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3.1 Child in Need Plans and Reviews

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, this will be drawn up in outline at the Initial Child Protection Conference and in detail at the Core Group meeting(s). It will be reviewed by a Child Protection Review Conference. Please see the London Child Protection Procedures in relation to the implementation of the Child Protection Plan.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in May 2018 by adding a new Section 4, Moving to Another Authority - Principles. Information and communication is important between the respective local authorities to ensure appropriate services continue for the child and family and, where relevant, any risk of harm is recognised and identified with the receiving local authority. It should be noted that the responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child lies with the local authority where the child is to be found.


Contents

  1. Child in Need Plans
  2. Child in Need Planning Meetings
  3. Reviews of Child in Need Plans
  4. Moving to Another Authority - Principles


1. Child in Need Plans

A Child in Need Plan (CINP) will be drawn up at the conclusion of an assessment, where further services are to be provided and the child is not either:

  • Looked After;
  • Subject to the provisions of the Leaving Care Act;
  • Subject to a Child Protection Plan.

The CINP will address the following:

  1. What are the identified needs and risks for this child?
  2. Which needs have the highest priority in promoting the welfare of this child?
  3. What services are to be provided?
  4. How often will the child be seen and by whom?
  5. What outcomes are to be achieved through the provision of services?
  6. How are these objectives going to be achieved?
  7. Who is responsible for actions ensuring that these objectives are met?
  8. What are the timescales?
  9. How will success in achieving these objectives be measured?
  10. What are the contingency arrangements if prioritised objectives are not met, or services become unavailable?

The CINP will be recorded on ISIS.

A Child in Need Plan will be developed in a Child in Need Planning Meeting.

Most Child in Need Plans will envisage that Children's Services intervention will end within twelve months. However, some children and families may require longer term support, for example children with disabilities.

The Child in Need Plan must identify the Lead Professional, any resources or services that will be needed to achieve the planned outcomes within the agreed timescales and who is responsible for which action and the time-scale involved.

In particular, the Child in Need Plan should:

  • Describe the identified developmental needs of the child, and any services required;
  • Include specific, achievable, child-focused outcomes intended to promote and safeguard the welfare of the child;
  • Include realistic strategies and specific actions to achieve the planned outcomes;
  • Include a contingency plan to be followed if circumstances change significantly and require prompt action;
  • Include timescales that are not too short or unachievable;
  • Not be dependent on resources which are known to be scarce or unavailable;
  • Identify the Lead Professional and his or her responsibilities, including frequency of visits to the child;
  • Clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of other professionals and family members, including the nature and frequency of contact by professionals with children and family members;
  • Lay down points at which progress will be reviewed and the means by which it will be judged.

The Chair of the Child in Need Planning Meeting 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.

The Lead Professional will be responsible for implementing the plan including making referrals to appropriate agencies for services as described in 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.

It is the responsibility of the allocated social worker to co-ordinate the Plan, monitor progress against agreed objectives and maintain contact with all those involved in delivering the Plan.

The Team Manager must ensure that there are contingency arrangements against sickness or other unanticipated absence, so that the child is seen as often as is specified in the CINP.


2. Child in Need Planning Meetings

Child in Need Planning Meetings provide an opportunity for a child and his or her parents/carers, together with key agencies, to identify and agree the package of services required and to develop the Child in Need Plan.

The Planning Meeting provides an opportunity for a child and his or her 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 relevant social worker should discuss potential attendees for the Planning Meeting with the child and the parents/carers prior to arrangements being made for the meeting.

It will be important that an appropriate venue suitable for the child and his or her family are used for the meeting. Consideration must be given to transport, timing and any child care issues. Where a child is attending a meeting and is of school age the meeting should be held outside of school time, wherever possible.

The first Planning Meeting will usually be chaired by the social worker's line manager.

The social worker is responsible for convening the meeting and arranging invitations.

A note of the meeting will be taken by the Chair. This record will be copied to those involved, including the child and parent/s, who will need to sign their agreement.


3. Reviews of Child in Need Plans

Child in Need Plans will be reviewed after three months and thereafter on a six monthly basis while services continue to be provided.

For children with disabilities where provision of short break services meets the needs of the child and carers then the case is discussed with the Service Manger and resources allocated every 6 months

If there are significant changes in the family circumstances, an early review should take place.

The administrator will operate a brought forward review system. All short break packages will be reviewed 6 monthly. New allocation will take place quarterly.

Initial CINP Review Meetings will be chaired by a Senior Social workers Parents/carers, young people and all relevant agencies will be invited to attend.

The social worker will prepare a report for discussion at the Review Meeting, to consider which will include:

  1. Any significant changes or events since the assessment or last Review;
  2. Whether and to what extent the objectives of the Plan are being achieved;
  3. Whether the current services provided should continue;
  4. Whether the child continues to be in need;
  5. If further intervention is required.

Where the outcome of the Review is an amendment to the Child in Need Plan a new CINP will be drawn up in consultation with the family at this meeting and recorded. 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.

There must be an updated assessment at the point a new CIN plan is agreed.

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, Child Protection s47 Enquiries Procedure.

If the case is not allocated, the manager of the responsible team must undertake the review or arrange for it to be undertaken on his/her behalf.

The purpose of the Review is to ensure that the services provided are contributing to the achievement of the objectives within the time-scales set.

Where it is proposed that a complex package of support being provided under a Child in Need Plan should continue beyond 12 months there should be a specific review chaired by the manager of the responsible team. Exceptions to this will be those cases where the plan acknowledges the need for longer term support, for example in relation to children who meet the criteria for a service in relation to a disability.

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

A copy of the record should be sent to the child (if old enough), parent and all other participants in the Review process.

The outcome of a Review will be:

  1. That the child is no longer a Child in Need requiring Children's Social Care Services 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 plan not involving Children's Social Care;
  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’s needs are sufficiently complex and/or s/he requires additional services to safeguard and promote his or her welfare such as to justify an Assessment to be undertaken;
  4. 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.

Closure of Cases

Where a CINP Review Meeting determines that no further intervention is required by the SSD, and the views on this of the child and their family have been taken into account, the case can be closed.

Closure of a case must be authorised by a Team Manager and the guidance in the Case Closure Procedure must be followed

Audit and Monitoring

Services to children in need will be included in the arrangements for Havering' service standards as follows

  1. The Quality Assurance Team will review a random sample of CIN Plans each month;
  2. The Senior Manager service standards will also review a random sample of CIN Plans each month;
  3. Team Managers will audit case files every 3 months.


4. Moving to Another Authority - Principles

This section deals with children who are subject to Children in Need Plans and who move to another local authority. The principles apply to local authorities in the circumstances of both transferring out and receiving in Children in Need.

In a number of situations, children and their families moving to another local authority offers a positive option. However, and particularly where children and their families may have moved on more than one occasion in a short space of time, any assessment should consider whether the child is subject to trafficking or modern slavery. (See Assessments Procedure).

For Children Looked After see Out of Area Placements Procedure.

  • When a Child in Need moves from one local authority area to another, the Children Act 1989 is clear that the responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child lies with the local authority where the child is to be found;
  • Given the child has already been identified as having particular needs or is vulnerable in some way, or urgent consideration / assessment should be given as to the impact of the move for the child in respect of their vulnerability, for example,  through changes in the protective factors, increased risk with known perpetrators or whether they might be subject to trafficking or modern slavery;
  • Given the circumstances, and in line with the above, a timely response should be made with regard to levels of assessed risk;
  • The parent/carer should be made aware of their responsibility to ensure the child receives appropriate education and health support in the area they plan to move to, together with any other specialist service required for the child;
  • The social worker should assist and promote the family accessing relevant and appropriate services with regard to meeting the child’s needs. Any deficits in services to meet specific needs by the receiving local authority should be noted;
  • The local authority Children’s Social Care Services where the child and family are moving to should be formally notified and all relevant information should be shared:
    • Social work assessment;
    • Child in Need Plan;
    • Minutes of latest Child in Need Review;
    • A summary / case report.
  • Parent / carer’s permission should be sought to share this information with the receiving local authority in line with Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners.

    However, the Data Protection Act should never be a barrier to ‘sharing information where the failure to do so would result in a child or vulnerable adult being placed at risk of harm’ or indeed on those occasions where seeking consent might increase the risk of harm;
  • Otherwise, the social worker or team manager, should consider seeking advice from their Caldicott Guardian or their Legal Services;
  • The social worker should ensure that other agencies involved in the Child in Need Plan are made aware and prepared to ensure that their relevant information is shared as soon as possible with their respective counterparts in the area the family have moved to, (for example school and GP records, etc.);
  • The social workers and team managers of the respective authorities should ensure there is clear and good communication during any transition and any risks are clearly communicated and understood;
  • Where possible, the social worker should seek to meet their counterpart and where geography allows, to consider a joint visit and attendance at the  Child in Need Meeting, so that the issues can be fully shared. The process should reflect the family’s needs and any associated risks;
  • Where there is dispute about case responsibility; delay in the receiving local authority accepting responsibility of the case, or a dispute about Children in Need thresholds, the team manager should promptly notify the Service Manager who should make a decision regarding next steps, including, where necessary, to take legal advice;
  • The family should be kept informed of any respective responsibilities during a transition stage and when the receiving local authority, (where the family reside), take full responsibilities;
  • Receiving local authorities should seek to convene a Child in Need Meeting within 20 working days of the family being resident in their area and include all relevant agencies and, where possible, the social worker and other specialist staff where the child and family have moved from;
  • All actions, decisions and arrangements should be fully recorded on the child’s case record during this process. This should include management decisions, which should identify the rationale for any decisions made, especially where specific services cannot be provided and/or it is considered the child is no longer a Child in Need.

End