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3.1 Children in Need Procedure

RELATED GUIDANCE

Guidance on Outcome Focused and SMART Child Protection and Child in Need Plans

AMENDMENT

In July 2021, this procedure was reviewed and extensively updated.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Timeframes
  3. Health and Disability Cases
  4. The Child in Need Plan
  5. The Child in Need Meeting


1. Introduction

A Child in Need Plan (also known as a CIN Plan) results from social work assessment and analysis which determines that a child is ‘in need’ under section 17 Children Act 1989.

A Child in Need Plan is not required if a child has a Child Protection Plan, Looked After Child Care Plan or Pathway Plan in place to coordinate multi agency interventions.

Our goal is to work with children and families who meet the threshold for Child in Need in a time limited and multi-agency manner, to enable them to bring about systemic change, to build strength and support systemic family changes to improve outcomes.


2. Timeframes

An initial Child in Need meeting must be convened within 10 working days of a decision that Child in Need intervention is required. A review Child in Need meeting will be held at least every 6 weeks.

Visits should be at least every 20 working days. The visit frequency must be agreed within the initial Child in Need meeting and must take into consideration the unique situation of the child and family. The recording of the visit on the Mosaic visit workflow should be completed within 3 days of the visit taking place.

It is the expectation that most children (other than those with an enduring health or disability need) will be supported by a Child in Need plan no longer than 9 months to ensure timely and proportionate intervention. Any children remaining on a Child in Need plan at 6 months will be considered through a Peer Management Review with Group Manager oversight to ensure that Child in Need remains the most appropriate and proportionate intervention.


3. Health and Disability cases

For children with an enduring health or disability need (usually those supported by the Health and Disability team).

An Initial Child in Need meeting should be held within 10 working days of the conclusion of the single assessment.

The first review Child in Need Meeting should be held within 3 months of the initial and subsequent reviews should be held at least 6 monthly as agreed with the team manager.

Visits should be a minimum of 12 weekly. The visit frequency must be agreed within the initial Child in Need meeting and must take into consideration the unique situation of the child and family. A more frequent level of visiting would be expected during the single assessment and up to the initial Child in Need meeting. The recording of the visit on the visit workflow should be completed within 3 days of the visit taking place to ensure accurate recording.


4. The Child in Need Plan

A Child in Need Plan is established when an assessment identifies the child as ‘in need’.

The plan should be constructed with the parents and child using a systemic approach. The plan should focus on outcomes, to help achieve this the Child in Need Plan uses the following prompts:

  • What are we worried about? What needs to change for the child to be safe and to achieve the best he/she can? What needs to change for the parents/carers to keep the child safe and achieve the best they can? (Directly link to the identified needs)
  • What actions are required to bring about the needed change? (Which interventions meet the outcomes specified?)
  • Who will do what?
  • By when? Timescale – when does this need to be done by?
  • What should the result be? Actual Outcome evidencing the impact on child- how will their lived experience different?


5. The Child in Need Meeting

The Child in Need Plan is reviewed through Child in Need Meetings.

The initial Child in Need Meeting will be chaired by the Team Manager or Senior Social Worker. Review Child in Need meetings will be chaired by the allocated Social Worker.

The final Child in Need Meeting, whereby a case closure/step down of support is recommended will be chaired by the Team Manager or Senior Social Worker to ensure review of all information before the decision is made for a child to be closed to the service.

The purpose of the Child in Need Review meeting is to review and monitor progress with the family against the intended outcomes set out in the plan.

The meeting should always consider the views and wishes of the child, either through them attending the meeting or by them sharing their views with a trusted adult in advance. The social worker share the child’s views / voice of the child which they have obtained through direct work they have undertaken or through the Mind of My Own app.

  • A discussion and update of each identified element of the Child in Need Plan is required to review and monitor progress against the intended outcomes set out in the plan. In addition, an update regarding family dynamics / circumstances impacting the child since the last Child in Need Review Meeting should be sought. There should be discussion, review and challenge on the progress of agreed actions. Any written information provided by professionals not at the meeting must be shared. The plan must be amended and updated and action taken if risks escalate / de-escalate. Each review meeting should actively consider Thresholds as set out in the City of York Thresholds Document (Level of Need Descriptors).

There should always be an opportunity for the meeting to hear and record the views and wishes of the child.

  • The possible outcomes of a Child in Need review meeting are:
    1. That the child is no longer a Child in Need requiring Children's Social Work Service intervention, with a recommendation for the next steps. Next steps should always include discussion about support provided by the Early Help;
    2. That the child continues to be a Child in Need requiring the same level of services, resulting in the continuing provision of services and minor amendment, as necessary, of the Child in Need plan;
    3. That the child’s needs are sufficiently complex and/or they requires additional services to promote their welfare such as to justify an update of the Single Assessment;
    4. That the child appears to be at risk of Significant Harm, resulting in the need for a Strategy Discussion/Meeting and possible Section 47 Enquiry.
  • Before closing the meeting, the Chair must ensure that those present agree to a new time, date and venue for a further Child in Need Review Meeting.

Review Meetings should be held at a duration of 6 weekly to ensure that progress toward the identified outcomes for the child are being achieved.

The Child in Need Review Meeting record on Mosaic

It is essential that every Child in Need Review Meeting is minuted in compliance with the Child in Need Review Minutes Pro Forma.

The minutes should be recorded onto the system within 3 working days and distributed to all parties by the chair of the meeting within 10 working days.

End