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3.12.1 Social Worker Visits

Note that different provisions apply to children who acquire Looked After status as a result of a remand to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation. In relation to those children, please see Section 8, Care Planning for Young People on Remand of the Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation Procedure.

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015)

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in March 2016 in line with the DfE, Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015) to reflect the impact of a child’s long term placement (see Section 1, Normal Frequency).


Contents

  1. Normal Frequency
  2. Exceptions
  3. Who Should be Seen?
  4. Purpose
  5. Recording


1. Normal Frequency

Wherever a Looked After Child is placed, the child's social worker must visit the child in the placement at the following intervals, subject to the conditions below:

  1. Within one week of the start of any placement;
  2. Then at intervals of no more than six weeks during the first year of any placement;
  3. Thereafter, at intervals of not more than 6 weeks (or 3 months if the placement is intended to last until the child is 18);
  4. Where a child is in a designated long-term foster placement visits after the first year may take place at intervals of not more than six months. where the child, being of sufficient age and understanding, has agreed to be visited at this minimum frequency.

This applies to all new placements where, for example, a child moves from one placement to another.

Some visits should be unannounced.

NB. During a child's placement in foster care, the foster carers will also receive visits from their fostering social worker - see section on the Role of the Fostering Social Worker in Assessment and Approval of Foster Carers Procedure.


2. Exceptions

If the child is placed with parents pending assessment, social work visits must take place at least once a week until the first Looked After Review, thereafter at intervals of not more than 6 weeks.

If the child is living with the parents under an Interim Care Order, visits must take place at least once a week until the first Looked After Review, thereafter at intervals of not more than 4 weeks.

If the child is placed with a Connected Person with temporary approval, visits must take place at least once a week until the first Looked After Review, thereafter at intervals of not more than 4 weeks.

If the child is in the care of the Local Authority but another person is responsible for the child's living arrangements (for example where a child is placed in a Youth Offenders' Institution or a health care setting), within a week of the start/any change of living arrangements, at intervals of not more than 6 weeks for the first year; at intervals of not more than 3 months in any subsequent year.


3. Who Should be Seen?

Wherever possible, the child must be seen in private and alone (unless the child is of sufficient age and maturity and refuses or the social worker considers it inappropriate to do so). If this is not possible, a further visit must be made at short notice in order that the child can be seen alone and observed with the staff/carer.

On some occasions, the social worker should also arrange to visit at times when all members of a household can be seen; or for children's homes, a significant number of adults and children.


4. Purpose

The purpose of the visit is to ensure the placement continues to promote the child's welfare and in particular:

  1. To give the child the opportunity to express his or her wishes, feelings and views;
  2. To advise, assist and befriend the child;
  3. To observe the child with the staff/foster carer/parent;
  4. To monitor the standard of care offered by the placement;
  5. To monitor how the contact arrangements are working;
  6. To provide support to the placement;
  7. To identify any areas where additional support is required;
  8. To evaluate whether the placement is helping to achieve the objectives of the child's Care Plan.

Placement Plan Reviews can be undertaken during social workers visits.


5. Recording

A written report on each visit must be made by the social worker and the child's electronic social care record updated. It should record the following details:

  1. Who was seen;
  2. Whether the child was seen and if not why not;
  3. Whether the child was seen alone;
  4. Any comments made by the child or the staff/carers/parents;
  5. Any matters of concern or difficulties;
  6. Any observations on the child's welfare and the success of the placement;
  7. Any requirements for action.

End