|Contacts and Referrals||This chapter has been revised to set out in more detail the timetable and partnership requirements associated with effectively managing contacts and referrals and to reflect the balance with regard to 'Information Sharing'. (See Section 4, Screening Process.)|
|Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children||
Section 3, Assessment has been updated: in advance of undertaking an age assessment for an unaccompanied asylum seeking child, local authorities must seek Home Office assistance with verifying the authenticity of identity documents e.g. travel documents or a birth certificate. A link to the relevant contact details for local authorities was added. The statutory guidance was updated to link to the DfE 2017 Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery – statutory guidance for local authorities. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is referenced in relation to age assessments.In addition, a link to NRPF, Securing British Citizenship for looked after children (2017) has been added.
|Placements with Parents||This chapter has been updated to reflect that the DBS has no eligibility for a standard or enhanced check for birth parents or other adults living in the household. However, the Local Authority has a requirement under the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England Regulations) 2010 to obtain information about unspent convictions and cautions before placing a child back with parents. (See Section 1.2, Assessment and Checks before Placement).|
|Looked After Reviews||This chapter has been amended to fully reflect the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review with respect to the circumstances as to when a Looked After Review should be brought forward. The list is not exhaustive. (See Section 2, Frequency of Looked After Reviews).|
|Placement for Adoption||This chapter has been amended to emphasise ‘procedural fairness’ as a key aspect of the adoption planning process in respect of ensuring parents are provided with information throughout, including the dates of placement/proposed changes of a child’s Status, etc. This follows the outcome of a judicial review ((2017) EWHC 1041 (Admin). (See new Section 4.2, Procedural Fairness).|
|Local Contacts||This chapter has been updated.|
|Next Update: June 2018|
|Values and Principles||This chapter has been reviewed to note the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse requires all institutions to retain their records relating to the care of children for the duration of the Inquiry (see Section 4, Recording Values and Principles).|
|Children in Need||This chapter has been revised to add links to statutory guidance: 'DfE, Volume 2: care planning, placement and case review (2015)'; 'DCSF Safeguarding disabled children – Practice guidance (2009)'; 'DCSF Short Breaks – Statutory guidance on how to safeguard and promote the welfare of disabled children using short breaks (2010)'. (See Section 5, Children with Disabilities).|
|Families Without Recourse to Public Funds||
This chapter has been updated by adding a link to ‘NRPF Connect’ and updating links to ‘NRPF Practice Guidance’ (which provides to a range of specific guidance).In addition, a separate link has been made to update the previous specific guidance which is now: ‘NRPF Practice Guidance: Assessing and Supporting Children and Families with No Recourse to Public Funds (2017)’. (See Relevant Guidance).
|Placement with Connected Persons||Section 3, Approval of Immediate Placements of Looked After Children with Connected Persons, has been updated to include matters that should be considered when placing a child with a Connected Person should include an initial risk assessment of any pets, together with the environment in which the pet is kept.|
|Placement with Parents||Section 3.1, Assessment of the Parents Suitability to Care for the Child, has been updated to include consideration should be given as to whether the home environment is safe for the child including where relevant, the need for a risk assessment of any pets and the environment in which they are kept.|
|Placements in Secure Accommodation on Welfare Grounds||
This chapter has been extensively amended and now includes new/enhanced sections on 'Applications for Secure Accommodation'; 'Children to Whom Section 25 Applies', (including the issues of children aged 16 years and Section 20 Accommodation); 'Placements for Children aged under 13 years' and 'Support, Monitoring and Ending of Placements' etc. The chapter has also been re-titled to reflect its (original) content and purpose (that of applications for children on 'welfare grounds'), thereby distinguishing it from the 'Remands to Local Authority Accommodation, etc' (LASPO Act 2012).Note also Secure Accommodation - Placements in Scotland: Schedule 1, Children and Social Work Act 2017, with immediate effect, now enables local authorities to make placements in Secure accommodation under Section 25 (Children Act 1989). (See Section 7.1, Placement Request, Identification and Approval).
|Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts (ISA’s) for Looked After Children||This chapter has been updated to reflect the maximum amount that can be saved is £4,128 in a Junior ISA (see Section 4.4, Who can Pay Money into Junior ISA's?).|
|Looked After Reviews||This chapter has been amended to note The Law Society guidance ‘Attendance of solicitors at local authority Children Act Meetings’ and their Code of Conduct where the child or family who attend reviews are supported by a legal representative. (See Section 8, Independent Reviewing Officer's Responsibilities).|
|Appointment and Role of the Independent Reviewing Officers Procedure||This chapter has been updated in relation to the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer in line with the 'Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations - Volume 2: care planning, placement and case review, June 2015'. (Chapter 2 ‘Care Planning: The role of the IRO in improved care planning’). In particular, the IRO being sensitive to the close and active involvement of parents of a child looked after in a series of Short Breaks and problem-solving where there might be difficulties or issues. Additionally, Lambeth guidance has been added: Lambeth Protocol for liaison between Independent Reviewing Officers & Legal Services and Lambeth Independant Reveiwing Officers / IRT Practice Standards. (See Related Guidance).|
|Assessment and Approval of Agency Prospective Adopters||Section 5.3, Assessment, has been updated to include where the applicants have pets, a risk assessment should be conducted and any associated risks should be taken into account with regard to the pet itself and where the pet is kept. Where necessary, an independent assessment should be undertaken by a vet to establish whether the dog falls within the scope of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The chapter has also been updated throughput to bring it up-date with relevant links, terminology, etc.|
|Inter Country Adoption||
This chapter has been significantly updated to reflect GOV.UK Child adoption – Adopting a child from overseas. In Section 3, Initial Meeting, the DfE have published Intercountry Adoption and Resident Status Requirements which set out the minimum requirements. However, entry clearance requirements vary depending upon the circumstances of each case and prospective adopters will need to obtain their own independent legal advice to establish the requirements that apply to their individual circumstances.
In Section 4, Formal Approval, a link has been added to Intercountry adoption: means test form which contains information on how to apply for a fee reduction for people who wish to adopt a child from overseas and who earn £45,000 per year or less.In Section 12, After Approval, information has been added on the Intercountry Adoption Forms: checklist for adoption which details the paperwork adoption agencies must include in the intercountry adoption applications they submit to DfE.
|Health and Looked After Children||This chapter has been updated in June 2017 by adding a link to 'Nice Guideline (NG26) Children’s Attachment'. This guideline covers the identification, assessment and treatment of attachment difficulties in children and young people up to age 18 who are adopted from care, in special guardianship, looked after by local authorities in foster homes (including kinship foster care), residential settings and other accommodation, or on the edge of care. It aims to address the many emotional and psychological needs of children and young people in these situations, including those resulting from maltreatment. (See Relevant Guidance).|
|New Chapters and Features|
|Missing from Home and Care Protocol||
This chapter fully explores the issues around children who go missing or are absent and describes in some details the process and protocols across this essentially multi-agency area of concern. The chapter recognises that there will be situations when absence is a part of ‘testing boundaries’ and adolescent behaviour generally, but in others, it represents a serious concern. In some instances, children can be sexually abused or trafficked – including exposure to Modern Slavery. It is key, therefore, that the full circumstances are known and that evaluated and carefully balanced decisions are made in each circumstance.
The chapter contains relevant tools to support the practitioner in undertaking their safeguarding role and includes a return home interview template.
This chapter is replicated at 3.7.1 in the contents list.
|Lambeth Children’s Social Care Child Sexual Exploitation Protocol||This chapter details a range of issues around sexual exploitation and contains the update definition of ‘sexual exploitation’ in an amended Working Together (2015), (see Definition of Child Sexual Exploitation in Appendix 1) and DfE guidance, to which there is a link. The chapter contains a range of relevant tools, including Assessing Level of Risk of Child Sexual and the Exploitation and CSE Risk Matrix Tool, together with information around a range of local Lambeth resources. (see Appendices).|
|Pre-Birth Assessment Practice Guidance||This chapter establishes key timescales and expectations with respect to children where there are concerns for the unborn child, and within this, seeks to highlight circumstances that might indicate risk and therefore require assessment. The chapter recognises that within this, there are a number of potential issues that might require aspects of contingent planning and more urgent action. The chapter reflects the need that concerns around pre-birth situations require a multi-agency approach.|
|Supporting Children and Young People Vulnerable to Violent Extremism||
This chapter is based on and summarises the document 'Prevent and Safeguarding Guidance: Supporting Individuals Vulnerable to Violent Extremism', which has been issued by the National Police Chief’s Council.
The guidance provides advice on how to manage and respond to concerns of children and young people identified as being vulnerable to and affected by the radicalisation of others.All schools and child care providers must have regard to the statutory guidance issued under Section 29 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. The following link (Eduate Against Hate website) gives parents, teachers and school leaders practical advice on protecting children from extremism and radicalisation.
|Long Term Fostering Guidance and Process||
This chapter details the process and procedure for placing children in long-term fostering placements - recognising that placements providing permanence for children is a key policy and long-term foster placements remain important for a number of children for whom the traditional permanent placements may not be appropriate.It updates a previous and similar chapter.
|Dispute Resolution Protocol||
This chapter has been fully reviewed and revised and provides a more focussed guidance with regard to the Dispute Resolution process.This chapter details responsibilities of the IRO with respect to addressing deficits perceived in the care planning process for the child and the actions that are required in addressing these concerns. The chapter identifies a five stage process, but in the anticipation that any issues will be resolved at the earliest stage possible. It also contains some useful examples, a process flow chart and a Practice Alert Form.
|Applications for Special Guardianship Orders||This chapter highlights and details a range of issues around applications for Special Guardianship, including who may apply; Parental Responsibility; Planning Meeting and a range of, matters around the Special; Guardianship support plan. Links to the DfE Special Guardianship Guidance (2017) and the Adoption Support Fund are included.|
The term 'relinquished baby’ is used to describe a baby, or at pre-birth stage, whose parents are making the choice of adoption for the child.This chapter deals with the first stages of the adoption process for relinquished children, whilst signposting other key processes that should be progressed and which are expected for any child who is Accommodated or where the plan is for adoption. It also summarises the counselling and support that will be made available to the birth family in these circumstances. Once a decision is made and consent is formally given, although not irreversible, the adoption process is as for any other child. The chapter replaces a previous protocol.
|Social Visits (Including Overnight Stays)||This policy and procedure applies to Looked After Children placed in foster homes in relation to social visits and where overnight stays with friends are planned. The chapter replaces a similarly named chapter but focuses on the social contacts Looked After Children have that promote them ‘being treated as any other child’ and acknowledges the issue of parental consent.|
|Children's Consultation and Participation||
Working Together 2015 states clearly that one of the key principles underpinning safeguarding should be: ‘’a child-centred approach: for services to be effective they should be based on a clear understanding of the needs and views of children.’’It is essential therefore that children and young people are enabled by professionals to participate in matters that affect them, particularly any plans or arrangements that will affect them and/or their family and are consulted with regard to processes designed to improve services both to them individually and more generally.