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1.4.3 Children in Need Plans and Network Meetings - Practice Guidance 

This guidance covers Children in Need allocated in the social work pods and in the Integrated Children’s Development and Disability Service. For those children allocated within ICDDS solely on the basis of Direct Payments, please see Procedure for Children in Need subject to Direct Payments and held in ICDDS (non-safeguarding pathway).

This is revised Brighton and Hove Practice Guidance which has been based on the City of York Council procedures.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in November 2017 to acknowledge that children subject to Supervision Orders as a result of care proceedings or private law proceedings should be identified as children in need. A meeting should be held in a timely way before the Order expires.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Statutory Framework
  3. The Child in Need Plan
  4. Visits to Children subject to a Child in Need Plan
  5. Arranging a Child in Need Network Meeting
  6. The Child in Need Network Meeting
  7. Concluding a Child in Need Plan
  8. Procedure for Children in Need subject to Direct Payments and held in ICDDS (non-safeguarding pathway)


1. Introduction

A Child in Need Plan informed by social work assessment requires regular and systematic review so that children, young people and their parents or carers and the multi-agency professionals working with the family are clear about their roles and responsibilities and in particular, the timescales of interventions and desired outcomes.

Regular review of a Child in Need Plan enables multi-agency discussion in consultation with parents and carers as to whether the intervention should be ‘stepped down’ from Children’s Social Work  to Early Help, maintained as Child in Need or whether safeguarding procedures should be implemented.

Child in Need Network Meetings should be held once every 3 months to ensure that progress towards the identified outcomes is being achieved.


2. Statutory Framework

A Child in Need Plan results from social work assessment and analysis that determines that a child is ‘in need’ under S.17 Children Act 1989.


3. The Child in Need Plan

A Child in Need Plan may be established whenever an assessment identifies the child as having significant needs and where a coordinated response from more than one agency is needed in order for the child's needs to be met. A Child in Need Plan may result from:

  • The decision at a Looked After Child Review that a child will cease to be looked after and the child needs multi-agency support to safeguard and promote their welfare;
  • A child being made subject to a Supervision Order as a result of Care Proceedings;
  • A child being subject to private law proceedings where a S7 or S37 report is ordered.


4. Visits to Children subject to a Child in Need Plan

It is expected that a child will be visited at a minimum of once every 6 weeks. This may need to be more frequent, depending of the level of intervention required with a family.


5. Arranging a Child in Need Network Meeting

A Child in Need Network  Meeting can be called at any time in the process of working with a child and family, but the Initial Child in Need Network  Meeting should be arranged no later than fifteen working days after the establishment of a Child in Need Plan. This will ensure that everyone is  clear about their role and responsibilities and in particular, the timescales of interventions and desired outcomes.

Subsequent Child in Need Network Meetings should be held with sufficient frequency to ensure that progress toward the identified outcomes for the child is being achieved. This should be, at a minimum of once every 3 months.

The child should attend all or part of the meeting where appropriate. The Child in Need Network Meeting should always involve family members, unless doing so would jeopardise the child’s wellbeing or that of another family member (for example, cases involving Domestic Violence and Abuse or Forced Marriage). A decision to exclude a family member must be endorsed by a Pod Manager or Team Manager (ICDDS) and recorded formally within the Minutes of the Meeting. An alternative forum to gain the views of an excluded parent should be found.


6. The Child in Need Network Meeting

A Child in Need Network  Meeting must always consider the needs of the child and work towards formulating a clear plan to meet such needs. The family should play a key role in this. Decisions will be made, where possible, with agreement (reflecting a desire to work in partnership), be based on negotiation (not imposition) and be respectful of family views. If no agreement can be reached, disagreements should be noted, along with any action proposed. The meeting should be chaired by a social worker or social work manager.

Child in Need Network Meeting Agenda

The Child in Need Network Meeting Agenda should cover the following:

  • Introductions;
  • Record of Attendance and Apologies;
  • A Brief Summary of the Risk and Protective Factors identified;
  • A Discussion to develop/review each element of the Child in Need Plan;
  • The outline Plan should address the following points:
    1. What are we worried about?
    2. What needs to change?
    3. What needs to happen?
    4. By when?
    5. By whom?

At subsequent Child in Need Network Meetings, each element needs to be reviewed. This must include:

  • An update regarding progress since the last Child in Need Network Meeting;
  • Any actions that result from this;
  • Consideration of ending the Child In Need Plan
    The meeting should  consider whether the intervention can be ‘stepped down’ from Children’s Social Work to Early Help, maintained as Child in Need or whether safeguarding procedures should be implemented;
  • The views and wishes of the Child/ren
    It is important that the voice of the child informs the work undertaken. It is essential that the child’s views and experience are considered, whether or not they are present at the meeting;
  • The views and wishes of the parents/carers
    It is important  that the views and wishes of the parent or carer be understood and recorded. The social worker should ensure that there is an opportunity for the meeting to consider the views and wishes of the parent;
  • Agreement and Disagreement to the discussion held and the proposed actions of the Child in Need Network Meeting
    The social worker  should seek agreement to the actions discussed, recording any disagreement and the reasons why;
  • Multi-Agency Update of when the child has been seen
    The meeting should ensure a record of visits to the child since the previous meeting including whether the child was alone or not. The meeting should  plan future visiting patterns;
  • Details of next Child in Need Network Meeting to be agreed
    The minutes should be distributed to all parties involved in the Child in Need Team, participants, within ten working days.


7. Concluding a Child in Need Plan

Regular review of a Child in Need Plan enables multi-agency discussion in consultation with parents and carers as to whether the intervention can be ‘stepped down’ from Children’s Social Work  to Early Help, maintained as Child in Need or whether safeguarding procedures should be implemented, or whether the case can be closed.

If a child is subject to Supervision Order, a child in Need Network Meeting should be held in a timely way before the order expires, so that should the concerns and issues remain, there is the opportunity to return the matter to court if required.


8. Procedure for Children in Need subject to Direct Payments and held in ICDDS (non-safeguarding pathway)

Managers in ICDDS are responsible for determining that a case may be managed under this procedure. This must be clearly recorded on the child’s file. Other children in need cases held in ICDDS are subject to the procedures outlined in sections1-7 above:

  • Visits to children under this procedure must be once every 3 months;
  • Reviews for children under this procedure must be held at least once every 6 months.

End