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3.6.1 Death or Serious Injury to a Looked After Child

RELATED GUIDANCE

Ofsted Online - Notification of serious childcare incident

AMENDMENT

This chapter has been amended in December 2018. From 29 June 2018 local authorities in England must notify the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel within 5 working days of becoming aware of a serious incident.


Contents

  1. Death of a Looked After Child
  2. Serious Injury to a Looked After Child


1. Death of a Looked After Child

Local authorities in England must notify the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (the Panel) within 5 working days of becoming aware of a serious incident.

Incidents should be reported where the local authority knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected and:

  • The child dies (including suspected suicide) or is seriously harmed in the local authority’s area;
  • While normally resident in the local authority’s area, the child dies or is seriously harmed outside England.

The process for reporting a serious incident to the Panel are set out on GOV.UK.

The following tasks are required.

The child’s social worker will:

  1. Immediately inform his or her line manager;
  2. Notify the parent(s) immediately and in person, if possible;
  3. Discuss with the parent(s) and reach agreement regarding the arrangements for the funeral (in the event of sudden, unexplained deaths arrangements for the funeral may need to be delayed);
  4. Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the cause of death and pass this to their line manager; and
  5. Discuss with the manager any necessary expenditure including reasonable travel expenses to assist the family in attending the funeral where it appears there is financial hardship;
  6. Following discussion with their Team Manager, contact the Police.

The social worker’s line manager will:

  1. Immediately inform the Service Manager and contact the Head of Service by telephone and provide follow up information in writing as soon as possible afterwards;
  2. Advise Legal Services initially by telephone, then confirm details in writing; and
  3. Contact the Insurance Section of the Finance Department, initially by telephone and then in writing.

The Head of Service will:

  1. Inform the Corporate Director for Children and Learning;
  2. Consider the appropriate manager to conduct a Management Review;
  3. Consider whether a Child Safeguarding Practice Review is required under the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board Procedure, Serious Case Reviews; and
  4. Inform the Department for Education and the Regulatory Authority;

For guidance in relation to Management Reviews, see Incidents Guidance.

Foster Carers/Residential Staff must take the following action:

  • Take immediate action and contact the emergency service;
  • Take First Aid action;
  • Ensure the other children in the home are safe and reassure them;
  • If necessary arrange for someone else to look after the other children in the home;
  • If carers are sure the child is dead they should not move the child's body and should contact the child's GP;
  • The foster carer/residential staff must ensure that they inform the child's social worker, duty officer or social worker's line manager;
  • If the death occurs outside of office hours, the Emergency Duty Team should be informed;
  • Inform the social worker if there are any suspicious circumstances.

The GP or hospital doctor will write out a medical certificate showing the cause of death. This is in a sealed envelope addressed to the Registrar.

Another notice informing how to register the death will also be given.

The GP will make arrangements to have the child’s body collected.

The social worker should discuss with the foster carer or residential worker whether they wish to be involved with informing the child’s parents.

Care must be taken not talk about the situation until the parent has been informed.


2. Serious Injury to a Looked After Child

Where information comes to notice of serious injury to a Child in Care, the following tasks are required.

The child’s social worker will:

  1. Immediately inform his or her line manager;
  2. Notify the parent(s) immediately and in person, if possible;
  3. Arrange with the parent(s) to visit the child in hospital;
  4. Obtain as much information as possible on the circumstances surrounding the injury and pass this to their line manager; and
  5. Discuss with the manager any necessary expenditure including reasonable travel expenses to assist the family in visiting the child where it appears there is financial hardship;
  6. Following discussion with their manager, contact the Police.

The social worker’s line manager will:

  1. Immediately inform the Head of Service by telephone and provide follow up information in writing as soon as possible afterwards;
  2. Advise Legal Services initially by telephone, then confirm details in writing;
  3. Contact the Insurance Section of the Finance Department, initially by telephone and then in writing; and
  4. Where the child was placed in foster care or residential care, advise the Regulatory Authority, initially by telephone followed with written information. Ofsted Notification form is located on Ofsted Online - Notification of serious childcare incident.

The Head of Service will:

  1. Inform the Corporate Director for Children and Learning;
  2. Consider the appropriate manager to conduct a Management Review;
  3. Consider whether a Child Safeguarding Practice Review is required under the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board Procedures, Serious Case Reviews;
  4. If not already done, inform the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel using the Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents. Notifications made through this route will go to the Panel, Ofsted and the DfE. The local authority must also notify the Secretary of State and Ofsted where a looked after child has died, whether or not abuse or neglect is known or suspected.

For Guidance in relation to Management Reviews, see Incidents Guidance.

End