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DevonChildren and Families Procedures Manual

Amendments

This is the first update of the Devon Children and Families Manual. The manual will be updated every six months and a summary of the changes will be set out in these pages. Either current chapters will be updated or they will be replaced and/or new chapters will be added.

The next update will be in April 2018.

October 2017

Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child In Need)

Ofsted Online - Notification of Serious Childcare Incident

This chapter has been reviewed and updated in line with the requirement to notify Ofsted of any serious childcare incident using the Ofsted online notification form.

Case Records and Retention

This chapter has been revised to note the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse requires all institutions to retain their records relating to the care of children for the duration of the Inquiry.

Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Links have been added to the Related Guidance section which has been moved to the bottom of the chapter and renamed Further Information and Statutory guidance.

DfE/DOH Send Resources page which contains a range of resources to support the work on special educational needs and disability (SEND) and to the Carers Trust page which has information on working with young carers including assessment tools.

Ordinary Residence- Care and support Statutory Guidance (DoH)

The Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a court judgement on Ordinary Residence that was included in the updated Care and Support Statutory Guidance (DoH, December 2016). In Further Information a link was also added to guidance on SEND: 19 to 25 year olds' entitlement to EHC plans (DfE, February 2017).

Short Breaks

A link to the Local Offer for Short Breaks has been added.

Families with No Recourse to Public Funds

A link to Securing British Citizenship for Looked After Children has been added to the chapter.

The NRPF have highlighted important information from the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens, with regard to the responsibilities that local authorities have to ensure that children in their care have effective access to specialist legal advice so their citizenship or any entitlement to citizenship is secured.

Family and Friends Care

A link to FRG Initial Family and Friends Care has been added. This resource outlines what a viability assessment for family and friend carers should look like, what social workers should consider and how to undertake international assessments.

Young Carers

This chapter has been substantially rewritten and replaces the previous chapter of the same name. a new Section 5, Devon's Response for Young Carers has also been added.

Relinquished Children

The chapter has been reviewed and a small number of minor amendments have been added.

Decision to Look After and Care Planning

This chapter has been amended to reflect the outcome of an Appeal Court hearing (2017) with respect to 'consent'. The court recognised that the term 'consent' itself was not used in Section 20. However, it described previous court observations as 'good practice guidance', emphasizing its judgment should not alter the content or effect of these.

Ceasing to Look After a Child

The chapter has been reviewed and a small number of minor amendments have been added.

Placements with Parents

Section 3, Approval of Immediate Placements of Looked After Children with Connected Persons has been updated to include matters that should be considered when placing a child with a Connected Person should include an initial risk assessment of any pets, together with the environment in which the pet is kept.

Placements with Connected Persons

Section 3, Approval of Immediate Placements of Looked After Children with Connected Persons has been updated to include matters that should be considered when placing a child with a Connected Person should include an initial risk assessment of any pets, together with the environment in which the pet is kept.

In addition a link to FRG Initial Family and Friends Care was added. This resource outlines what a viability assessment for family and friend carers should look like, what social workers should consider and how to undertake international assessments.

Placements in Foster Care

The chapter has been reviewed and a small number of minor amendments have been added.

Placements in Residential Care

The chapter has been reviewed and a small number of minor amendments have been added.

Delegation of Authority to Foster Carers and Residential Workers

The chapter has been reviewed and a small number of minor amendments have been added.

Advocacy and Independent Visitors

A link to: Advocacy Services for Children and Young People – A Guide for Commissioners (The Children's Society) has been added. This guide on advocacy makes clear the legislative requirements of Local Authorities with regards to providing advocacy support to children in need and looked after children.

Education of Looked After Children

This chapter has been amended throughout and should be read in its entirety.

Health Care Assessments and Plans

A link to: Children's Attachment: Attachment in Children and Young People who are Adopted from Care, in Care or at High Risk of Going into Care - NICE Guidelines (NG26) has been added. This guideline covers the identification, assessment and treatment of attachment difficulties in children and young people up to age 18 who are adopted from care, in special guardianship, looked after by local authorities in foster homes (including kinship foster care), residential settings and other accommodation, or on the edge of care. It aims to address the many emotional and psychological needs of children and young people in these situations, including those resulting from maltreatment.

Staying Put

Links to Housing Benefit and Council Tax have been added to Section 5.2, Housing Benefit/Universal Credit and Section 5.3, Council Tax and Council Tax Benefit.

Supervision and Support of Foster Carers

Section 3, Approval of Immediate Placements of Looked After Children with Connected Persons has been updated to include matters that should be considered when placing a child with a Connected Person should include an initial risk assessment of any pets, together with the environment in which the pet is kept.

Assessment and Approvals of Prospective Adopters

Section 5.3, Assessments has been updated to include where the applicants have pets, a risk assessment should be conducted and any associated risks should be taken into account with regard to the pet itself and where the pet is kept. Where necessary, an independent assessment should be undertaken by a vet to establish whether the dog falls within the scope of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Placement for Adoption

This chapter was updated when a link to: Contact After Adoption was added and in Section 11, Children Approved for Adoption for Whom no Placement has been Identified clarification about the information that the child's social worker must present where a child has been approved for adoption but not placed within 12 months.

Inter Country Adoption

Links have been added to the DfE Intercountry Adoption and Resident Status Requirements and to the Intercountry Adoption: Means Test Form. In addition Information and a link has been added on the Intercountry Adoption: Checklist for Adoption.

New Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Children's Services Values and Principles

This new chapter provides the context for all Devon procedures and should be read in its entirety.

Consultation Values and Principles

This new chapter emphasises that everyone involved in the receipt and delivery of services should be consulted about decisions, which may affect them.

This includes children, their parents, other significant family members and those charged with providing the service; including managers, staff, carers and professionals or colleagues from other agencies. This means that people's views should be sought and taken into account in relation to all decisions, which are likely to affect their daily life and their future.

Children's Consultation and Participation

Working Together 2015 states clearly that one of the key principles underpinning safeguarding should be: ''a child-centred approach: for services to be effective they should be based on a clear understanding of the needs and views of children.''

It is essential therefore that children and young people are enabled by professionals to participate in matters that affect them, particularly any plans or arrangements that will affect them and/or their family and are consulted with regard to processes designed to improve services both to them individually and more generally.

Recording Policy and Guidelines

This chapter has been substantially rewritten and replaces the previous chapter of the same name.

Placements in Secure Accommodation on Welfare Grounds

This chapter has been extensively amended and now includes new/enhanced sections on 'Applications for Secure Accommodation'; 'Children to Whom Section 25 Applies', (including the issues of children aged 16 years and Section 20 Accommodation); 'Placements for Children aged under 13 years' and 'Support, Monitoring and Ending of Placements' etc. The chapter has also been re-titled to reflect its (original) content and purpose (that of applications for children on 'welfare grounds'), thereby distinguishing it from the 'Remands to Local Authority Accommodation, etc' (LASPO Act 2012).

This chapter has also been amended in respect of Secure Accommodation - Placements in Scotland: Schedule 1, Children and Social Work Act 2017, that now enables local authorities to make placements in Secure Accommodation under Sect 25 (Children Act 1989).

Social Visits (including Overnight Stays)

This policy and procedure applies to Looked After Children placed in foster homes in relation to social visits and where overnight stays with friends are planned.

Change of Name of a Looked After Child

This chapter has been extensively revised and replaces the previous chapter of the same name. it should be read in its entirety.

Applications for Special Guardianship Orders

This chapter has been extensively revised and replaces the previous chapter of the same name. it should be read in its entirety.

List of Agency Decision Makers, Designated Managers and Nominated Officers

This chapter has been substantially updated throughout.

Next Update: April 2018