Conference and takes place three months later. These delist Child In Need Reviews must take place even if the plan is to close;
- If requested and appropriate, cases undergoing any private family law proceedings and are open to Social Care;
- One offs where there are difficulties within the professional network or where cases have been open for more than two years;
- Children who have previously been Looked After and are to be closed by the Exit From Care Team.
Participation - All children should be supported to participate in their Child in Need Review and it is the Social Care Worker's responsibility to ensure this is considered as to what is appropriate for each individual child. There are many ways for a child or young person to participate including the submission of a wishes and feelings form, a letter or any other format a child or young person wishes to use to express their wishes and feelings at the meeting. They may attend some or all of their Review or meet with the Reviewing Officer before or after the Review. All child/ren or young people attending their Review (or part of their Review) must be prepared by their Social Care Worker prior to the meeting - this must be discussed with Reviewing Officer prior to the meeting. It is also important to consider when it is not appropriate for child/ren to be present at the Review such as young children and/or where there may be conflict/tension and difficult issues being discussed.
Case transfers between localities: Child/ren in Need should ONLY be transferred at a Review - a Review may be brought forward for this purpose. This Review is arranged by the existing worker and attended by both the existing and new incoming worker (as set out in the transfer protocol). These are most likely to be subsequent Reviews and so chaired by the Team Manager. The only exceptions to this are transfers from Reception or if a worker is unexpectedly absent long term. Cases should be referred via VCM in advance of the Review to allow time for appropriate allocation.
No Child in Need Reviews are held in respect of child/ren where the ONLY issue is No Recourse to Public Funds.
Any child protection or safeguarding issues which arise during the course of a Child in Need Plan must be responded to in line with Derby and Derbyshire SCB Procedures.
Initial Child in Need Review - Actions for workers:
- A request for a Child in Need Review must be made via Liquid Logic. The request must be sent to the worktray of the Child In Need Reviewing Team 'CIN Review Admin';
- Book venue and interpreter if necessary - Reviews will, where possible, be booked in on static review days which will take place in Children Centre's in each locality;
- Complete the wishes and feelings forms (or alternative) with each child/young person. It is vital that a child's voice is heard at their Review and their wishes and feelings are represented - this applies to ALL child/ren. If child/ren do not wish to complete these or they are unable to due to age or disability, workers must consider how their views and feelings will be captured and presented at the Review;
- Complete the pre-meeting Report on LCS. This must be completed and approved by the Team Manager 2 days prior to the Review. The report must be shared with parents/carers and where relevant the young person at least one day prior to the Review;
- Set up the meeting on LCS ensuring all invitees are added including the relevant Reviewing Officer and identify them as the chair. For those professionals that are not created on LCS workers or their CSO must contact Business Apps with the details of such professionals and they will be created. Ensure the report is approved and the review outcomes form is assigned to the correct reviewing officer. Also to ensure any open plans are approved. If any of these are not done, the minutes for the Review cannot be added and therefore cannot be distributed. The minutes for cases that are closing to Social Care following the Review will be prioritised and completed within a week (unless Annual Leave prevents this);
- Support the attendance of parents and young person - ensure any issues are discussed with the Reviewing Officer prior to the meeting to ensure the best is gained from the Review;
- Make a note of the action points during the meeting.
The purpose of the Review is to review the progress and effectiveness of the Child in Need Plan. It should focus in particular on avoiding drift, ensuring that Social Care involvement ends as soon as appropriate, that interventions are effective and appropriate decisions to escalate are made if there is no progress or the situation deteriorates.
The outcome of a Review will be one of the following recommendations:
- That the child is no longer a Child in Need requiring Children's Services intervention, through full or partial achievement of the desired outcomes, which will result in a recommendation to the team manager that the case be closed and where appropriate multi-agency Level 2 intervention or universal services remain involved with identification of a Lead Professional.
- 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's needs have changed or are sufficiently complex and s/he requires additional services to safeguard and promote his or her welfare, such as to justify a further Assessment to be undertaken;
- That the child appears to be at risk of Significant Harm, resulting in the need for a Strategy Discussion/Meeting and possible Child Protection Plan.
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.