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2.1.1 Child and Family Progress Plans and Meetings

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 under S17 of the Children Act 1989.

NOTE

The term ‘Child and Family Progress Plan’ replaces that of Child in Need Plan.

The term ‘Child and Family Progress Meeting’ replaces that of Child in Need Meeting/Review.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in June 2018 by adding a new Section 4, Children in Need 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 and Family Progress Plans
  2. Child and Family Progress Meetings
  3. Management oversight of the Plan 
  4. Children in Need Moving to Another Authority - Principles
  5. Ending the Child and Family Progress Plan 


1. Child and Family Progress Plans

If a Social Care Assessment (SCA) identifies a child as being a child in need of support as defined by the S17 of the CA 1989, a Child and Family Progress Plan will be created for the child. The plan will be created at day 20 of the Social Care Assessment and will be in the form of a safety plan with separate service actions identified. The plan may start prior to day 20 to avoid any unnecessary delay in supporting the child and family, however in all cases where an SCA continues beyond 20 days, a Child and Family Progress Plan will be created.

If the outcome of the Social Care Assessment is that a Strategy Discussion is needed, the Strategy discussion will consider the steps to be taken to provide services and protect the child. When the Strategy Discussion decides that the child is a Child in Need of support, the first Child and Family Progress Meeting will take place within 10 working days from the date of the Strategy Discussion.

If at the end of a Section 47 Enquiry it is decided that the child is in need of support and not at continuing risk of Significant Harm, the first Child and Family Progress Meeting will take place within 10 working days from the end date of the Section 47 Enquiry.

If the case is open to Team Around the Child and the child has a TAC plan, this plan will remain open until it is decided, as a result of a Social Care Assessment, that a Child and Family Progress Plan is needed to address the needs of the child. At that time, the Child and Family Progress Plan will replace the TAC plan.

When a child has a Child and Family Progress Plan, Child in Need visits are to take place at intervals of once every three calendar weeks minimum, (the child should be visited at home and seen alone wherever possible). Visits to the child should take place outside of Child and Family Progress meetings, particularly so when the meetings are held at the family home. For further information on visits to children, please refer to the Visits to Children Procedure.


2. Child and Family Progress Meetings

The Child and Family Progress Meeting will be the forum for planning and reviewing the Child and Family Progress Plan and will develop plans that are dynamic where the solutions are built with the children, family and support people always at the centre of planning and action, (You Can't Grow Roses in Concrete, Munro, Turnell and Murphy 2016.) 

The allocated Social Worker will hold the first Child and Family Progress Meeting with the child (if appropriate), family and key agencies within 10 days of the Child and Family Progress Plan starting, or within 10 days of the Strategy Discussion or the Section 47 enquiry. The Meetings must be chaired by a qualified Social Worker and, if the case is allocated to a social work student, the initial meeting and subsequently every other meeting must be chaired by an Advanced Practitioner or Practice Supervisor. For further guidance, please refer to the Case Holding Procedures for Student Social Workers Procedure

Subsequent Child and Family Progress meetings will take place every four to six weeks t and no less frequently than once every six weeks. 

The Child and Family Progress Plan document will combine the Plan and the record of the Child and Family Progress Meeting. There will be no separate minutes produced alongside the Plan.

The objectives of the Child and Family Progress Meeting are:

  • To listen to, inform, and involve the children at every step of the Child in Need process;
  • To ensure the Child and Family Progress plan is a dynamic one that is continually reviewed and updated;
  • For professionals to lead the parents, support people and children in developing an everyday safety plan to ensure the children will always be safe when family life could, or does, become dangerous;
  • For professionals to lead the parents, support people and children in continually thinking though their current assessment of safety;
  • To find support people and establish them as a permanent, naturally connected support network around the immediate family who provide a watchful eye and all the support necessary to ensure the safety plan will be permanent. This may include facilitating a family network meeting or Family Group Conference;
  • For parents, support people and children to demonstrate they can, and will, always use the safety plan;
  • To identify and review service actions within the Child and Family Progress Plan;
  • To update on what has worked well, and any worries there have been since the plan started or the previous meeting took place. 

Where siblings have an open referral to a Children Services Team or to Team Around the Child, information sharing should take place to inform the plans. 

Through the use of the clipboard actions on Mosaic, Business Support will assist the allocated Social Worker with the setting up of the meeting, (including contacting professionals for their availability), sending invitations, booking venues and circulating the plan within 5 working days. 

Following the meeting the allocated Social Worker will:

  • Organise a Family Network Meeting or within five working days of the meeting make a referral to Family Group Conference (FGC) where this was agreed at the Child and Family Progress meeting. (See Family Group Conferences Procedure);
  • Update the Child and Family Progress Plan within five working days of the date of the meeting and circulate to all those involved with the plan.


3. Management oversight of the Plan

Oversight of the effectiveness of the Child and Family Progress Plan will be through supervision. The focus of supervision in Child in Need cases will be on the Child and Family Progress Plan.

The Team Manager (FAST) will review all Child In Need cases open more than 9 months in a joint supervision/mapping. This joint supervision/mapping will be undertaken with the SW and PS (FAST) and if involved, the EHW and Senior EHW and/or YOS Practitioner and PS.


4. Children in Need Moving to Another Authority - Principles

This section deals with children who are subject to Child and Family Progress 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 Social Care Assessments Procedure). 

For Children Looked After see Notification to Other Authorities of Children Placed Out of County 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 and Family Progress Plan;
    • Minutes of latest Child and Family Progress Meeting;
    • 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 and Family Progress 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 and Family Progress 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 and Family Progress 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.


5. Ending the Child and Family Progress Plan

The benefits of a TAC plan will be considered for every case that is closing and additional needs are identified. A Child and Family Progress Meeting will be held to transfer to a TAC.

When in the cycle of Child and Family Progress meetings, the decision to close a case should usually be taken at such a meeting. This will be when everyone judges the safety to be high enough and permanent (usually everyone scoring 7 or above on the safety scale). You Can't Grow Roses in Concrete, Munro, Turnell and Murphy (2016).

If a case is closed between Child and Family Progress Meetings (for example if a parent declines to receive a service) the rationale will be recorded as a case discussion decision in a case note by the Team Manager/Practice Supervisor on the child's Mosaic file.

At the point of closure, closure letters will be sent to children, parents and professionals confirming the case closure.

The Child and Family Progress Plan will be closed on Mosaic by the Team Manager/ Practice Supervisor when they close the referral.

End