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3.1 Child in Need Planning and Review

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter identifies the procedure for making and reviewing plans for children who have been assessed as being a Child in Need. The chapter explores children who are on the edge of becoming Looked After or subject to Child Protection Plans and identifies a ‘step up step down’ process.

The chapter also acknowledges Private Fostering and those children subject to this are ‘Children in Need’.

RELEVANT CHAPTER

Knowsley Complex Needs and Resource Panel

See also Practice Standards.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was amended in December 2016 to provide additional detail in respect of stepping down and ending a Child in Need arrangement. (See ‘Section 9, Step Down’ and Section 11, Ending Child in Need Plan).


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Child in Need Plan
  3. Reviewing Child in Need Plans
  4. Following the Review Meeting
  5. Outcomes of the Review Meeting
  6. Recording the Plan
  7. Visiting Requirements for a Child / Young Person Subject to Children in Need Procedures
  8. Supervision Orders
  9. Step Down 
  10. Private Fostering
  11. Ending Child in Need Plan

    Appendix 1: CIN Pathway

    Appendix 2: Private Fostering Flowchart


1. Introduction

This document is a single agency procedure for Children and Families Services in providing services to children and young people who are deemed to be ‘Children In Need’, requiring intervention at Level 4 of the Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council’s Continuum of Need and Response Model.

Section 17.10 The Children Act 1989 provides a definition of a Child In Need.

A child shall be in need if:

  • He is unlikely to achieve or maintain or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him of services by a local authority;
  • His health and development is likely to be significantly impaired or further impaired, without the provision for him of such services; or
  • He is disabled. [1]

    [1] www.education.gov.uk/workingtogethertosafeguardchildren

This is a generic definition of Children in Need which may apply to all children at Levels 3-4 of the Continuum of Need and Response model, however, some for whom Children and Families Services are not the main provider of services.

Children and Families Services provide targeted services for children with more complex needs or at risk of Significant Harm at Level 4 of the Continuum:

Level 4 (Children In Need)

  • Highly complex needs (including Children With Disabilities);
  • A need for multi-agency high level support for children / young people who are experiencing compromised parenting;
  • A significant risk of family breakdown;
  • A likelihood of Significant Harm but where the risk can be managed outside of a Child Protection Plan;
  • Any child subject to a Supervision Order should be reviewed via a CIN meeting.

Level 4 (Children in Need of Protection)

  • Children and young people who are suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm;
  • Children whose needs can only be met through a Child Protection Plan;
  • Children who have made subject to a legal order as a result of Children and Families Service initiating Care Proceedings.

Within these procedures the term Child in Need refers to children at the lower end of the Continuum at Level 4.


2. Child in Need Plan

An initial Child in Need Plan can be initiated at any time during a Single Assessment following the initial Team manager (TM) review at (0 - 10 days). The TM will record their decision in the Single Assessment. A Child in Need (CIN) Plan needs to be opened and competed by the social worker for the child.

Once the decision has been made by a Team Manager to progress a case to Child in Need, the Social Worker should convene a formal meeting in no longer than 7 working days.

The information and any actions agreed at the CIN meeting will support the completion of the Single Assessments and multi-agency CIN plan.

The Child in Need Plan should be developed at a meeting which includes the child/ren, parents, extended family and relevant professionals who can usefully contribute to the collation of the information and the formulation of the Plan. The meeting is arranged by the allocated social worker.

The Children in Need meeting can be chaired by a Team Manager, Senior Practice Lead or Social Worker, however where a case is allocated to a newly qualified social worker, the initial CIN meeting will be chaired by a Team Manager or Senior Practice Lead.

The CIN plan should be reviewed every 6 weeks.

NB: (With the exception of child in need cases held in the Children with Disability Team. The frequency of reviews should be agreed by a Team Manager and the reason for the frequency should be recorded on the child’s record in the case summary).

Every child in need receiving a service should have an individual Child in Need Plan which details:

  • Any unmet needs of the child/young person;
  • Overall objectives of the Plan;
  • Tasks to be achieved to meet the objectives;
  • Services to be provided and what their purpose is;
  • Responsibilities for each aspect of the Plan;
  • Timescales for the tasks to be achieved;
  • Views of the child / young person;
  • Review arrangements.

The Child in Need Plan ensures that:

  • All children and young people have clearly stated objectives for them to gain maximum life chance benefits from education, health care and social opportunities;
  • Desired outcomes are clear. The plan includes SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic Targets) objectives which are reviewed at every multi agency Child In Need meeting;
  • Consideration is given to factors which protect children from Emotional, Physical and Sexual Abuse and Neglect.


3. Reviewing Child in Need Plans

The CIN plan should be reviewed every 6 weeks.

NB: With the exception of Child in Need cases held in the Children with Disability Team. The frequency of reviews should be agreed by a team manager and the reason for the frequency should be recorded on the child’s record in the case summary as a minimum or earlier if required.

The meeting is arranged by the allocated social worker and responsibility to chair and minute review meetings can be decided by members of the meeting. If the case is deemed to have a level of complexity, then the Team Manager or Senior Practice Lead may decide to attend and chair themselves.

If any family member is unable to attend the CIN meeting, they should be assisted to present their contribution in either written or verbal format. Professionals who are unable to attend must provide a written report in advance of the meeting.

Where it becomes necessary to make minor adjustments to the Plan and services provided in between scheduled reviews, consultation with the parents and the child/young person (where appropriate) and key professionals from other agencies should always be sought. Additional services arranged in the interim should be agreed and added to the CIN plan at the next meeting.

After a Plan has been in place for 6 months the next review must be chaired by a Team Manager who will review the effectiveness of the Plan and its impact on improving the outcomes for the child/ young person involved.


4. Following the Review Meeting

If, at a review of the Child in Need Plan, it is concluded that the objectives of the Plan are not being achieved, consideration should be given to whether this is an indication that the welfare of the child is not being promoted or safeguarded. In these circumstances, consultation should take place with the Team Manager about whether planning for the child should continue under Children in Need procedures or due to escalating concerns the case should be managed through Child Protection and the Safeguarding procedures. If this is the case and the child/young person is deemed at risk/or suffered Significant Harm, a Strategy Meeting / discussion should be convened. For further guidance, refer to the Child Protection Procedures.

A Child in Need Plan should not be ended unless a review has been completed and a decision made that the Plan has achieved its objectives and that satisfactory arrangements for the continuing promotion and safeguarding of the child’s welfare are in place. This may include continuing provision of services within an Early Help Assessment and through the identification of a Lead Practitioner. In such circumstances the step down procedures must be adhered to - see Section 7, Visiting Requirements for a Child / Young Person Subject to Children in Need Procedures.

If a key agency is not present at the review then their views must be sought before a decision is made to close / step down the case.


5. Outcomes of the Review Meeting

The Review Meeting may conclude:

  • Sufficient progress is not being made and that services will continue to remain involved with the family working within the Child in Need Plan;
  • The outcomes specified in the Plan have been achieved, and the Child in Need Plan is no longer required;
  • The need can be met by other agencies under Early Help procedures; an Early Help action plan is put in place and lead professional appointed;
  • Lack of progress or heightened concerns indicate the need to initiate Safeguarding Procedures and an Initial Child Protection Conference is convened;
  • Review concludes that the child can no longer be cared for safely at home and a recommendation is made that the child should become Looked After. Social worker will then discuss this with their Team Manager, Head of Service and Legal services who will agree the appropriate course of action with reference to the relevant procedures;
  • The Plan has achieved all identified outcomes and there is no need for any further involvement and the case is closed;
  • Any decisions recommended at the CIN review must be agreed and endorsed by the TM, especially if it is to close or step down a case to Early Help.

It is important that the child/ren and family attend the meeting and arrangements are made to facilitate their attendance. Consideration should therefore be given to accessibility, location, timing and the need for an Advocate/interpreter. The age at which children should attend these meetings cannot be rigidly set. Each child should be assessed and the decision made as to the suitability of them attending using the following criteria:

  • Does the child have sufficient understanding of the process?
  • Does the child or family member require the assistance of an interpretation service?
  • Has the child expressed a wish to attend?
  • Will attendance cause the child any harm?

The Chair will ensure that:

  • The meeting is as open and informal as possible;
  • Particular attention is given to the use of language and any special terms explained;
  • The child and parent(s) are given appropriate encouragement, assistance and opportunity to say what they wish;
  • Differences and disagreements are respected and recorded;
  • Any needs with regard to age, disability, culture, religion or race must be given specific consideration.

The Chair will summarise and reiterate agreed actions, roles and tasks, and all participants will be asked to sign the attendance sheet and their agreement to the proposed.

PRACTICE GUIDE

The Chair should be mindful of any issues which the child/young person may find embarrassing to talk about within a large meeting. Consideration should be given to how any such issues, which are relevant in relation to the aims of the Plan, should be managed within the meeting.


6. Recording the Plan

The objectives and individual responsibilities agreed at the Child in Need meeting should be recorded on the Child in Need Plan.

The Plan and reviews will be held on the child’s Electronic Social Record in the Children in Need section.

The Plan or review must not be disclosed to any party who is not part of the CIN group without the parent’s consent unless it is necessary to safeguard the child. The allocated worker must ensure that the multi-agency parental consent form has been completed and is held on file.

Copies of the Plan should be provided to the child/ren, family and participants in the planning and review group within 10 working days of the meeting. Copies should be hand-delivered to all relevant parties irrespective of whether they attend the meeting or not or sent electronically via a secure email.


7. Visiting Requirements for a Child / Young Person Subject to Children in Need Procedures

The visiting frequency should form part of the overall Child in Need Plan and should be recorded in the CIN plan. However, consideration should be given to the nature of involvement, the age and vulnerabilities of the child/ young person, along with their wishes. In adopting good practice in undertaking visits to a child/ young person, consideration also needs to be given to both planned and unplanned visits. The visit should be undertaken at a minimum of every 6 weeks and the child MUST be seen on every visit.

(NB: With the exception of child in need cases held in the Children with Disability Team. The frequency of visits should be agreed by a Team Manager and the reason for the frequency should be recorded on the child’s record in the case summary).


8. Supervision Orders

The Children Act 1989 explains:

  1. While a Supervision Order is in force it shall be the duty of the supervisor:
    1. To advice, assist and befriend the supervised child;
    2. To take such steps as are reasonable necessary to give effect to the order; and
    3. Where:
      1. The order is not wholly complied with; or
      2. The supervisor considers that the order may no longer be necessary;
      3. To consider whether or not to apply to the court for its variation or discharge.
  2. Parts I and II of Schedule 3 make further provision with respect to Supervision Orders.

Children and young people subject to a supervision order will therefore be seen as a child in need and the above procedures will be adhered to.

Three months prior to the supervision order end date, the social worker will refer the case to a Legal Planning Meeting.

The Legal Planning Meeting will consider if there is a requirement to apply to the court for an extension/variation of the order or a supervision order is no longer required.

If the Legal Planning Meeting decides that a supervision order is no longer required, at the point the supervision order lapses, the social worker will follow step down procedures if it is deemed appropriate.


9. Step Down

A Team Manager will make the decision for case to step down to Early Help following a review of the case with the social worker. The management decision and a request to Early Help to attend the final CIN meeting needs to be completed. The social worker will invite the Early Help worker to attend the final Child In Need meeting.

Early Help will allocate a worker to attend the CIN meeting within 5 working days. The CIN meeting will act as a step down meeting.

It is good practice to undertake a joint visit to family by Social Worker and Early Help Worker if they haven’t been known to the child and family previously, or if the family do not attend the CIN meeting.

The Early Help Worker will assume case responsibility from the final CIN meeting.

(See also Knowsley Safeguarding Board Step Up / Step Down Procedure (Knowsley Safeguarding Children Board Procedures)).


10. Private Fostering

(See also Private Fostering Procedure).

A Private Fostering arrangement is essentially one that is made privately (that is to say without the involvement of a local authority) for the care of a child under the age of 16 (under 18, if disabled) by someone other than a parent or close relative with the intention that it should last for 28 days or more. The period for which the child is cared for and accommodated by the private foster carer should be continuous, but that continuity is not broken by the occasional short break.

(See National Minimum Standards for Private Fostering DFES 2005).

Examples of Privately Fostered arrangement are:

  • Children sent to this country, for education or health care, by parents who live overseas;
  • A teenager living with a friend's family because they don't get on with their own family;
  • Children living with a friend's family because their parents' study or work involves unsociable hours, which make it difficult to use ordinary day care or after-school care;
  • Children sent to this country, for education or health care, by parents who live overseas;
  • A teenager living with a friend's family because they don't get on with their own family;
  • Children living with a friend's family because their parents' study or work involves unsociable hours, which make it difficult to use ordinary day care or after-school care.

When the Local Authority receives a notification of a private fostering arrangement, the referral will be sent to the area team for a completion of a Single Assessment. The assessment will be co-worked with the child’s social worker and a social worker from the Fostering service. The child must be seen and spoken to as part of the assessment and the birth parents must be seen or spoken to. Their agreement and consent to this arrangement must be signed by parents or those with Parental Responsibility and saved to the child’s file.

If at the conclusion of the Single Assessment the social workers confirm it is a private fostering arrangement, the social worker from the fostering service will undertake a suitability assessment under Private Fostering Arrangements.

The child’s social worker will complete a comprehensive Single Assessment in no, longer than 35 working days. The Child will be subject to CIN status and the S/W and TM will follow the procedures set out in this document. For further details see Appendix 2: Private Fostering Flowchart.


11. Ending Child in Need Plan

At the point at which all of a child’s needs are met and no longer require intervention from Children's Social Care, family members and professionals should be in agreement (NB, In the case of disagreement the Knowsley LSCB Multi Agency Escalation Policy should be implemented), and the case will close to CSC.

If the case is stepping down to Early Help the Social Worker should choose step down to Early Help as the outcome on the final CIN review. This will transfer the case into EHM.

The social worker should inform all parties in writing that the case is closed.


Appendices

Appendix 1: CIN Pathway

Appendix 2: Private Fostering Flowchart

End