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3.1.1 Becoming Looked After

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter should be read in conjunction with Decision to Look After and Care Planning Procedure.

RELATED GUIDANCE

ACRP Terms of Reference

AMENDMENT

In December 2016, a revised edition of the ACRP Terms of Reference were linked to from this chapter.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Becoming Looked After Process for all Children
  3. The Social Worker’s Responsibilities
  4. Team Manager’s Responsibilities
  5. IRO Service’s Responsibilities
  6. Access to Care and Resources Panel (ACRP)


1. Introduction

The decision to Accommodate a child or young person is a momentous and life changing event for them and their family and should only happen with due consideration of all the alternatives and with the needs of the child or young person at the forefront of our consideration. Departmentally we support the view that children's needs are best met within their own families, unless there is evidence that this would be inconsistent with their welfare. The Team Manager should alert the Operational manager within their regular supervision of any cases where they believe a child may need to become looked after, so that a discussion regarding the case can take place.


2. The Becoming Looked After Process for all Children

Please read in conjunction with the ACRP Terms of Reference document.

In all cases a Multi Agency Planning Meeting will be convened. The meeting will be chaired by the Team Manager with case responsibility. The meetings fall into 4 categories:

  1. Where the social work team’s assessment is that the child needs to become Looked After and legal proceedings need to be initiated a legal planning meeting will be convened;
  2. Where the social work team’s assessment is that the child may need to become Looked After but the PLO process is assessed as needing to be initiated first;
  3. Where the social work team’s assessment is that the child needs to become Looked After under Section 20 a planning meeting will be convened;
  4. Where the child has become Looked After in an emergency e.g. EPO, Police Protection a Legal Planning or Planning Meeting will be convened.

The Team Manager will analyse the information presented by the social worker, Deputy Team manager, multi-agency professionals to whom the child is known and a legal representative (if required). A Team Manager from the CLA Service needs to be invited to attend the meeting if the request is for a child to be looked after.

The Team Manager will complete the necessary documentation and present their recommendation to the Access to Care and Resources Panel. If a child or young person needs to be looked after in an emergency, agreement from a Head of service is to be sought outside of the Panel.


3. The Social Worker’s Responsibilities

  • To complete the Child Looked After Request on ICS. The CLA request should be supported by the most recent assessment, report or minutes and sent to Team manager;
  • To convene a Legal planning Meeting/ planning Meeting and ensure that the following attend:
    • TM to chair the meeting;
    • TM or DTM from CLA Service;
    • Multi- Agency professionals;
    • Legal representative (if required);
    • To complete necessary paperwork in IC for the ACRP panel.
  • To place a record of the decision made by the Head of Service (email) on the child’s file.


4. Team Manager’s Responsibilities

The Team Manager will chair the Legal Planning meeting/ Planning Meeting and make a recommendation to the Head of Service on whether or not a child should become Looked After or be subject to pre-proceedings. They will need to ensure that the quality of the social work undertaken is of a high standard. That all case processes and care planning options have been exhausted and ensure that there is a SMART plan in place to avoid delay in any proposed care proceedings and permanency options for the child.

In addition they will:

  • To record the Legal Planning Meeting/ Planning Meeting on ICS;
  • To ensure that the case is referred to the ACRP panel and necessary paperwork is completed for ACRP;
  • Following agreement at BLA at ACRP to alert the IRO Manager when the decision is that a child should become Looked After;
  • To complete the permanency tracker on ICS and ACRP tracker if requested to do so.


5. IRO Service’s Responsibilities

  • To allocate an IRO within 48 hours of a child becoming Looked After.


6. Access to Care and Resources Panel (ACRP)

Please see separate terms of reference for ACRP.

Should circumstances change or an emergency arise the Operational manager should not delay in ensuring a child’s safety and emergency proceedings should be instigated immediately in consultation with the Head of Service. 

End