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3.12.2 Independent Futures (Leaving Care)

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter describes how the Independent Futures Care Leavers' Service undertakes the statutory responsibilities towards young people who leave care. The legislation embodies the expectation that local authorities must assume the role of a responsible parent for young people it is looking after and to whom it will provide subsequent advice and assistance. This legislation places duties and powers on each local authority to provide help until a young person reaches at least the age of 21.

RELATED CHAPTER

Staying Put Procedure

RELATED GUIDANCE

The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers (revised January 2015)

Care Leavers Charter

Department for Education webpage on Children Leaving Care, which has links to several related pieces of guidance/information.

If you are looking for any standard templates to use that are listed in these procedures, please click on this link below as this will take you to the Children's Social Care area of Izzi (the council's intranet).

NB: This is only possible if you are logged into the Council's network.

There are a lot of template documents there but if there is any thing you cannot find, please contact the relevant Team or Operational Manager for the area of practice concerned.

Click here to access Izzi.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was substantially revised and updated in June 2015 and should be re-read in full.


Contents

1. Definitions of Service Users
2. Introduction
3. Young People who become Looked After at the Age of 16 or 17
4. Transfer of Responsibility from the Children-in-Need Service to Independent Futures
5. Allocation of a Personal Adviser by Independent Futures
6. Joint Working Meetings CLA, DCT and Transitions Teams and IF
7. Introductory Meeting with the Child or Young Person
8. Pathway Plan Part 1: The Needs Assessment
9. Pathway Plan Part 2: The Plan
10. Pathway Plan
11. Case Responsibility
12. Education, Training and Employment
13. Health and Emotion Well-Being
14. Accessing Community Based Resources
15. Placements, Accommodation and Housing
16. Planned Placement Ending and Placement Ending in an Emergency
17. Independent Accommodation
18. Finance
19. Setting up Home Allowance
20. Post Eighteen, Extending Foster Care - Staying Put
21. Liaison with Family and Foster Carers
22. Completion of the Islington Leaving Care Task Checklist
23. Extending Life Story Work
24. Joint Supervision, Contingency Planning, Case Resolution and Complaints
25. Case Transfer Issues
26. Care and Pathway Plan Roles and Responsibilities
  26.1 Education, Training and Employment
  26.2 Health and Emotion Well Being
  26.3 Accessing Community Based Resources
  26.4 Placements, Accommodation and Housing
  26.5 Planned Placement Ending and Placement Ending in an Emergency
  26.6 Independent Accommodation
  26.7 Finance
  26.8 Setting up Home Allowance
  26.9 Post Eighteen, Extending Foster Care - Staying Put
  26.10 Liaison with Family and Foster Carers
  26.11 Completion of the Islington Leaving Care Task Checklist
  26.12 Extending Life Story Work
  26.13 Joint Supervision, Contingency Planning, Case Resolution and Complaints
  26.14 Case Transfer Issues
  26.15 Conclusion
27. Reviews
  27.1 Introduction
  27.2 Statutory Looked After Child Review
    27.2.1 Cases Requiring Statutory Review
    27.2.2 Frequency of Reviews
    27.2.3 Changes to Review Dates
    27.2.4 Venue
    27.2.5 Timing of Reviews
    27.2.6 Invitations and Attendance
    27.2.7 Consultation Prior to the Review
    27.2.8 Social Work Duties Prior to the Review
    27.2.9 Independent Reviewing Officer
    27.2.10 Review Agenda
    27.2.11 Recording of the Review
  27.3 Pathway Plan Review
    27.3.1 Cases Requiring Pathway Plan Reviews
    27.3.2 Frequency of Reviews
    27.3.3 Purpose
    27.3.4 Invitations and Attendance
    27.3.5 Venue
    27.3.6 Recording of the Review
28. Education, Training and Employment
  28.1 Role and significance of Education
  28.2 Barriers to Success
  28.3 Action to Improve Educational Prospects for Young People
  28.4 Independent Futures' Responsibilities as Corporate Parents
  28.5 Young People with Special Educational Needs
  28.6 Young People with a Disability
  28.7 Young Parents
  28.8 Young People in Secure Accommodation
  28.9 Post 16 Education
  28.10 Post 18 Opportunities
  28.11 Careers Service
29. Personal Education Plan (PEP)
  29.1 Introduction
  29.2 Requirement for PEP
  29.3 Preparing and Agreeing a PEP
  29.4 Venue for PEP Meeting
  29.5 Timescale
  29.6 Content
  29.7 Recording the PEP
  29.8 Education of Former Relevant Young People
30. Accommodation
  30.1 Legislation and Policy Guidance
  30.2 Change of Address
  30.3 Placements for Young People Aged 16-18 Years
  30.4 Placement Meeting
  30.5 Venue
  30.6 Who Should Attend
  30.7 Recording (Eligible Young People)
  30.8 Monitoring of the Placement
  30.9 Placement of Young People Aged 16 or Over with their Parents
  30.10 Moving Young People to Placements
    30.10.1 In Office Hours
    30.10.2 Out of Office Hours
  30.11 Placements for Young People Over 18 Years Old
    30.11.1 By 16 Years of Age
    30.11.2 At 18 Years of Age
    30.11.3 After 19 Years of Age
  30.12 Applications for Local Authority Housing
  30.13 Practical Help for Young People 18+ in their Own Homes
  30.14 Mother and Baby Placements
31. Health
  31.1 Importance of Healthy Development for Young People
  31.2 Factors for Contributing to Poor Health Outcomes
  31.3 Health Assessment
  31.4 Health Assessment Review
  31.5 Emotional Health Concerns Arising from Health Assessment
  31.6 Health Assessment Review Content
  31.7 Health Plan
  31.8 Health Plan Guidance
  31.9 Registered GP
  31.10 Dental Care
  31.11 Optical Care
  31.12 Vaccinations and Immunisations
  31.13 Contraception and Sexual Health Services
  31.14 Drug and Alcohol Services
  31.15 Retention and Recording of Health Information
  31.16 Confidentiality
  31.17 Young People with a Disability
  31.18 Black and Minority Ethnic Young People
  31.19 Asylum Seeking Young People
  31.20 Consent to Medical Examination or Treatment
    31.20.1 Young People Aged 16 or 17
    31.20.2 Young People Aged 18+
    31.20.3 Consent by Independent Futures
  31.21 Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being
  31.22 CAMHS Workers Provide
  31.23 Venue for CAMHS Meetings with Young People
  31.24 Consultation between CAMHS Workers and Social Workers
  31.25 Sharing of Health Information


1. Definitions of Service Users

Young people using Independent Futures will include:

  • Eligible Young people - Aged 16/17 who have been Looked After for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 and who are still Looked After;
  • Relevant Young People - Aged 16 and 17, and who were previously Eligible Young People, but who are no longer Looked After;
  • Former Relevant Young People - Aged 18 to 21 years (up to 24 if in an agreed course of education or training) who have been Eligible, Relevant or both;
  • Qualifying Young People - A young person who was Looked After post 16 years of age, but who is not Eligible or Relevant because they have not been Looked After for 13 weeks. Qualifying Young People retain that status when they become 18 up to the age of 21 (or 24 if in an agreed course of education or training). A young person aged between 16 and 21 (or 24 if in an agreed course of education or training) who left care after the age of 16 but before the Children (Leaving Care) Act came into force would also be a Qualifying young person.

Any decision to cease looking after a child aged 16 or 17 who is Looked After other than by virtue of a Care Order, must be approved by the Director of Children's Services. The Director must be satisfied that:

  • The child’s wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration;
  • The child’s Independent Reviewing Officer has been consulted;
  • The child’s relatives have been consulted, where appropriate.

Independent Futures will provide an inclusive service which values diversity and offers equality of access and support to all young people within the above definitions irrespective of ethnic background; asylum seeking status; gender; disability; sexual orientation or parental status.


2. Introduction

Looked after children in Islington who aged 16 and 17 years old (Eligible Children) are usually allocated both a Social Worker (SW) and a Personal Adviser (PA).

For some older young people who have recently become looked after and where Independent Futures (IF), the Islington Care Leaver’s Service, is the key team the allocated SW in IF may also take the Personal Adviser role.

The Social Worker will be the allocated case worker and will usually be from one of the Children Looked After (CLA) teams, although they may also be from the Disabled Children’s Team (DCT), the Transitions Team, or a Child in Need (CIN) Team.

PAs are allocated from within the Independent Futures team. A PA will either be a Qualified Social Worker (QSW) or a Young Person’s Adviser (YPA) from the IF team

This protocol is intended to set out the roles and responsibilities of Social Workers and Personal Advisers.

This protocol is complementary to the Case Transfer Policy, and should be read in conjunction with that policy.


3. Young People who become Looked After at the Age of 16 or 17

Whenever a 16 or 17 year old is homeless Children’s Social Care have a duty to assess the young person’s needs and establish their wishes and feelings.

An allocated SW in the CIN service completes an initial assessment and an interview with the young person based on the ‘Croydon Questions’. If a young person is assessed as being a Child-in-Need and is homeless and wishes to become a looked after child the Local Authority has a duty to offer s.20 accommodation, subject to BLA Panel and senior management agreement.

Decisions to look after a 16 or 17 year old will be agreed at BLA meetings held by the CIN service. The Team Manager of IF will attend the meetings The meeting will ensure the views of IF and CIN are shared when considering BLA recommendations, and enable IF to make early provision for allocation of a Personal Adviser.

Where a 16 or 17 year old becomes (or remains) a Looked after Child they become entitled to leaving care services. If they leave care after their 16th birthday but before they have been in care for more than 13 weeks since they were aged 14, they are classified as Qualifying Children. If they remain in care such that their total time looked after since the age of 14 exceeds 13 weeks, they become Eligible Children. If an Eligible Child leaves care before the age of 16, they become a Relevant Child. An Eligible or Relevant Child becomes a Former Relevant Child when they turn 18.


4. Transfer of Responsibility from the Children-in-Need Service to Independent Futures

Young people who become looked after at the age of 16 or 17 are initially allocated a SW from a CIN team. The CIN SW is responsible for the initial assessment that leads to the young person becoming looked after. The CIN SW is responsible for visiting a young person who becomes looked after as a result of being remanded.

If a young person is being case managed within the CIN service and becomes 16 before their first review then they should also be transferred from CIN to Independent Futures under this protocol

When the first review is being organised social workers in CIN will ensure the Team Manager for Independent futures is invited. Where possible the IF Team Manager will allocate a worker from IF to attend.

The allocated social worker in the CIN service will complete Pathway Plan Part 1 within 13 weeks of the young person becoming looked after. The allocated social worker will then complete Pathway Plan Part 2, consulting with the allocated PA, by the time of the second CLA review. Case responsibility will transfer to IF after the second review.

When a child become looked after at 16 or 17 the CIN service should notify the Independent Futures Team Manager by email, including notification of the date of the first LAC review.

Independent Futures will allocate a Personal Advisor (PA) as soon as possible after receiving the notification email.

Whenever possible, and subject to sufficient notice, the allocated PA will attend the first LAC Review (4 weeks after the BLA date).

The young person will be allocated a Social Worker from within the IF team and may also be allocated a separate Personal Adviser from the IF team. However, in some cases the IF SW may take the role of the PA as well, this is because:

  • The IF SW will continue to support the young person as a PA after the age of 18;
  • Joint working arrangements (separate SW and PA) are established in other cases partly in order to preserve the continuity of a young person’s supportive relationship with their existing SW, which does not apply in these cases;
  • Regulations and guidance allow for a SW to take the role of the PA.

The CIN service and IF will also agree on the date of a meeting between the relevant DTM from each service, and the allocated worker from each service. This four-way meeting should take place either on the same day as the Review (but not during the Review) or within two weeks of the date of that Review (before or after).

The purpose of the initial 4-way meeting is to:

  • Co-ordinate joint working on the case;
  • Agree on roles and responsibilities;
  • Allocate specific tasks to each team;
  • Set a date for the transfer of the case to IF;
  • Consider whether the case should transfer at the second LAC review, or whether to convene a transfer meeting after the 2nd review.

The social worker from independent futures and CIN social workers should both be at the 2nd review.

The case will always transfer after the second review. Before a case is transferred the following tasks must be completed:

  • Chronology up to date;
  • Case notes must be completed up to date and finalised;
  • Single assessment;
  • Profile and risk assessment;
  • Record of case management decisions and supervisions;
  • Accurate demographic information ( in demographics tab on ICS);
  • Signposting of relevant documents on ICS;
  • Notification of first child care review or first child protection conference to incoming team as early as possible;
  • Placement planning meeting ( prior to start or within 72 hours of placement);
  • Placement plan ( within 5 working days);
  • Initial health assessment ( within 28 days);
  • PEP;
  • PP part 1;
  • PP part 2;
  • Contact planning – where relevant for Southwark;
  • Case summary reviewed and updated;
  • Agreement for funding or any expert assessments agreed prior to transfer;
  • Before transferring the case should be QA by transferring manager.

As agreed at the meeting, where tasks can be negotiated before transfer this should be agreed between managers from CIN or IF. Where there are matters of disagreement, it is the responsibility of the line managers to give case direction on the issues. The CIN service should confirm that these tasks are complete before transferring the case on ICS.

The teams should meet to discuss the transfer if necessary and as agreed.


5. Allocation of a Personal Adviser by Independent Futures

The Independent Futures (IF) team manager will consult the weekly looked after children list (Team Space) on a monthly basis and allocate a Personal Adviser from within the IF team by the date of the young person’s 16th birthday.

When a child becomes looked after at the age of 16 or 17:

  • The IF team manager will be invited by the CIN manager to any relevant BLA/Legal Planning meetings;
  • The CIN service should notify the Independent Futures Team Manager by email, including notification of the date of the first LAC review;
  • Independent Futures will allocate a Personal Advisor (PA) as soon as possible after receiving the notification email;
  • Whenever possible, and subject to sufficient notice, the allocated PA will attend the first LAC Review (4 weeks after the BLA date). If there is no PA allocated the IF team manager will aim to ensure that IF are represented at the review.


6. Joint Working Meetings CLA, DCT and Transitions Teams and IF

At the start of the joint working period between the allocated CLA team and the IF service a joint working meeting should take place for each young person. The meeting must involve:

  • The current allocated SW and their Deputy Team Manager (DTM);
  • The allocated PA and their DTM.

The following people should also be invited to the meeting:

  • The Supervising Social Worker (SSW) for children who are in an in-house foster placement;
  • The allocated worker from the Virtual School.

The joint working (4-way) meeting dates will be fixed by the Business Support managers for IF and CLA teams in consultation with the Deputy Team Managers for the allocated CLA team and the IF Team Manager.

The meeting should cover the topics listed in the Initial Joint Working meeting standard Agenda and Minutes template. APPENDIX 1.

The meeting is an opportunity for the allocated CLA team and the IF team to discuss the background of the case, agree on the priority tasks and on the roles and responsibilities for those tasks.

A copy of the completed Agenda and Minutes template should be copied or uploaded to ICS by the CLA DTM following the meeting.

SW’s and PA’s should communicate regularly about the case during the period of joint working (whilst the young person remains an Eligible Child).

At a minimum, the SW and the PA and at least one, but preferably both, of the respective DTM’s must meet for a joint supervision at the midway point between reviews. This meeting should:

  • Receive an update on the implementation of the previous review decisions or a timescale for completion;
  • Identify updates required to the Pathway Plan;
  • Discuss the accommodation options for the young person prior to age 18 to ensure arrangements are in place.

This joint supervision record must be recorded on ICS by the case holding DTM under the drop down heading for type of contact as ‘Supervision case management’ and under reason for contact ‘Review decisions update’.


7. Introductory Meeting with the Child or Young Person

The SW in the CLA team should organise an informal introductory meeting to introduce the PA. Ideally the introductory meeting should take place at the young person’s placement.

This introductory meeting must include the young person, the SW and the PA

The foster carers, or the residential social worker/key worker, and the supervising social worker must be informed of the meeting and may be invited as appropriate.

Where appropriate, members of the young person’s family should also be informed of the meeting arrangements and invited.

At the introductory meeting the PA should explain the role of Independent Futures in supporting young people leaving care in Islington. The PA should also explain the purpose of the Pathway Plan and how the young person can contribute through the My Pathway Plan consultation document.

Introductory Meeting

Introducing the child to their IF personal adviser; planning completion of the Needs Assessment and the Pathway Plan with the child; explaining the transfer process; explaining roles and responsibilities prior to transfer.

The child's Social Worker will arrange and chair an Introductory Meeting between the child and the allocated IF worker. This introductory meeting will be between the child, the IF worker and the Social Worker, and whenever possible the Carer or the Residential Keyworker/Manager and the child's parents whenever possible or appropriate. This meeting should be used to explain to the child the arrangements for supporting them over the remainder of their time looked after and the arrangements for continuing support when they leave care, including the respective responsibilities of each Social Worker or Young Person's Adviser.

The Introductory Meeting will discuss:

  • How the Needs Assessment will be Completed:
    • The Needs Assessment will involve consultation with the child, the Carer, and the child's family, as well as drawing on reports and assessments from other professionals (e.g. teachers). It is the responsibility of the Social Worker from the Child Care team to complete the Needs Assessment document;
  • How the Pathway Plan will be Completed:
    • Completion of the Pathway Plan will involve the child, the Social Worker, the Carer and the IF worker acting as the child's Personal Adviser. It will involve consultation with the child's family. It is the responsibility of the Social Worker in the LAC service (or DCT) to complete the Pathway Plan document.

The worker with case responsibility will remain the social worker in the LAC (or DCT). Post-16 the role of the IF worker will be to act as the young person's Personal Adviser.

  • Developing the young person's Year 12 plans for education/training;
  • Assessing and supporting development of young persons independence skills;
  • Planning for leaving care, providing views on future placement, contributing to the Needs Assessment and the Pathway Plan;
  • Visiting the young person with the allocated key worker, or independently, at a minimum of every eight weeks, and more frequently as necessary in order to achieve the above tasks. At least one of these visits should be a joint visit;
  • Attend reviews and Team Around the Child meetings.

Post-16 the role of the social worker in the LAC team will be:

  • LAC visits to child in placement;
  • Arrangements for statutory reviews;
  • Ensuring completion of Health Assessments, Dental Checks, Immunisations, and the Personal Educational Plans;
  • Sustaining the current placement or making planned moves of placement;
  • Arranging approval from the budget-holder for placement funding, including any additional support costs, or other extras;
  • Day to day arrangements in placement, including any payments that are made to the young person.


8. Pathway Plan Part 1: The Needs Assessment

he social worker (SW) in the CLA team is responsible for completing the Pathway Plan part 1: Needs Assessment.

The Pathway Plan part 1 (PP pt1) should be completed by the time the young person is 16 years and three months old. This is the statutory time-scale.

For a young person who becomes looked after at the age of 16 or 17 the PP pt1 must be completed within 13 weeks of the date the child becoming an Eligible Child. This is the statutory time-scale. The allocated CIN SW is responsible for completing PP pt1 and PP pt2 for these children before the case transfers to IF. The practice target is therefore to complete PP pt1 within 13 weeks of the child becoming looked after.

Content

The needs assessment will be based on tools that have been developed to deliver holistic, structured and consistent assessments which draw on a wide range of information and examine all dimensions of the young person's life. These include:

It will address the young person's needs in the following areas:

  • Health and development: includes health needs, health promotion: GP, dentist & other health professionals, emotional and behaviour needs, aspects of self-care and social presentation;
  • Education, training and employment: includes previous educational achievements, work or training experience, work or training courses & future career aspirations, and assistance needed to follow plan;
  • Support available from family and other relationships: includes issues around boundaries and contact, support available from family or other significant relationships, views of parents & other significant people;
  • Financial needs: includes current income, experience of budgeting, and any financial support needs;
  • The practical, social and emotional skills necessary for independent living: includes leisure activities, self-care skills, practical skills, social presentation, resolving conflict, making choices, citizenship, problem solving, inter-personal skills;
  • Care, support and accommodation: includes current wishes regarding, level of support and independence, proposed changes to current level of support and independence;
  • Sense of identity and self-esteem: include race, culture and religion, sexuality, personal history and brief reasons for being looked after, and aspects of self care, social presentation as relevant;
  • Specialist support required by young people such as example young people with disabilities or young people who are parents: includes mentoring, counselling and additional support needs;
  • Contingency Plans: includes what will happen if any of the planned actions or outcomes is not achievable, and what are the contingencies or parallel plans.

When carrying out an assessment of needs, the local authority must determine whether it would be appropriate to provide advice, assistance and support to facilitate a Staying Put arrangement. Where they determine that it would be appropriate, and where the child and the local authority foster parent wish to make a Staying Put arrangement, then the local authority must provide such advice, assistance and support to facilitate a Staying Put arrangement.

Participation

The following should be involved in providing information to inform the assessment:

  • The young person;
  • The young person's parent(s);
  • Any person who is not a parent but has parental responsibility for the young person;
  • Any person who is caring for the young person on a day to day basis;
  • Any school or college attended by the young person, or the local education authority for the area in which she/he lives;
  • Any independent visitor appointed for the young person;
  • Any person providing health care or treatment for the young person;
  • The personal adviser appointed for the young person; and
  • Any other person whose views the responsible authority, or the young person consider may be relevant.

If the young people has any particular needs relating to communication or cognitive impairment it will be important that at least one person involved in the needs assessment has a clear understanding of how she/he expresses his wishes and feelings.

Recording

The social worker completing the needs assessment is responsible for preparing a written record of the assessment, including the views of the young person and others involved in the process.

The record of the needs assessment should be prepared using the standard format and should be completed on ICS.

A copy of the needs assessment record should be given to:

  • The young person in an accessible format;
  • The allocated IF Personal Adviser;
  • Other people involved in the assessment, if the young person consents to this.


9. Pathway Plan Part 2: The Plan

The SW is responsible for writing the Pathway Plan part 2 (PP pt2) but should consult with the allocated PA. The PA should make a written contribution to the sections in the Pathway Plan concerning:

  • Accommodation options for the young person, including Staying Put arrangements, supported housing or semi-independent accommodation, with particular reference to the post-18 move on plan for the young person;
  • Education, employment and training options post year 11;
  • Preparation for independence;
  • Financial support, financial planning including access to welfare benefits.

The PA should also make a contribution to other sections of the plan as they relate to arrangements which will be required post-18.

The PA should arrange to meet with the young person to complete the ‘My Pathway Plan’ document. This is because it is the role of the PA to make proposals to the SW for matters to be included in the Pathway Plan and these proposals should take into account the young person’s views.

The DTMs for the respective teams can agree that “My Pathway Plan” is completed by the Young Person with their Social Worker or with the Foster Carer if this is more appropriate. This might be done in circumstances where there is no allocated PA available, or where a Pathway Plan is due for completion and the consultation is urgent.

For a young person who becomes looked after at the age of 16 or 17, PP pt 2 should be completed by the CIN SW within 17 weeks of the child becoming looked after (in time for the second review) in order to enable case transfer to IF following that Review.


10. Pathway Plan

The Pathway Plan identifies how the young person's future support needs and aspirations up to the age of 21 years and beyond will be met. It sets interim goals and objectives for the young person's future, defines timescales for achieving the objectives and specifies who will be responsible for each element of the plan.

A Pathway Plan cannot be established without a completed needs assessment.

Responsibility for Completion and Implementation

It is the responsibility of the child's social worker to co-ordinate completion of the pathway plan, and to complete the plan on ICS.

The Social Worker and the IF Personal Adviser will be responsible for implementing the plan. This will involve undertaking direct work with the young person to assist them to make progress in accordance with planned objectives and supporting carers, parents, family and other to do the same.

The social worker will have a central link role in being a focus for support, in arranging services and co-ordinating work with other agencies; it is very likely that there will also be other people able to provide the young person with personal support. Roles and responsibilities during this period of joint working with an Eligible Child are set out below.

Timescale for Completion

The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 stipulates that the needs assessment must be completed within three months of the young person's 16th birthday, and that the Pathway Plan must be completed as soon as possible following completion of the Needs Assessment.

The pathway plan must be reviewed at least every six months. Reviews should be brought forward if the young person's circumstances change significantly or if the young person requests a review of their plan.

Participation

The following people must be involved in developing the pathway plan:

  • The young person;
  • Their Social Worker;
  • Their Personal Adviser.

The following may also be involved depending on the wishes of the young person:

  • Their parents or family;
  • Professionals from key agencies, education, housing and accommodation providers;
  • Workers from other specialist services providing services or assistance to the young person, e.g. health worker; CAMHS worker; Youth Offending worker or Substance Mis-use worker;
  • Other statutory or voluntary agencies.

The social worker will be responsible for ensuring that all those who need to be involved have their views taken into account and that action to implement the plan is agreed by those identified in the plan.

Every effort must be made to encourage and support the young person to play an active part developing and agreeing their Pathway Plan. To achieve this is will be necessary to ensure that any obstacles to their participation are addressed. This will include scheduling meetings at a convenient time for the young person and paying reasonable travel and subsistence costs.

Social Workers should us the My Pathway Plan document to assist in obtaining and recording young people's views.

If young people have any particular needs related to impairment, the social worker should make sure meetings and information are accessible to them. Methods of assessment and review should take full account of any communication or cognitive impairment in order fully to involve the young person.

Content

Regulation 8 and Schedule 1 of the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 sets out the detail that each Pathway Plan must cover:

  • The nature and level of contact and personal support to be provided, and by whom, to the young person;
  • Details of the accommodation the young person is to occupy;
  • A detailed plan for the education or training of the young person;
  • How the responsible authority will assist the young person in relation to employment or other purposeful activity or occupation;
  • The support to be provided to enable the young person to develop and sustain appropriate family and social relationships;
  • A programme to develop the practical and other skills necessary for the young person to live independently;
  • The financial support to be provided to the young person, in particular where it is to be provided to meet his accommodation and maintenance needs;
  • The health needs, including any mental health needs, of the young person, and how they are to be met;
  • Contingency plans for action to be taken by the responsible authority should the pathway plan for any reason cease to be effective.

The Pathway Plan must also include key details such as name, age and contact details of the young person, the name and contact details of the personal adviser and those of any other people who will be actively involved in delivering aspects of the Plan. It will note the date due for the review.

It is important that the roles and responsibilities of all these persons and in particular those of the Personal Adviser and social worker are made clear both in the initial Pathway Plan and at subsequent reviews.

Under each dimensional area of the plan, the views of the young person will be recorded. Clearly thought out contingency plans will also be provided under each dimensional heading.

Recording

The LAC social worker is responsible for completing the Pathway Plan on ICS within the specified timescale.

The social worker together will draw up the Pathway Plan based on the consultation with the young person and others and the decisions reached and ensure it is circulated to all those actively involved in the implementation.

The Plan must be recorded on the young person's record on ICS.

A copy of the plan must be accessible to IF, and paper copies provided to:

  • The young person (in a form which is accessible to them);
  • Any other person or agency that is identified as playing a role in delivering part of the plan should receive a copy of at least that part of the plan which relates to their contribution.

It is important to seek and take account of the young person's views about who should have a copy of their Plan.


11. Case Responsibility

The allocated SW holds case responsibility for young people until they cease to be looked after. When a young person turns 18 years old - or if they cease to be looked after before that point (perhaps by returning home) - then the case responsibility is transferred to the IF team and to the allocated IF PA.

As a broad principle: the SW takes responsibility for all placement, care and family issues and needs; the PA takes responsibility for all leaving care, preparation for independence, move-on housing and accommodation options including Staying Put, post year 11 education, training and employment options, and financial planning and provision, including access to welfare benefits.

The SW is responsible for all CLA documentation, care and pathway plans and invitations to statutory reviews.

Both SW’s and PA’s should record all contacts, visits and actions on ICS.

All discussions held in supervision of both workers and any actions are also to be recorded on ICS. Social workers are required to maintain the departmental statutory minimum visits requirement of visits every 4 to 6 weeks.

The level of contact, including visits to the placement, by the PA should be agreed at the 4-way meetings and in consultation with the young person, foster carer and significant others through the pathway planning process.

The level of contact by the PA will reflect the tasks and timescales set out in the pathway plan. The frequency of contact will vary over time. However, at a minimum the PA should visit the young person in placement every 3 months and, if appropriate and agreed by the TAC contact the young person every 4 to 6 weeks in between visits. All visit and contact must be recorded on ICS as either a “leaving care contact (home)” or “leaving care contact” for type of contact.

Statutory visits are the primary responsibility of social workers. In certain circumstances and, when agreed by the DTM in both the CLA and IF team, a statutory visit may be undertaken by the PA and so recorded on ICS.


12. Education, Training and Employment

The primary responsibility for matters relating to education, training and employment options from year 11 onwards rests with the PA. This includes organising the Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings in year 12 and year 13.

The PA will provide advice on education, training and employment options for the Pathway Plan part 2. The PA should consult with the IF IAG/ Careers adviser, Career Start Adviser and Entry to EET Adviser for advice on options. This might include arranging a direct meeting for the young person with one of the specialist advisers.


13. Health and Emotional Well-being

The SW is responsible for ensuring that the statutory health assessment is completed whilst the child remains looked after.

Whilst the young person is living in foster care, a children’s home or is placed at home, responsibility for oversight of health-related day to day arrangements and tasks rests with the social worker.

When the young person moves to supported, semi-independent or independent accommodation, responsibility for oversight of health-related matters rests with the PA.

Where young people require a GP registration, GP visit, or dental appointment, or other health related intervention, it is expected that the placement provider will assist, i.e. the foster carer/s, residential social worker, and key worker or support worker.


14. Accessing Community Based Resources

It is the responsibility of the PA to identify community based resources which can assist young people to make a positive transition from care to independent living.

Young people should be introduced to opportunities that match their aspirations and interests and that are designed to develop their potential.


15. Placements, Accommodation and Housing

It is the PA’s responsibility to register young people on the Islington housing register. Where young people are placed outside of the Islington area and they have expressed a wish to remain living in that area they should also be placed on the housing register for the borough in the area they are living. This task should be completed by the time the young person is aged 16½, or within three months after becoming looked after.

The PA should clearly explain to the young person that registering for housing at this time does not mean that they will then automatically access local authority housing at the age of 18. The PA should clearly explain that they must also be nominated to the housing department by IF, and that this will only be done at the point that they are ready to manage a tenancy.

Where it is identified that a young person would benefit from a period living in supported accommodation, supported lodgings, or an alternative transitional arrangement before being nominated for local authority accommodation, the responsibility for referring the young people lies with the PA.

A young person should not move from a regulated to an unregulated placement unless the decision is endorsed by their IRO at a review.


16. Planned Placement Endings and Placements Endings in an Emergency

Where it is assessed that the young person requires a new care placement the primary responsibility rests with the social worker (planned and emergency placements).

Where the young person requires a semi-independent placement the primary responsibility rests with the PA (planned and emergency placements).

The responsibility for identifying and organising the placement will be the Placements Team, based on the SW/PA assessment of the young persons’ placement needs.

Where there are differing views regarding the placement needs of individual young people, a meeting will take place and be chaired by the CLA Team Manager. The meeting should involve the SW, the PA and the DTM from IF and relevant professionals and foster carer/s or residential key worker. The ultimate decision regarding the placement requirements of the young person will rest with the chair of the meeting, giving due regard to the views of all those involved in the meeting and the young person’s Pathway Plan.


17. Independent Accommodation

Where a young person is moving to independent accommodation the PA is responsible for coordinating arrangements for the move and associated tasks.


18. Finance

Allowances for young people aged 16 and 17 living in foster care or residential care are covered by the finance policies relating to those placement types. Items not covered by these policies (family contact, additional health related costs, etc) must be agreed by the CLA Operational Manager.

Allowances for young people aged over 16 who are living in semi-independent and independent accommodation are set out in the Independent Futures (care leavers) finance policy.

Islington’s scheme of delegation sets out the level of payments that Personal Advisers, Social Workers, DTM’s, TM’s and Operational Managers can authorise.


19. Setting Up Home Allowance

The PA is responsible for supporting a young person to purchase furniture and fittings for their independent accommodation using the Setting-Up Home Allowance from IF.

The purchasing of items may be arranged by foster carer/s, key- workers, floating support workers and the young person themselves, with the PA taking a co-ordinating role and overseeing the use of the allowance.


20. Post Eighteen, Extending Foster Care – Staying Put

The PA is responsible for coordinating the arrangements for a young person to remain living with their foster carer after the age of 18 (Staying Put).

The PA should consult with the young person to find out their wishes and feelings about Staying Put

The PA should speak to the SSW for an in-house foster placement. It is the SSW’s responsibility to discuss Staying Put with the foster carer and tell the PA whether the carer is prepared to offer a Staying Put arrangement.

The PA should speak to the Placements Service for an Independent Fostering Agency placement. It is the Placement Service responsibility to discuss Staying Put with the IFA and tell the PA whether the IFA carer is prepared to offer a Staying Put arrangement.

For further information about Staying Put arrangements please see the Staying Put Policy.


21. Liaison with Family and Foster Carers

The SW is responsible for liaising with family and foster carer/s, or residential placement providers, about decisions concerning the child.

The PA should regularly take part in liaison meetings with the foster carer, or residential provider.

The PA and the SW should ensure that the SSW and the foster carer are included in all relevant discussions and that information is shared whenever appropriate in recognition of the key role of primary carers for the child.


22. Completion of the Islington Leaving Care Task Checklist

Completion of the Islington Leaving Care Task Checklist is an equal responsibility between the SW and the PA. The checklist should first be completed as part of the leaving care assessment and then at regular six monthly intervals. Tasks should be apportioned by care or independence need. Each task should be given a time scale and a key individual identified who will take responsibility for task completion. Additional tasks should be added as required and the Task Checklist should be reviewed during joint supervision.


23. Extending Life Story Work

The SW is responsible for Life story work with the looked after child. Life Story work should be completed in line with the arrangements set out in the care plan for the child during their period as a looked after child.

The young person should be consulted before their Life Story book is shared with the PA.

The Life Story book will usually remain in the possession of the young person.

Life story work never ends and will be extended into transition to adulthood and leaving care. This on going work may be a shared task and who does what will need to be clarified in joint meetings and through the pathway planning process, with the young persons wishes being paramount.

It would be good practice for the PA to ensure that the young person has a photographic and documented record of moving to independence and that they have a list of all previous addresses.

In addition to containing a summary of their care history and chronology of significant life events, the transition to adulthood and leaving care life story work should also include a summary of the young person’s health history and their family health history.


24. Joint Supervision, Contingency Planning, Case Resolution and Complaints

Unresolved disputes between the SW and the PA this should be addressed and resolved by the two DTM’s. If not resolved the matter can be referred up to line managers. The final responsibility for adjudication will be with the Head of Service for Children Looked After and Leaving Care.

If a young person has concerns regarding the respective roles and responsibilities of their SW and PA, an informal meeting should take place. If this does not resolve their concern the young person should be supported to make a formal complaint.

All sections of a young person’s pathway plan have a contingency plan setting out an alternatives in case there is a change of circumstances. Contingency plans should consider both potentially positive and changes as well as potential set-backs.


25. Case Transfer Issues

Case responsibility remains with the social worker until the young person ceases to be looked after; for the majority of young people this will occur on their eighteenth birthday.

Immediately prior to a young person’s 18th birthday the social worker should set up a final TAC meeting which provides a formal transfer/handover meeting. The meeting should involve relevant professionals and carers and cover the transfer of responsibilities from the social worker to the Independent Futures (IF) PA. This meeting can be dispensed with if both teams agree that all matters have been dealt with elsewhere.

At the point a young person ceases to be looked after, case responsibility transfers to Independent Futures. The ICS case transfer is completed by both teams. The CLA SW should end the child’s CLA status.

The CLA team should also then offer an exit interview to the young person.

Click here to view the Case Transfer Flowchart.

Note: Bed and Breakfast Accommodation is not considered as suitable accommodation other than in exceptional circumstances. On such occasions:

  • The placement should be limited to two working days;
  • The Local Authority provides appropriate supervision and contact with the young person.

7.12, DfE The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations. Volume 3: planning transition to adulthood for care leavers (January 2015)


26. Care and Pathway Plan Roles and Responsibilities

Children Looked After Documentation and Care and Pathway Plans

The Personal Advisor is seen as a ‘function’ rather than a specific person and the local authority should consider delegating it wholly or partially to the best person able to carry out the role out. (See Part 3, Regulation 8 of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations).

The Personal advisor should be someone who is best able engage with the young person and motivate them to take up, and best make use of, the services that are available and provided.

It would be good practice were possible and appropriate for the Personal Advisor to maintain the same person from 18 yrs from when they were an Eligible or Relevant child. However, this will not always be possible, although the Personal Adviser should have the necessary skills and experience to carry out the function. The transfer of the role should be undertaken in a planned and managed way.

The aim of this section is to set out clear roles and responsibilities for social workers and Independent Futures (leaving care) Personal Advisers and lines of accountability. However, a degree of flexibility is required to ensure young people do not miss out on appointments and activities in circumstances where either worker or team is exceptionally busy and a specific task requires completion within a given timescale.

The primary responsibility for all children Looked After documentation, care and Pathway Plans and invitations to statutory reviews rests with the social worker.

IF personal advisers are responsible for providing verbal and written information up-dates for care and Pathway Plans, particularly regarding: leaving care; preparation for independence; move-on housing and accommodation; education, training and employment; and financial and benefit issues and needs.

Both social workers and leaving care personal advisers should record all contacts, visits and actions on ICS. Both workers must record on ICS all discussions held in supervision and any actions.

Social workers are required to maintain the departmental minimum visits requirement of a statutory visit every 4 to 6 weeks.

The level of contact from the leaving care Personal Adviser should be decided within the Pathway Planning process and will reflect the tasks and timescales set out in the Pathway Plan.

In principle leaving care Personal Advisers should also visit every 4 to 6 weeks and as a minimum every 3 months.

The level of contact should reflect the goals and needs set out in the young person's Pathway Plan and should aim to achieve a balance between too much and too little contact.

Statutory visits are the primary responsibility of social workers. In certain circumstances, and where agreed by the deputy team managers in both the CLA and IF teams, statutory visits may be undertaken by IF personal advisers.

26.1 Education, Training and Employment

The primary responsibility for matters relating to education, training and employment rests with the IF personal adviser. This includes the Personal Education Plan, or the Personal Learning and Progression Plan, and the Education, Training and Employment Section of the Pathway Plan.

The local authority should make every effort not to disrupt a young person’s education during their key stage 4 years, both in terms of their school and care placement unless the circumstances clearly require this. (See also Education of Children Looked After Procedure).

It should be noted that the Careers IF Careers Adviser and the IF Entry to EET Adviser will have a lead role in providing information, advice and guidance on these matters, with the IF personal adviser providing a co-ordinating role and taking responsibility for completion, ownership and implementation of plans.

26.2 Health and Emotion Well-being

The primary responsibility for health related matters rests with the social worker whilst the young person is living in foster care, or a children's home, or is placed at home. Responsibility rests with the IF Personal Adviser when the young person moves to semi-independent or independent accommodation.

The responsibility for co-ordinating and ensuring that the Health Care Assessment is completed rests with the CLA social worker.

Where young people require a health input such as a visit to a doctor or dentist it is expected that the placement provider will assist, (i.e. the foster carer/s; residential social worker; key-worker; or SHP floating support worker). In these circumstances the social worker, or the IF personal adviser will play a co-ordinating role depending on the placement type; Social worker where young people are living in foster care, a children's home, or are placed at home, and the IF personal adviser where young people are placed/living in semi-independent or independent accommodation.

26.3 Accessing Community Based Resources

The primary responsibility for identifying community based information and support resources which can assist young people to make a positive transition from care to independent living rests with the Independent Futures (IF) personal adviser. For example, organisations that can provide information such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and organisations that can provide support with cultural and identity issues.

26.4 Placements, Accommodation and Housing

The primary responsibility for registering young people on the Islington housing register (waiting list) rests with the IF personal adviser. Where young people are placed outside of the Islington area they should also be placed on the housing register in the area they are living. This task should be completed three months after their sixteenth birthday, or three months after becoming looked after.

Where it is identified that a young person would benefit from a period living in a semi-independent accommodation setting such as a hostel the primary responsibility for registering young people on the Registered Social Landlord waiting list, or otherwise referring to a provider, is the IF personal adviser.

26.5 Planned Placement Endings and Placements Endings in an Emergency

Where it is assessed that the young person requires a new care placement the primary responsibility for seeking a new placement though the Placements Service rests with the social worker (planned and emergency ending).

Where it is assessed that the young person requires a semi-independent placement the primary responsibility for seeking a new placement through the Placements Service rests with the IF personal adviser (planned and emergency ending).

In the majority of the above circumstances the responsibility for identifying and organising the placement will be the Placement Team. The role of the CLA social worker or IF personal adviser will be to complete the referral, liaise with the Placements Team and co-ordinate the necessary care and pathway planning arrangements.

In circumstances where there are differing views regarding the placement needs of individual young people, a meeting will take place and will be chaired by the Children Looked After Team Manager. The meeting should involve the social worker, the personal adviser and the IF deputy team manager and all relevant professionals and foster carer/s or residential Key-worker. The ultimate decision regarding the placement requirements of the young person will rest with the chair of the meeting, giving due regard to the views of all those involved in the meeting and the care planning of the young person.

26.6 Independent Accommodation

Where a young person is moving to independent accommodation the primary responsibility rests with the leaving care personal adviser (for both the move and associated tasks).

26.7 Finance

Allowances for young people aged 16 and 17 living in foster care or residential care are covered by the finance policies relating to those placement types. Items not covered by these policies (family contact, health etc.) will be set out in the Section 20 and Section 31 financial policy (to be developed) and will be arranged and authorised by the social worker.

Allowances for 16 and 17 (and 18 - 21/24) year olds who are living in semi-independent and independent accommodation are set out in the Independent Futures (IF) finance policy. These allowances should be agreed by the social worker and IF personal adviser and will be paid through IF.

Islington's scheme of delegation sets out the level of payments that workers, deputy team managers, team managers and service managers can authorise.

26.8 Setting Up Home Allowance

The primary responsibility for organising and purchasing Setting-Up Home Allowance items rests with the IF personal adviser.

Where young people are placed in foster care or semi-independent accommodation the purchasing of items may be undertaken by the foster carer/s or key-workers with the IF personal adviser taking a co-ordinating role and overseeing the use of the Allowance. Parents and members of the extended family may also assist if appropriate.

26.9 Post Eighteen, Extending Foster Care - Staying Put

A Staying Put arrangement is where a young person who has been living in foster care remains in the former foster home after the age of 18 years.

For a young person living in foster care, the first Looked After Review following his or her 16th birthday should consider whether a Staying Put arrangement should be an option. For further information see the Staying Put Procedure.

The primary responsibility for organising a post eighteen fostering extension (Staying Put) rests with the IF personal adviser who will need to work with the supervising social worker and foster carer/s as early as possible to establish if such an arrangement is possible. In most cases a sustainable extended placement will involve altering the funding arrangements to include the young person paying rent (directly or through Housing Benefit) and living with the now ex-foster carer as a lodger.

26.10 Liaison with Family and Foster Carers

The primary responsibility for liaising with family and foster carer/s rests with the social worker. IF personal advisers should regularly take part in liaison meetings and as the young person reaches the age of eighteen, IF personal advisers will need to take over responsibility for liaison with carers and family members.

26.11 Completion of the Islington Leaving Care Task Checklist

Completion of the Islington Leaving Care Task Checklist is an equal responsibility between the social worker and IF personal adviser. The Checklist should first be completed at the same time as the leaving care assessment and then at regular six monthly intervals. Tasks should be apportioned by care or independence need. Each task should be given a time scale and a key individual identified who will take responsibility for task completion. Additional tasks should be added as required and the Task Checklist should be reviewed during joint supervision.

26.12 Extending Life Story Work

The primary responsibility for extending life story work into Transition to Adulthood and Leaving Care Life Story Work rests with the IF personal adviser. For example, ensuring that the young person has a photographic and documented record of moving to independence, and a list of all their previous addresses, and that they have had the opportunity to explore their identity as a young person in, and leaving care.

In addition to containing a summary of their care history and chronology of significant life events, the Transition to Adulthood and Leaving Care Life Story Work should also include a summary of the young person's health history and their family health history.

26.13 Joint Supervision, Contingency Planning, Case Resolution and Complaints

Six monthly joint case supervision meetings should take place to include the social worker and IF personal adviser and, whenever possible, their respective supervisors. If necessary these meetings can take place with only one the involved DTMs present.

In circumstances where there is a dispute regarding specific tasks or roles and responsibilities these should be resolved via discussion or a meeting (if required) between the social worker and IF personal adviser and their respective supervisors.

If this does not resolve the situation the matter should be discussed and resolved by the 2 Team Managers. If this also does not resolve the matter, it should be solved by a discussion/meeting between the Operational Managers for Children Looked After and the Strategic Group Manager for Independent Futures. The final responsibility for adjudication will be with the Head of Service for Children Looked After and Leaving Care.

In circumstances where a young person has a concerns regarding the tasks and roles and responsibilities of their social worker and IF personal adviser an informal concerns resolution meeting should take place. If this does not resolve their concern the young person should be supported to make a formal complaint.

To ensure good communications, liaison and joint planning, personal advisers and social workers should meet on a regular basis to review joint working arrangements and update individual young people's care and pathway plans. All sections of a young person's pathway plan should have a contingency element that sets out an alternative plan or options should a dramatic change occur for the young person. For example, if the young person's placement ends abruptly, what alternatives exist? Contingencies should also cover positive changes. For example, where a young person is predicted to get 3 grade C's at A level and plans to attend a particular university but achieves 3 grade A's at A level and may therefore want to attend a more prestigious university.

26.14 Case Transfer Issues

Case responsibility remains with the social worker until the young person ceases to be looked after. For the majority of young people this will occur on their eighteenth birthday. Between the age of seventeen and a half and eighteen the young person's Pathway Plan should set out the case responsibility transfer issues.

Immediately prior to a young person's 18th birthday the social worker should set up a final Team Around the Child Meeting which provides a formal transfer/handover meeting. The meeting should involve all relevant professionals and carers and cover the transfer of responsibilities from the social worker to the IF Personal Adviser, or other professionals.

At the point a young person ceases to be looked after, case responsibility transfers to the Independent Futures service.

26.15 Conclusion

The above list of tasks and roles and responsibilities should not be used as definitive guide, but as a broad framework. A degree of flexibility will need to be applied to take into account the differing circumstances, needs and support networks of individual young people.


27. Reviews

27.1 Introduction

The concept of a review is a continuous process of planning and reconsideration of the young person's future plans. The review will include a number of components leading to meetings held to discuss the plan that has been drawn up for the young person. This will require consultation and gathering of information on an ongoing basis, discussing that information and making decisions to amend the plan as necessary.

27.2 Statutory Looked After Child Review

27.2.1 Cases Requiring Statutory Review

Eligible young people who remain Looked After will continue to be subject to Statutory LAC Review until they cease to be Looked After and move to semi-independent or independent accommodation. This Statutory LAC review will also review the Pathway Plan.

Young people subject to Care Orders remain Looked After until they reach the age of 18 or the orders are discharged by the Court regardless of the nature and status of their living accommodation.

27.2.2 Frequency of Reviews

Reviews should take place at intervals of not more than six months from the date of the previous review.

This is the minimum standard required by regulations and a review should be held as often as the circumstances of the young person require and always if there is a proposal to change the pathway plan.

Staff should be mindful of the need to consider bringing forward a review in circumstances such as a breakdown of their placement, rather than wait for the next scheduled review.

In any event, where the young person's pathway plan has changed significantly or is proposed to change a review must be held.

27.2.3 Changes to Review Dates

A request to re-schedule a Looked After Children (LAC) review within or out of timescales must be authorised by the IF Strategic Group Manager. If the Strategic Group Manager agrees that the date should be changed, they will present the case for re-scheduling to the service manager at the LACPT team for approval.

Reviews must always be scheduled sufficiently within timescales to allow a "margin for error" to ensure that unexpected events or emergencies, which impact upon the date of a review, do not result in reviews being held outside the required timescales.

However, this flexibility must not be taken as a license to postpone a review for anything other than extreme circumstances which affect the young person's ability to participate fully in the review. Examples of valid reasons for seeking an alternative date might be:

  • Un-availability of an interpreter preventing the young person and or the young person's parent(s) playing a full part in the review;
  • An unforeseen exam for a young person;
  • The young person being ill.

27.2.4 Venue

Reviews should normally be held at the young person's placement to support and promote full participation by the young person, their cares and other relevant participants. However, it is important to be mindful of a young person's wishes and feelings.

Some young people may wish to preserve a separation between their placement and other aspects of their lives. In such circumstances it would be better to hold the review away from the placement. When it is not possible to have the review at the young person's placement, other possible venues could include:

  • The IF office, at Highbury New Park;
  • LBI Essex Road offices;
  • An agreed appropriate venue accessible to the majority of people attending, particularly the young person.

Whatever the venue, arrangements should be made to ensure that the review is held in surroundings in which participants feel comfortable, relaxed and that are free from distractions and interruptions.

27.2.5 Timing of Reviews

The time the review is held should normally be determined by, in order of priority, the needs of the young person, birth parents, carer (including residential key-worker), other external participants such as teachers or doctors, and other relevant staff.

Reviews should not be scheduled during school, college or work hours for the young person in order to promote and support their education or work and to prevent them needing to seek special permission for absence which could be stigmatising for them.

27.2.6 Invitations and Attendance

The views of the young person about who should be invited to their review must be taken into account. The young person should be consulted at least four weeks before the review.

Those who are expected to be present include:

  • The young person;
  • Their parents and or carers;
  • The Independent Reviewing Officer;
  • The young person's social worker;
  • The young person's Personal Adviser;
  • On occasions, a manager from Independent Futures (Islington Care Leavers' Service);
  • The key-worker from the Placement;
  • Other professionals working with the young person, e.g. GP, Health Visitor, therapist and/or teacher.

It is important to recognise that personal information concerning the young person may be discussed at the review and it may well not be appropriate for the details of this to be shared with all those working with the young person. However, it is extremely important to ensure that the review has access to all relevant information, in writing if necessary.

The young person's social worker must complete an invitation checklist, giving the names and contact details of all those to be invited to the review, and a draft letter including the date, time and venue and give all this information to the LAC Administration Team for processing at least six weeks prior to the review.

Social workers should ensure that they receive confirmation from those invited that they will be attending. It is not sufficient to assume that someone will attend just because they have been invited. If anyone is unable to attend, the social worker should speak to him or her in advance of the review and if appropriate, obtain a written report.

27.2.7 Consultation Prior to the Review

The key to ensuring a meaningful review is effective consultation. Exactly whom staff need to consult will be determined by the circumstances for each young person.

Although there is a specific requirement to undertake formal consultation in preparation for reviews there should be a continuous pattern of consultation and discussion with all parties at all stages. This not only ensures that information is shared in a timely manner but also builds confidence in the value and effectiveness of consultation for all those involved.

Formal consultation prior to reviews includes provision of consultation forms for all parties four weeks in advance, with an expectation that these are returned to the social worker at least two weeks before the review.

In all cases those consulted must include:

  • The young person - should be formally consulted at least four weeks prior to a review with the invitation to the review. The young person should be asked if they need, or want, help in completing the consultation form;
  • The young person's birth parents - should be formally consulted at least four weeks prior to the review. The use of an interpreter to obtain these views should be considered by the social worker in conjunction with their manager. Failure to consult could potentially lead to a challenge from the parent that their human rights have been breached;
  • The young person's carers - Consultation with the carers should normally be done by means of a LAC consultation paper being sent to the carer at least four weeks prior to the review;
  • The young person's Personal Adviser - with due notice;
  • Other professionals - who may be consulted include GP, School Nurse, therapist, teacher and other relevant staff involved with the young person;
  • The Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) - Consultation should take place at an early stage. All consultation papers and information should be passed to the IRO at least two weeks prior to the review. Discussions prior to each review are likely to include, but will not be restricted to:
    • Confirmation of date, time and venue for the review;
    • Confirmation of who should be invited;
    • Who else needs to be consulted;
    • Practical arrangements e.g. need for an interpreter or safety issues if parent is potentially violent;
    • Confidentiality issues - including whether there is any information that should not be shared with a particular individual;
    • Significant events since the last review;
    • Pathway Plan;
    • Proposed changes to the Pathway Plan;
    • Identifying key issues that need to be addressed at the review;
    • Identifying any issues that will not be able to be resolved at the review such as access to resources requiring authorisation from another source.

The IRO will want to know from the manager that the Pathway Plan being presented to the review has their endorsement, as well as whether there are any potential variations to the plan that the manager would not be able to support.

The purpose of consultation is:

  • To ensure that those attending are adequately prepared and aware of the purpose and what will happen at the review;
  • To get the opinion of those who can't attend but have a useful contribution to make;
  • To confirm priorities for the meeting;
  • To raise any concerns they may have about the meeting;
  • So that young people and adults with a learning or communication difficulty, can have appropriate techniques (e.g. an interpreter) identified so that their view can be hear at the review.

Wherever possible, any information sought should be obtained in writing and placed in the young person's file.

Information relevant to the review should be passed to the Independent Reviewing Officer in advance of the review.

27.2.8 Social Work Duties Prior to the Review

The social worker with case responsibility is responsible for ensuring that all practical arrangements for the review are made in advance of the review. Tasks to be undertaken include:

  • Confirming the venue for the review after discussion with the young person;
  • Sending a completed invitation checklist to the LAC Administration Team at least six weeks prior to the scheduled date;
  • Consulting with all parties and providing consultation forms, with return envelopes, at least four weeks prior to the review date (with a required return date at least two weeks in advance of the review date);
  • Discussing with the young person whether they require additional assistance or support to prepare for the review or to present their views to the meeting - this might include making arrangements for an interpreter or advocate, identifying different ways of presenting information, e.g. written format or audio recording;
  • Confirming in supervision the arrangements for ongoing placement, including any funding decisions, and arrangements for transition to independent living;
  • Sending completed consultation documents to the IRO at least two weeks prior to the review;
  • Completing the initial parts of the Review of Arrangements form in preparation for the review;
  • Sending copies of the current Care Plan, Needs Assessment and Pathway Plan to the IRO at least two weeks prior to the review (or ensuring they are available on ICS);
  • Liaising with, and possibly meeting with, the IRO in advance of the review to confirm all the arrangements and to plan how to address any anticipated challenges.

27.2.9 Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)

In preparation for reviews IRO's will need to undertake some or all of the following:

  • Ensure that all the required paperwork/ICS record is received from the social worker;
  • Check the partly completed Review of Arrangements form, paying particular attention to checking that the social worker has complied with the statutory requirements;
  • Discuss the case with the social worker and, if they are not attending the review, the manager;
  • Make arrangements to meet the young person prior to the review;
  • Read the young person's file. This is optional and discretionary. The others are not.

27.2.10 Review Agenda

It is expected that as a minimum the following issues will be discussed at every review:

  • LAC Papers / Consultation Forms;
  • Decision of Last Review;
  • Background / Update;
  • Placement;
  • Social Work Assessment;
  • Pathway Plan;
  • Views of the young person;
  • Views of the parents;
  • Plan for Permanence;
  • Health Care Arrangements;
  • Contact Arrangements;
  • Identify Needs;
  • Leaving / Aftercare Arrangements;
  • Legal Issues.

During the consultation process other specific issues which need to be addressed will have been identified. The IRO should bring these to participant's attention at the beginning of the meeting and invite further agenda items.

Not every issue needs to be discussed at length or indeed at all in every review. The IRO should negotiate the exact order of discussion with participants. It may be necessary for certain areas to be covered near the beginning of the meeting, either because a participant cannot or does not need to stay for the whole meeting.

Before concluding the meeting, the chair will summarise the issues discussed and ensure that everyone is aware of the decisions reached.

27.2.11 Recording of the Review

The IRO is responsible for producing the record of the review on ICS and ensuring that this is circulated to all relevant parties.

Social workers are responsible for entering review dates on ICS.

27.3 Pathway Plan Review

27.3.1 Cases Requiring Pathway Plan Reviews

Pathway Plan reviews are required for all Relevant and Former Relevant young people. They are also to be completed for Eligible young people within the LAC review framework.

27.3.2 Frequency of Reviews

Pathway Plan reviews must be completed at intervals of not more than six months. Reviews may take place more frequently than this if necessary, in particular if requested by the young person or if the personal adviser considers it necessary.

27.3.3 Purpose

Pathway Plan reviews will:

  • Check that the goals and milestones are still right for the young person, and that they are being met;
  • Make sure that the levels of support, both financial and other, are adequate and are being delivered according to plan;
  • Take account of any unexpected developments and will revise the Plan accordingly, for example, a young person might do better in exams than expected and wish to undertake higher education, which would then need to be built into the revised Plan;
  • Ensure that the objectives under each dimensional heading are still relevant and being met;
  • Take into account unexpected developments, for example in the areas of accommodation or education, which may mean revision of the plan is necessary.

27.3.4 Invitations and Attendance

The views of the young person about who should be invited to their review must be taken into account.

Those who are expected to be present include:

  • The young person;
  • The Independent Reviewing Officer (for Eligible and Relevant children only);
  • The young person's social worker and/or personal adviser.

Others who may be invited to attend include:

  • The young person's parents;
  • The young person's carers;
  • Other professionals working with the young person, e.g. GP, Health Visitor, therapist and/or teacher;
  • The supervisor of the allocated worker may chair the review.

27.3.5 Venue

Pathway Plan reviews may take place at:

  • The IF office at Highbury New Park;
  • The young person's home;
  • An agreed confidential meeting place.

27.3.6 Recording of the Review

The chairperson/allocated social worker is responsible for producing the record of the review and ensuring that this is circulated to all relevant parties.

Social workers/YPAs are responsible for entering review dates in the young person's file on ICS.

Team Managers are responsible for providing the Strategic Group Manager with a monthly return setting out the dates on which Pathway Plans were reviewed.


28. Education, Training and Employment

Statistics about educational attainment of young people in the public care system indicate achievement at a level below that for their peers in the wider population.

Young people who have been through the care system also tend to find it difficult to achieve and sustain continuing education and work.

Outcomes for care leavers nationally have shown a clear relationship between poor educational attainment, unemployment, and vulnerability to exploitation and high levels of homelessness.

The Government is aware of the underachievement of young people in care and has began to address this issue through a range of policy initiatives aimed at promoting inclusion; an emphasis upon planning and target setting; an integrated approach to service provision; delivering efficient services which represent value for money.

28.1 Role and Significance of Education

Education is one of the keys to a successful future for Looked After young people. Young people who are looked after tend to be disadvantaged in many ways and the successful promotion of education can help to counterbalance some of these disadvantages while a failure to promote education will further disadvantage the young person.

As well as formal educational qualifications, consistent school or college engagement can also contribute to the development of self-esteem and self-confidence, can offer opportunities for new experiences and activities, provides an environment to develop positive relationships and prepare for adult life.

28.2 Barriers to Success

A number of factors can contribute to young people in public care encountering significant barriers which impede their success. These can include:

  • Lack of effective advocacy;
  • Lack of stability and continuity (both in relation to care and school placements);
  • Prolonged periods out of school or college;
  • Low expectations - both personal and from adults;
  • Ineffective data collection and information sharing between key agencies;
  • Poor self-esteem.

28.3 Action to Improve Educational Prospects for Young People

Social Workers, Young Person's Advisers, foster carers and designated teachers can make a vital contribution in helping looked after young people overcome barriers by ensuring that education is placed at the heart of planning and reviewing processes.

The Government has introduced various policies and requirements aimed at providing young people with the help they need to achieve success in education. These include:

  • Requiring Local Authorities to assess and meet the needs of 16 and 17 year old young people in the care system and those leaving care;
  • Ensuring that Personal Advisors co-ordinate assessment, guidance and development of a plan tailored to meet the individual young person's educational needs, and that they continually assess and monitor progress by the young person;
  • Requiring that each Looked After young person has a Personal Education Plan (PEP), designed to raise the young person's achievements and educational outcomes and provide a key to improving their life chances;
  • Requiring every school to have a designated teacher responsible for ensuring that the school focuses on the educational needs of any pupils who are Looked After, for liaising with young person's social worker and for passing on relevant information;
  • Requiring that all those working with young people including their registered carer helps to promote their educational attainment and assists the young person with making and implementing arrangements for her/his education, training and employment once they are no longer of statutory school age;
  • Ensuring that young people in care are provided with facilities conducive to study and homework and are actively supported, including by the provision of books, computers and library membership. They should be helped with their homework if they wish and participation in extra-curricular activities is not to be denied;
  • Requiring a multi-agency approach to assessment and planning with the Careers service (or their equivalent in each local authority area) playing a key role.

28.4 Independent Futures' Responsibilities as Corporate Parents

The government places a duty on all local authorities to take their responsibility as "Corporate Parents" towards children and young people in their care seriously. This includes requiring each authority to have a counsellor identified lead member for Corporate Parenting, to monitor performance of all services to children and young people in care and leaving care and ensuring clear mechanisms for young people to participate in decision-making and providing feedback about services.

IF plays a key part in enabling LBI to fulfil their corporate parenting responsibility for young people. The duty to adopt a Corporate Parenting approach applies to the Local Authority as a whole, including Social Care, Education and other council services.

As well as playing a lead role in carrying through Corporate Parenting on a practical basis in direct work with young people, IF also plays a key role in supporting and contributing to the Local Authority's Corporate Parenting Strategies for LAC.

28.5 Young people with Special Educational Needs

It is likely that young people who are cared for or live away from their families will have emotional and behavioural responses to this separation. This may lead to problems in sustaining a placement in a mainstream educational setting and the young person achieving their potential without the provision of additional support.

Social workers, young person's advisers, teachers and carers must work together to identify, assess, plan for and address the special educational needs of looked after young people.

The provision of additional support is usually the responsibility of the young person's school with the help of the relevant education authority. There may be occasions when there is an additional need which cannot be met by the school, FE college, or educational authority and will require additional support to be provided by IF.

The Special Education Needs (SEN), Code of Practice provides practical guidance to local Education Authorities, the governing bodies of all maintained schools and providers of Government funded early education, and to all those who help them, including health and social services, on the discharge of their statutory functions under Part IV of the Education Act 1996. Social workers can access this information on the Internet (see the Department of Education SEN Toolkit, specifically Toolkit 11, The Role of Social Services).

Young People from Black and Minority Ethnic Communities

Young people from some black and minority ethnic communities are over-represented in the looked after population in comparison with the population as a whole.

While these young people do not represent an homogenous group they frequently share the common experience of racism and negative stereotyping that further disadvantages them in the care and education systems. They may also be more vulnerable to social isolation and bullying.

Some of these young people will be unaccompanied minors who have not only been separated from their primary carers, but also from their own country, religion, language and culture.

The Government have recognised the further disadvantages suffered by such young people and Objective 4.4 of Quality Protects required local authorities 'To ensure that children looked after from black and ethnic minority groups gain maximum life chances from educational opportunities, health and social care'.

Social workers and Young Person's Advisers should ensure that the particular educational needs of young people from ethnic minorities are identified and addressed in care plans, pathway plans, placement agreements and Personal Education Plans.

28.6 Young People with a Disability

Some young people may also have one or more specific disabilities that can impact on their ability to access and capitalise on educational opportunities. It is essential to ensure that these are clearly identified, that the impacts of these on the young person's education are assessed and that plans are put in place to address any additional requirements for support or specialist provision.

Independent Futures will ensure that, where the need is established, young people Leaving Care who will require support from Adult Services have appropriate transition arrangements and detailed plans agreed and implemented.

28.7 Young Parents

Education is important for young parents and their baby's future. Completing studies and taking examinations will help young parents to gain employment or undertake further learning at a later date.

The requirement for a young person to complete statutory education up to the end of Year 11 is not affected by pregnancy or parenthood. Suitable arrangements need to be put in place to support new parents to complete their formal, statutory education, for example by ensuring that safe alternative childcare is available for the baby to allow school or college attendance and study time for the parent.

Many young people now choose to stay on in education past Year 11 and having a baby should not exclude them from continuing on if they choose to do so. The allocated IF Personal Adviser, the young person's Social Worker and the Careers worker must try to support and encourage the young person to achieve their targets and objectives.

There are also other agencies that might be able to help if the young person has specific needs or difficulties, including: Children's Law Centre, Gingerbread; Parent's Advice Centre or Barnardos' Young Parent's Network.

28.8 Young People in Secure Accommodation

Young people may be placed in secure accommodation for a number of reasons including offending behaviour or because it is considered necessary to promote and protect their welfare. Whatever the reason for the placement, the young people need access to suitable education and training.

Many of the young people admitted to local authority Secure Units, Prison Service accommodation and Secure Training Centres enter with limited or no literacy skills and poor experiences of education. It is essential that care plans take account of each young person's educational needs and that appropriate provision is put in place.

An expectation of regular attendance together with an emphasis on progress and success and the growing confidence in their own achievement can change attitudes to learning and improve life chances.

IF personal advisers will be made aware of young people placed in secure accommodation and the duration of placements or sentences.

For young people placed within the Criminal Justice System on remand or for custodial sentence it is necessary to liaise with the Youth Offending Team (YOT) Manager to ensure liaison with the institution during placement and in preparation for discharge. The IF personal adviser must ensure that a plan for educational provision is put in place once a young person has been discharged.

28.9 Post 16 Education

The Government is committed to improving services for care leavers, to widening participation of under-represented groups, such as care leavers, in further/higher education and training, and preventing disaffected pupils becoming disengaged from education.

The 5 desired outcomes for every child defined in Department for Education include the expectation that every child should be enabled to:

  • "Enjoy and achieve" and "Achieve economic well-being".

Both of these objectives have a key focus on education and training as positive experiences in their own right and as core contributors to future employment and self-reliance.

The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000, aims to ensure that services for care leavers, between the ages of 16-18 allow and encourage young people to concentrate on their education and a career as well as preparing to leave care live independently.

Participation in education and training is one of the single most effective methods of preparation and reliable route to better life chances. Continuous support from corporate parents to access and sustain participation in education and training at this point is vital. This is particularly important for young people in public care as many require help with 'catching up', because of the barriers to educational success that they have experienced.

28.10 Post 18 Opportunities

Young people who continue in an agreed program of education (or training) are entitled to extended support by the IF Leaving Care Service until the end of their course (or the age of 24 in the case of Qualifying young people). Support will include practical advice and guidance, together with additional funding to enable them to pursue their course of study.

28.11 Careers Service

The Careers Service is responsible for delivering advice, support and careers guidance to all young people aged 13-19 to help them gain the greatest possible benefit from education and training and to help them overcome any personal barriers to them remaining in or re-engaging with learning.

Some young people in public care do not receive the career guidance to which they are entitled because of interruptions to their schooling at key points. The IF social worker or personal advisor must ensure that this is considered in the young person's PEP, or Personal Learning and Progression Plan, and if necessary refer the young person to the IF Careers Adviser. Primary carers can also help to ensure young people in public care Careers Adviser will contact the young person and arrange to discuss their needs and may also arrange to meet with their IF social worker/PA prior to this to discuss any difficulties or special needs the young person may have.

The Careers Adviser is based at the IF office. She will keep in regular contact with the young person as necessary to review their case and will be available for the young person to contact them.

The presence of the Careers Adviser at the IF service provides:

  • An Access point, where young people can be provided with information in regards to courses and training;
  • Links to accessing relevant services;
  • Help with CV writing, letter writing and interview techniques;
  • Internet Access.

Social workers/PAs should encourage young people to access this service, as it is a valuable benefit to them progressing in their career and therefore their future.


29. Personal Education Plan (PEP)

29.1 Introduction

The Personal Education Plan (PEP), is an individualised education plan, which aims to maximise the achievements and educational outcomes of young people in public care.

The PEP outlines the young person's current educational achievements (in their broadest sense) and uses this information to set targets, which seek to maximise learning opportunities and outcomes. Targets need to be tailored to suit the individual needs of each young person, while remaining appropriate to their age and ability. Crucially, if the educational outcomes of looked after young people are to improve, these targets need to be both realistic yet ambitious.

The PEP is designed to raise the achievement of young people in care and provide a key to improving their life chances.

"Every child and young person in public care needs a Personal Education Plan which, ensures access to services and support; contributes to stability; minimises disruption and broken schooling; signals particular and special needs; establishes clear goals and acts as a record of progress and achievement" (Department for Education: Joint Guidance Education of Children & Young People in Public Care, 2000).

Its primary objective is to tackle the serious underachievement of young people looked after by local authorities and to bring their attainment closer in line with that of their peers.

29.2 Requirement for PEP

All looked after young people must have a PEP.

29.3 Preparing and Agreeing a PEP

PEPs are developed and agreed in a meeting convened and chaired by the IF social worker/PA and involving:

  • The young person;
  • Social Worker;
  • Personal Adviser;
  • Carer(s);
  • Parent(s) (if appropriate);
  • Teachers;
  • Advocate;
  • Any other relevant agencies.

Wherever possible the young person should attend the PEP meeting. The young person needs to be completely clear about the purpose and process of the meeting and the agenda. The designated teacher, or other adult advocates, should explain this prior to the meeting.

It is important to take into account the wishes and feelings of the young person when considering invitations to this meeting. Nonetheless, it is also extremely important to ensure that essential participants are involved in agreeing the content and associated tasks.

Parts of the PEP may be completed prior to the meeting, as the main purpose of the meeting is to encourage a dialogue between the young person and the people attending, define roles and responsibilities, address issues that need clarification and set out targets for improvement. The completion of the PEP is an exercise to be carried out in detail, as it will provide the baseline for reviews.

29.4 Venue for PEP Meeting

The meeting is usually held at the young person's school/college, and is timed to inform the Statutory Review, also held every six months. If the young person is not at school or college the meeting should take place at the young person's placement or the IF office at Highbury New Park or another agreed confidential meeting place.

29.5 Timescale

The PEP must be reviewed every 6 months. This review should be completed before the statutory review/pathway plan review, so that the PEP can be used in this meeting.

An additional review should be held if a young person's situation alters or the young person requests a further review of their PEP.

29.6 Content

The PEP must include the following:

  • Date when the plan was started;
  • Basic personal formation about the young person and contact details;
  • Name and contact details of the young person's social worker;
  • Details of the school and main contact in the school i.e. specified teacher;
  • Background - including identification of developmental and educational needs;
  • A Record of Achievement;
  • Details of current education or training - e.g. school/sixth form/college/training/modern apprenticeship/employment or not currently in any of these areas;
  • Ambitions;
  • Future plans/targets - including specific short-term and long-term objectives, targets and plans.

The achievement record should detail both academic and personal successes. Close liaison and partnership is needed in order to identify developmental and educational needs. It is crucial that children and young people be fully involved in the development of their PEPs.

Objectives should be measurable and time-related. All objectives need to be SMART:

  • Specific: say exactly what you mean;
  • Measurable: how will you know the target has been achieved?
  • Achievable: break the task down into management chunks;
  • Realistic: is the target really achievable?
  • Time-related: set a time to review how things are going.

Clear contingency plans in the event of interruptions to the PEP must be identified, including key accountabilities and timescales.

29.7 Recording the PEP

The IF personal adviser is responsible for completing the PEP for Eligible Children in Year 12 and Year 13. It should be completed in the standard format. Where a young person does not attend the meeting or sign the PEP, it can be agreed by the participants and sent to the young person for further agreement or discussion.

All those with responsibilities for supporting and delivering the PEP must sign to endorse their commitment and must receive a copy of the document.

It is likely that the document produced in the meeting will be in written format before being word-processed at a later date. To avoid delay and uncertainty copies of the hand-written document should be circulated prior to the final printed document.

29.8 Education of Former Relevant Young People

The Educational, Training and Employment Needs of Former Relevant Young People should be addressed within the Pathway Plan.

The same key principles must be applied to the development of the education and training component to the Pathway Plan, including the development of SMART objectives and targets:

  1. A meeting should be arranged with the young person to complete the Pathway Plan. If the young person is in education or training consideration should be given to inviting their tutor or training provider;
  2. If the young person is not in education, employment or training (NEET) and aged between 18 and 20 years the meeting should include either a Careers Adviser or the E2E advisor based at the Leaving Care Service;
  3. If the young person is attending Further or Higher Education and does not wish their personal tutor to be involved in the process they must sign a statement confirming this (see pro forma);
  4. Minutes of the meeting should be completed by the allocated worker and placed on the case file in the Education Section;
  5. The Educational section of the Pathway Plan should summarise the discussion held at the meeting; the date of the meeting and those involved;
  6. The Educational section of the Pathway Plan should note the decisions made at the meeting, clearly state who is to take responsibility for the agreed actions, refer to timescales for the completion of the actions and how/when the decisions will be reviewed;
  7. The Contingency section of the Pathway Plan should refer to contingency plans in relation to education, training and employment;
  8. The Senior Young Person's Adviser or Deputy Team Manager in the IF service will not sign off the Pathway Plan review unless there is evidence of the above.

Where a young person cannot attend or sign the PEP or Pathway Plan, it can be agreed by the participants and then sent to the young person for further agreement or discussion.


30. Accommodation

30.1 Legislation and Policy Guidance

The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 identifies good accommodation as an important factor for successful independent living for a young person leaving care.

The Children Act 1989 requires Local Authorities to help parents and carers provide children with stable living arrangements, secure relationships and healthy, safe environments in which to grow and flourish. Where it is not possible to achieve this within the young person's birth family, timely planning should be made to secure those children within wider family networks or, if this is not possible, through the provision of substitute care.

30.2 Change of Address

When a young person's address changes, (as with every other change including: new GP; Educational Qualification; or educational course or college), all changes must be promptly entered on ICS.

30.3 Placements for Young People Aged 16-18 Years

Until a looked after young person is 18, it is the responsibility of allocated Social Worker to make sure that the young person is placed in suitable accommodation. This accommodation needs to be in line with their assessed needs, is safe and secure, and somewhere they have say in. From the age of 15 1/2, the IF Personal Adviser should begin to plan ahead with each young person to identify suitable living arrangements for the future.

The IF Personal Adviser will discuss with the young person their placements within their care plan and pathway plan. A young person may remain in residential care or a foster placement up until they the age of 18 if it is assessed that the young person will cope and mature better within this environment, and also that the placement will continue to provide good outcomes for the young person.

There is a range of semi-independent housing options open to young people between 16-18 years of age, with varying support depending on their needs, including:

  • Supported housing with support staff on the premises, full-time or part-time;
  • Supported housing with floating support.

Young people may move to this sort of provision between the ages of 16 and 18 if it is assessed as more likely to meet their needs, particularly in supporting them to acquire the skills relevant to attaining independence.

30.4 Placement Meeting

Changes of placement should follow the procedures for Looked After Children.

Where a young person moves out of a care placement into a semi-independent or supported housing option, a placement planning meeting should be held before the young person changes placement. Where the placement is made in an emergency the meeting should be held as soon as possible after the young person moves in.

The aim of the meeting is to set a framework for:

Young People

  • Draws attention to their immediate and long terms needs;
  • Provides a systematic approach to addressing their day-to-day concerns;
  • Makes it more likely that their views, wishes and feelings will be recognised and acted upon;
  • Provides a practical means of building a useful relationship with carers and social workers;
  • Creates a lasting life record which will offset some of the risks of multiple moves, support the development of a sense of identity and assist in the building of a sense of continuity.

Social Workers and Carers

  • Provides an agenda for work with young person;
  • Directs attention to the everyday goals of parenting;
  • Provides a means of assessing process across a spectrum of developmental dimensions;
  • Ensures that all essential information is recorded in one accessible place and is regularly updated;
  • Encourages reflection on the successes of young person not just their problems;
  • Raises sensitive issues;
  • Facilitates improvements in the quality of care which can be organised and provided for the young person;
  • Rationalises documentation and creates consistency across agencies.

30.5 Venue

If possible the meeting should take place at the new placement, if this is not possible a venue suitable to everyone should be organised.

30.6 Who Should Attend:

  • The allocated social worker;
  • The young person (if possible);
  • Family members (if appropriate);
  • A key worker for the new placement;
  • A key worker from the previous placement, if possible.

30.7 Recording (Eligible Young People)

The change of placement should be recorded on ICS.

The allocated worker should complete the placement information record on ICS.

The Placement Plan is designed to outline the purpose of the placement in meeting the young person's identified needs.

The pathway plan should also be discussed at the placement planning meeting.

Copies of all forms must be provided for the young person, parent (if appropriate), carer and others who are involved.

30.8 Monitoring of the Placement

The statutory requirement for visiting young people and monitoring their placement is for the young person must be visited within the first week of the placement, and thereafter every six weeks for the first year, then every 12 weeks after that. However, the Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children Procedure requires that visits should continue every four (or six by agreement) weeks throughout the placement.

The visit is the responsibility of the case-holding Social Worker. It may be completed by a Personal Adviser exceptionally, after prior agreement between DTMs managing the case.

A visit must also take place when reasonably requested by the young person or the placement key worker.

The young person must be seen alone by their social worker each time a visit is made, unless the young person refuses. If the young person refuses to be seen alone this must be recorded as part of the visit record in their case file. The views and wishes of the young person in relation to their care must always be sought and recorded.

If the social worker is unable to establish direct contact with the young person within the placement, they must discuss the case immediately with their supervisor or line manager who will then decide on what action is needed.

A written report of each visit must be made.

The placement will also be reviewed within the statutory review every 6 months.

30.9 Placement of Young People Aged 16 or Over with their Parents

Young people who are subject to Care Orders may only be placed at home with their parent(s), or other person who previously held Parental Responsibility for them, after permission has been given by LBI (Placement with Parents Procedure, etc. Regulations).

Before making such a placement the case-holding social worker must:

  • Interview the person who will be caring for the young person;
  • Inspect the proposed accommodation, including the proposed sleeping arrangements for the young person.

The social worker must prepare a report setting out:

  • A brief summary of the case including the reasons why the young person was made subject to a care order in the first place;
  • The young person's health, education and social needs, with brief details of how these will be met in the placement;
  • The views of the young person, their parents, and others with parental responsibility about the proposed placement;
  • A conclusion describing why this placement is suitable for the young person, how the placement, and future plans for young person.

The report must be forwarded to the Service Manager to seek authorisation from LBI senior managers.

If the placement is given the go ahead, the young person remains Looked After and the placement must be visited, monitored and reviewed as previously detailed.

In the case of young people who are, or were, on the child protection register a similar assessment and report will be required.

Consideration must be given to removing the young person in any of the following circumstances:

  • Failure to thrive;
  • An apparent inability of the caregivers to cope;
  • Suspicion of abuse;
  • Serious criminal or other disturbed behaviour by an adult member of household;
  • Failure to co-operate by the care-givers (including refusal of access to the young person).

The decision to remove the young person in any of the above circumstances must be made by a team manager.

Young people who return to live with their parents after having been accommodated voluntarily cease to be Looked After and do not require the same level of visiting or monitoring. However, they will remain the responsibility of the IF service and will be subject to pathway planning and review processes.

30.10 Moving Young People to Placements

30.10.1 In Office Hours

During office hours it is the responsibility of the young person's social worker to accompany the young person to a new care placement. The young person's PA would normally accompany the young person to a new placement in supported accommodation or semi-independent accommodation. The social worker/PA should consider the need to be accompanied by a colleague especially where the young person is being transported to the placement by car.

The social worker should also consider whether it is appropriate for a birth parent or other significant adult to accompany them and the young person.

In all cases the social worker must follow the Placements in Foster Care Procedure for a new placement for a Looked After Child.

Wherever practicable the social worker must also ensure that the following are taken to the placement with the young person:

  • The young person's clothes, packed in a suitcase (these are available from IF when required);
  • Any medication used by the young person;
  • The young person's Personal Health Care Record;
  • Copies of any legal orders relating to the young person;
  • Any comfort objects used by the young person;
  • Other personal belongings that the young person wishes to have with them in placement, although for larger items this may require some negotiation with the carer.

30.10.2 Out of Office Hours

The social worker must follow the procedure for placing young people in office hours as far, as is practicable.

As a minimum, the social worker must ensure that a completed Essential Record Part 1 and a Placement Plan Part 1 are left with the carer.

Where it has not been possible to obtain any of the items of personal belongings of the young person for this move, it is the social worker's responsibility to obtain these as soon as possible, preferably the next working day.

30.11 Placements for Young People Over 18 Years Old

30.11.1 By 16 Years of Age

The IF PA or Social Worker must discuss plans for moving to independent accommodation with the young person. The IF worker must explain young people’s responsibilities for paying rent, council tax, service charges and other bills after the age of 18. The Pathway Plan for the young person should identify their needs for support and any other needs they may have in relation to their accommodation and how those needs are to be me. The Pathway Plan should inform the choice of suitable post-18 accommodation for an individual young person.

30.11.2 At 18 Years of Age

IF does not fund placements for young people aged over 18 in most circumstances. Young People will be expected to pay their own rent from earnings, or student loan/grant income, or claim Housing Benefit towards the cost of rent. IF will pay rent where a young person cannot receive Housing Benefit for any reason. This will only be as a temporary arrangement until the Housing Benefit or other rent arrangements can be sorted out.

30.11.3 After 19 Years of Age

IF may consider funding the accommodation costs for young people who are in full time education, and where it has been established that they can get no benefits or grants from any other source. Each case will be assessed and considered on an individual basis according to their circumstances. Any decision to fund such an arrangement will depend on the young person’s commitment to attend regularly, as part of their career plan, and to help them improve their job opportunities. Students receiving Education loans for University courses will be expected to pay their own rent.

30.12 Applications for Local Authority Housing

Local Authorises recognise the extra difficulties facing young people who are leaving care, so in co-operation with the social services department they offer tenancies to young people leaving care. Even if they have lost contact with the service, they should mention it when they are interviewed by the Housing officer or complete the application form.

If young people are waiting on the list to receive a council flat, they are allowed to get involved in a new bidding system, which allows young people or the accommodation officer to bid for a flat online in an auction style manner, using their list reference number. Details of this can be found on the Islington Council website or by contacting the accommodation officer.

IF has a priority to protect care leavers from becoming homeless. 

30.13 Practical Help for Young People 18+ in their Own Homes

All young people aged 18+ leaving care are entitled to continued support from IF as they move into independent living - and thereafter until they are 21 years old, or until they complete a planned course of education (or until the age of 24 years if still in further education and a Qualifying young person).

The PA can make a referral to the SHP floating support service on behalf of the young people to receive practical support to live independently. Before a referral is made the social worker/PA should discuss it with their manager. The referral form is available on the shared drive of the IF service.

30.14 Mother and Baby Placements

Where a young woman under 18 is assessed of needing support to care for her own baby or child, it may well be in the best interests of the baby/child that they be referred for a mother and baby placement. The referrals should be made in the same way as diagrammed previously for change of placements, through the Accommodation Officer.

It is usually possible to plan such placements in advance and therefore there should be adequate information available to share with prospective carers.

Where appropriate to the young woman's circumstance, consideration should be given to arranging admission to the placement prior to the birth of the baby to facilitate the development of relationships.

Islington and Camden Clinical Commissioning Group jointly operate a 'Teenage Pregnancy Team' that co-ordinates and promotes a range of services for young people in both boroughs.

The team is based in room 306 110 Hamstead Road London NW1 2LJ, Tel: 0207853 5384, Fax: 020 7853 531.


31. Health

31.1 Importance of Healthy Development for Young People

Young people who are looked after are recognised as being vulnerable to risk taking behaviour including unsafe sex, self-harming, and substance and alcohol misuse. It is also an area where the young people have expressed particular interest in accessing further information. Therefore, the focus of health care planning should encompass health promotion as well as physical, emotional and mental health needs.

Young people need to understand their right to good health, to be able to access services, and to have the knowledge and skills to communicate and relate to others, and take responsibility for themselves and others.

31.2 Factors Contributing to Poor Health Outcomes

  • The nature of corporate parenting is such that no one person is responsible for promoting good health in the way that most birth parents do on a day to day basis without thinking;
  • A failure to adequately record a young person's medical history and that of their birth family;
  • A failure to ensure that this information is passed to the young person's day to day carers;
  • Too much attention being paid to specific illness or injury (for example where a young person has been abused) rather than a holistic approach to the young person's health care needs;
  • A failure to ensure that full up to date medical records are available where and when needed;
  • A failure to notify health agencies that the young person is looked after and subsequently medical appointments being missed because no one knew they were due to happen;
  • Insufficient attention being paid by social workers and carers to health education and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle;
  • Lack of appropriate training for social workers and carers;
  • Inadequate availability of professional health care advice for social workers and carers;
  • The Government have recognised these failures and sought to address them through regulation and guidance and through the Quality Protects programme.

31.3 Health Assessment

Every young person in care (eligible YP) is entitled to have a holistic health assessment. This assessment should not be an isolated event but part of a continuous process to ensure the provision of high quality healthcare.

A suitably qualified medical practitioner must undertake the first health assessment but subsequent reviews may now be undertaken by a registered nurse or midwife under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner.

31.4 Health Assessment Review

Young people over 16 are more likely to be having a health assessment review than to be having their first assessment. On rare occasions young people may be transferred to Independent Futures without a health assessment and plan in place. In this situation the IF social worker must contact a qualified medical practitioner to arrange their first health assessment.

It is always the responsibility of the allocated SW (in whichever team) to arrange the Health Assessment and review Health Assessment.

The health assessment will be considered as part of the young person's statutory review/pathway plan review every six months.

In some cases it may be advisable to book the young person into the health professional's clinic even if they are placed a considerable distance away (e.g. if adoption is a possibility). If in doubt, social workers should seek advice from the health professional.

31.5 Emotional Health Concerns Arising from Health Assessment

During the review if a health professional or a GP have concerns about the young person's emotional needs and feel that a referral to the CAMHS is necessary, this should be discussed with the social worker. If the social worker also has concerns they must make a direct referral to the CAMHS worker. (Process for referral to a CAMHS worker included below.)

31.6 Health Assessment Review Content

The Health Assessment is a tool for health promotion for the young people. Before the assessment, it is vital to collate as much background information as possible, including the young person's personal and family history if this is known.

The assessment, must address:

  • Physical, emotional and mental health;
  • General lifestyle;
  • Advice on Substance Misuse;
  • Advice on Sexual health;
  • Health history, as far as practicable, his family health history;
  • The effect of the young person's health and health history on her/his development;
  • Existing arrangements of the young person's medical and dental care and treatment and health and dental surveillance;
  • The possible need for preventative measures, such as vaccination and immunisation, and screening for vision and hearing and for advice and guidance on health, personal care and health promotion issues appropriate to the young person's needs;
  • It is very important for the review to include a page of recommendations to the social worker in regards to the youth person's health needs. The recommendations should inform the social worker about a health plan for the young people and about the timescale the recommendations should be done by and whom they should be done by.

31.7 Health Plan

On receipt of the health assessment review report, the social worker must prepare a plan for the future health care of the young person:

  • The health plan should be developed from the health assessment;
  • The plan should clearly set out the objectives, actions, time-scales and responsibilities arising from the assessment;
  • It should form part of the Statutory Review/Pathway Plan;
  • Implementation of the health plan requires a systematic check through the action list to ensure things happen when they should;
  • It is the responsibility of the social worker to ensure that there is a local system in place to deliver this responsibility.

31.8 Health Plan Guidance

The following general principles should be applied to the planning and delivery of health care to looked after children:

  • Health assessments and plans should promote the current and future health of the young person and not just focus on the detection of ill health;
  • Health assessments cover a range of issues beyond this physical health, including developmental health and emotional well-being;
  • The young person should be at the centre of the process. At each stage the young person must be given the opportunity to express their wishes and concerns and these should be listened to;
  • Health assessments should be sensitive to age, gender, disability, race, culture, religion and language. They should be non - discriminatory and promote equality of access to services;
  • The local authority should fulfil the role of an active concerned parent in promoting and monitoring the young person's health and development and should, wherever possible and appropriate, actively involve the young person's parents;
  • Looked after children should have timely access to services to reflect their significantly increased need for health care compared with their peers;
  • The young person's informed consent to all care and treatment should be actively sought and recorded in a manner appropriate to the young person's age and understanding.

31.9 Registered GP

The social worker must ensure that every young person is registered with a local GP. If they are not, the social worker must help the young person register with a GP.

The contact details of the registered GP should be included in the Health Plan and the Pathway Plan.

31.10 Dental Care

Social workers should ensure that children are registered with a dentist and receiving appropriate oral health surveillance, although responsibility for day to day arrangements such care will usually be delegated to the young person's carer.

Reviewing Officers should ensure that the effectiveness of such arrangements are monitored through the LAC review process.

31.11 Optical Care

The Health Care Plan should identify any specific needs the young person has for optical care. The arrangements for meeting needs these should be recorded in the Health Plan.

Reviewing Officers should ensure that the effectiveness of such arrangements are monitored through the LAC review process.

31.12 Vaccinations and Immunisations

The young person's immunisation history should be recorded in the Health Assessment. The need for further immunisations should be considered as part of the health assessment and incorporated into the Health Care Plan.

Islington expects all looked after children to receive the full range of immunisations recommended by the Department of Health, which are detailed on the LAC Health Requirements Poster.

The recommendation of immunisations from the health assessment review should be arranged by the social worker at a GP practice. The BCG immunisation injection cannot be done by the GP, it will have to be organised at hospital.

The nurse health adviser will hold a monthly immunisation clinic at the Northern Health Clinic.

If a young person refuses to receive recommended immunisations reasonable attempts must be made to discuss this with them and to ensure that they understand the potential implications of their refusal. Details of any refusal must be fully recorded in the young person's case record.

31.13 Contraception and Sexual Health Services

Social workers and carers have a key role to play in providing information and support to looked after children and young people on these issues. It is their role, and professional duty, to ensure that looked after children and young people and care leavers are encouraged to seek contraceptive and sexual health if it appears that they are - or likely to be sexually active.

The health assessment review focuses on sexual health. The health professional will discuss various issues such as sexual transmitted infections, negotiating sex (promoting choice), contraception, and they will also do a condemn demonstration. The young person will also be advised of local services available to them.

Information booklets for young people, and condoms are available from the IF office.

Further information can be obtained from the local teenage pregnancy co-ordinator or through the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy.

31.14 Drug and Alcohol Services

Young people can be referred to the Islington Drug and Alcohol Team for support.

For more information contact Islington Drug and Alcohol Action Team which is based within the Community Safety Team at:

Municipal Offices
222 Upper Street
London
N1 1XR

Contact - Vulnerable Young People's Co-ordinator

Tel: 0207 527 3400 or IDAAT Information Officer on 0207 527 340

Copies of the Young People's Substance Misuse Plan are also available from the DAAT at the address above.

The issues of drug and alcohol misuse is also discusses in the health assessment review. The health professional will offer the young person an opportunity to ask questions about smoking, drug and alcohol concerns. The young person will also be offered advice about these issues. The young people will also be provided with relevant details that can offer help and support to them if they have concerns about their level of use.

31.15 Retention and Recording of Health Information

  • The "lead" health record for the looked after young person or young person should be the GP held record. They should also hold a copy of the health assessment and health plan should form part of the record;
  • Before a placement begins, the carer must be provided with as full a description as possible of the young person's health care needs. If full details are not available at the point of placement a high priority must be given to providing this as soon as possible;
  • The health care plan must be recorded on the LAC Care Plan;
  • The Placement Plan must record how the health care plan is to be actioned and who is responsible for the different elements of the plan.

31.16 Confidentiality

At the beginning of the health assessment review, confidentiality is discussed with the young person. They are informed that if the health professional is concerned that they are of significant risk to themselves or others, this information will be passed on to the social worker.

Staff and carers need to be mindful of the need to protect the confidentiality of children and their families at all times.

In the area of health information this is of particular importance. Carers and staff will often hold highly confidential and sensitive information that could have significant implications if shared inappropriately.

For example, a young person's HIV status could have a significant impact on the attitude of peers to the young person or major implications for the young person's ability to secure insurance later in life.

While the young person's social worker and primary carer will always be informed of the young person's HIV status, this is not information that anyone else usually needs to know. There is no immediate reason even for others who are engaged in intimate care of the young person to be given this regardless of the young person's HIV status.

Information should therefore only be shared on a need to know basis and care should be taken to ensure that only those authorised to receive such information can access it. Particular care is needed to ensure that information is not inadvertently passed on by telephone calls being overheard or reports not being locked away.

31.17 Young People with a Disability

Islington recognises the additional difficulties facing disabled children and will seek to ensure that they and their carers are provided with the necessary support to give them the same opportunities to fulfil their potential as their peers.

Particular care will need to be taken to ensure that health assessments and treatment take account of any communication barriers and that the young person's wishes and feelings, including consent, are represented and respected wherever possible.

Health assessments should recognise the importance of identifying any disabling barriers in the young person's environment that may exacerbate the effect of any impairment.

The positive effect on health of appropriate social, recreational and leisure activities is as important, or more so, for the young person with a disability as for any other and steps should be taken to remove barriers to participation in such activities.

Parents retain the prime responsibility for ensuring the health of children using short-term break carers. Such children do not need a full health assessment, but carers must have a full understanding of the young person's disabilities and any medical, behavioural or social consequences.

It is also essential that carers know what to do and who to contact in an emergency.

Attention must be given to ensuring the safe installation and use of any equipment the young person may need to use in the foster home or residential unit.

31.18 Black and Minority Ethnic Young People

Research evidence has shown that black and ethnic minority children suffer considerable health disadvantage. This is due in part to the strong correlation between the physical health of children and adverse social and economic conditions.

In addition, black and ethnic minority populations are vulnerable to certain hereditary diseases such as sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia and pre-disposed to certain forms of diabetes. This makes the need to ensure that a full family history is taken as part of the health assessment process all the more important for such children.

Care should also be taken when choosing a placement to ensure that the carer understands the particular needs of such children and is provided with additional training and support to meet these needs.

Care must also be taken to ensure those children or parents whose first language is not English are able to communicate their needs and wishes. In particular, issues of consent and confidentiality will need to be managed carefully.

31.19 Asylum-Seeking Young People

Many asylum-seeking children come from cultural and religious backgrounds with which social workers, carers and health workers may be unfamiliar.

Some will speak little or no English, will have witnessed or suffered horrific events beyond the comprehension of most people in the UK. Some as a result will suffer psychological distress or possibly exhibit signs of posttraumatic stress disorder.

Unaccompanied refugee children are unlikely to have medical records with them and may not be able to give a full individual or family medical history.

Immunisation status will often be unknown and a course of primary immunisation may need to be undertaken, depending on their country of origin.

Care must also be taken to ensure that children whose first language is not English are able to communicate their needs and wishes. In particular, issues of consent and confidentiality will need to be managed carefully.

31.20 Consent to Medical Examination or Treatment

31.20.1 Young People Aged 16 or 17

young people reach the age of 16, they are presumed in law to be competent to give consent for themselves, for their own surgical, medical or dental treatment, and any associated procedures, such as investigations, anaesthesia or nursing care. This means that in many respects they should be treated as adults - for example if a signature on a consent form is necessary, they can sign for themselves.

However, it is still good practice to encourage competent children to involve their families in decision making. Where a competent young person does ask for their confidence to be kept, it must be respected unless disclosure can be justified on the grounds of 'public interest' e.g. that there is reasonable cause to suspect that the young person is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm.

Efforts should be made to persuade the young person to involve their family, unless it is believed that it is not in their best interest to do so. If a decision is taken to disclose, the justification should be noted in the young person's records.

31.20.2 Young People Aged 18+

At 18 years the young person is treated as an adult, therefore can give consent to any medical examination or treatment. However, the young person should be encouraged to talk to and involve a parent or someone they trust about their ailment.

31.20.3 Consent by Independent Futures

All young people receiving a service from IF will be over 16 years of age and able to consent to, or refuse, medical treatment in their own right.

IF does not have parental responsibility and cannot consent to either examination or treatment unless this power has been delegated by the parent or in an emergency. The parents should be encouraged to delegate authority, in writing, to the Department for routine treatment and minor procedures.

When a young person needs treatment and the parent(s) refuse(s) consent, the Department should consider obtaining an appropriate order, which may be a Section 8 Specific Issue Order, an Emergency Protection Order or Child Assessment Order.

Although treatment in the absence of consent is an assault on the person and hence an offence, the Department may do what is reasonable in all the circumstances for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the young person's welfare. This includes giving consent to the young person's medical treatment in the event of an accident or emergency.

31.21 Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being

Looked after children and their carers need access to a full range of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). Evidence suggests that many mental health difficulties are missed in this group of children and young people, in particular the effects of grief and loss and resulting depression, particularly in younger children.

CAMHS workers are co-located at the IF office for part of the week and can provide direct consultations with young people, or with IF team members in relation to their allocated young people.

31.22 CAMHS Workers Provide

  • Counselling directly to the young person individually or with the carer and maybe the family;
  • Assist in prevention of mental health problems;
  • Assist the social worker with young people who may have emotional/ behavioural difficulties;
  • Assist the social worker in early identification of mental health problems, and referral.

31.23 Venue for CAMHS Meetings with Young People

  • Highbury New Park, N5 2EN; or
  • Northern health Centre, 580 Holloway Road, N7 6BL; or
  • At the young person's home where required or appropriate.

31.24 Consultation between CAMHS Workers and Social Workers

A social worker may want to discuss a young person's case with the CAMHS worker and vice versa, this discussion should take place in a formal setting and at an arranged time.

A referral form must be submitted to the CAMHS worker or the social worker.

From this referral an agreed date, time and venue should be arranged to suit all parties.

This is necessary for confidentiality, and also to give priority to the case at that particular time so that the case can be reviewed in detail.

Consultation may also be necessary with others, including:

  • School;
  • Carers;
  • Foster Carers;
  • Parents, or other family members;
  • Health agencies.

31.25 Sharing of Health Information

Before a placement begins, the carer must be provided with as full a description as possible of the young person's health care needs. If full details are not available at the point of placement a high priority must be given to providing this as soon as possible.

Carers should be provided with copies of all health documents in accordance with the requirements of the Looking After Children System together with any other relevant reports.

End