View Lincolnshire SCB Procedures View Lincolnshire SCB Procedures

2.1.6 Residence Order/Child Arrangements Order Allowances - Children's Financial Review

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Note: from April 2014, Residence Orders and Contact Orders were replaced by Child Arrangements Orders. Prior to April 2014, a Residence Order was a Court Order made under section 8 of the Children Act 1989, settling the arrangements as to the person with whom a child was to live.

This procedure applies to those children who are subject of a Residence Order / Child Arrangements Order and financial support has been approved by the Children's Service Manager, Regulated Services as budget holder, as part of the Residence Order / Child Arrangements Order Support Plan.

This chapter should be read in conjunction with Residence Order/Child Arrangements Order Procedure.

In the first instance a carer must go through the financial approval process for a Residence Order / Child Arrangements Order allowance, this must only be authorised by the budget holder. When a carer receives an allowance, for a child who is placed with him/her on a Residence Order / Child Arrangements Order, this arrangement will be reviewed annually to ensure the child's needs continue to be met and to ensure that the carer is still entitled to receive the payment. 

AMENDMENT

This chapter has been updated in February 2015 to reflect the name change from Head of Service to Children's Service Manager, Regulated Services and the effect of the Children and Families Act 2014 with respect to ‘Child Arrangements Orders’.


Contents

  1. Financial Approval Process and Budget Holder Authorisation
  2. Process Following the Making of a Child Arrangements Order
  3. Payment Review Process
  4. Actions Following Payment Review
  5. Concerns for the Child Following Annual Review of Financial Support


1. Financial Approval Process and Budget Holder Authorisation

When the work proceeds for the application of a Child Arrangements Order, the Children's Financial Review (CFR) are to be notified, with full details of the carers, child, the Date of Birth, and possible court date.

The child's Social Worker will send out the ‘Residence Order Finance Support Means Test form’ to the applicants for completion. Upon completion by the applicant, the applicant will return the completed form to the Children's Financial Review Team and include any relevant proof documents, such as salary slips, benefit letters etc.

The Children's Financial Review Team will check the forms and liaises either direct with carers or through SW to clarify all details. The Children's Financial Review Team will scan the documents and forward to 'Mouchel Assessments', to be assessed through the DfE calculator.

When the assessment is complete, this is returned to The Children's Financial Review Team.

The Children's Financial Review Team will then undertake the following:

  • Check that the Child Benefit and an estimate of the Child Tax Credit element where appropriate, to give an initial offer weekly allowance figure. This figure is finalised when the carers fully know their situation regarding this benefit, after the making of the order;
  • CFR team prepares an offer letter to the carer;
  • CFR team seeks approval with the Children's Service Manager, Regulated Services for weekly allowance;
  • CFR team sends letter to carer with copies to relevant SW/SSW.


2. Process Following the Making of a Child Arrangements Order

2.1 Making Initial Child Arrangements Order Allowances Live

Upon the making of a Child Arrangements Order the child's social worker will notify the Children's Financial Review Team that the order is made and the date the child is placed.

The Children's Financial Review Team prepares an initial confirmation letter for the carer and seeks  the Children's Service Manager, Regulated Services' approval. Following the Children's Service Manager, Regulated Services' approval, the Children's Financial Review Team will send a letter to carer and copies the relevant SW/SSW.

In order to make the payment live, the letter is scanned and sent to Softbox - this authorises any current fostering payment to stop and for the new payment to start. A copy is also sent to 'Mouchel Assessments' for their files.

2.2 Final Confirmation of Allowance

As the figure agreed above is only an initial estimate, the final weekly allowance must be calculated.

The carer is to contact the Children's Service Manager, Regulated Services, or the Children's Financial Review Team when they have successfully made a claim for Child Tax Credit. This weekly figure is deducted from the original DfE assessment figure to give a final weekly figure. A further letter is sent to the carer to confirm their finalised weekly allowance.

2.3 Turning 18

The Database will be monitored for all Young People turning 18 because payments will cease at this time.

The Children's Financial Review Team will prepare a letter for the ‘Children's Service Manager, Regulated Services' approval, in order to cease payments, once approved this is sent to the carer to notify them. The letter is scanned and sent to Softbox for the payments to cease. The cease date is recorded on the database and moved to the 'finished' database.

2.4 MOSAIC

Upon the making of an Order the child's social worker will record the Child Arrangements Order as a new Legal Status in the Legal section of MOSAIC. Payment commences as from the date of the Child Arrangements Order. Should the child be placed after the making of a Residence Order/ Child Arrangements Order, then payment will commence of this date.

When a child is placed with a carer on a Residence Order / Child Arrangements Order and the carer is entitled to financial help, the child will have a Plan in place.

If there is an ongoing plan already in place, the financial need would be added to the current plan on MOSAIC and the service provided to meet this need would be "Residence Order/Special Guardianship Order -financial support".

If the case will remain open just to deliver financial support, the key team will cease their involvement by transferring the case to the Children’s Financial Review Team with the role added of U6 Financial Review only. A task will need to be sent to the Children’s Financial Review Team notifying them of the transfer. The case will then be held by the Children’s Financial Review Team as an open referral with Key Worker role U6.

On receipt of the task, the Children’s Financial Review Team will check that the Residence Order / Child Arrangements Order is recorded and will then add a review identifying a due date for the first review.


3. Payment Review Process

All Residence Order / Child Arrangements Order financial support arrangements require an annual review. The review has 2 components:

  • To establish that the young person continues to meet the requirements for an allowance;
  • To complete a financial review.

The local authority must also take account of any other grant, benefit, allowance or resource available to the person in respect of his needs as a result of being granted a Residence Order / Child Arrangements Order for the child. Financial support cannot duplicate any other payment available to the carer.

When the annual review is due, a Financial Assessment Review Form will be generated by the Children's Financial Review Team (Regulated Services), for completion by the carer. The team will review cases on an annual basis and will record any changes and outcomes onto MOSAIC as Financial Review. The carers with the Residence Order / Child Arrangements Order will be required to complete an allowance review questionnaire. This will include evidence of all entitlements to child benefit and Child Tax Credits.


4. Actions Following Payment Review

Once completed, the review paperwork will be forwarded to the Children’s Services Manager, Regulated Services for approval. The questionnaire will be scanned onto MOSAIC for retention. Once the review is completed the next review will be added to MOSAIC with a due date. All carers with Residence Order / Child Arrangements Order allowances will receive written confirmation of the outcome of the review.

All changes to the financial support will be notified to Softbox by Regulated Services.

Upon the order ceasing, the Children's Financial Review Team will close the case on MOSAIC.


5. Concerns for the Child Following Annual Review of Financial Support

If the Children's Financial Review Team have any concerns regarding the care of the child following completion of the review of the Plan, this should be raised with the Children's Service Manager, Regulated Services. Consideration may then be given by the  Children's Service Manager; Regulated Services to contact the CSC for initial screening or contact direct the area FAST team.

If the social worker has any concerns of a child protection nature, they must inform their line manager immediately and the Lincolnshire SCB - Managing Individual Cases where there are Concerns about a Child's Safety and Welfare - Procedures must be followed.

End