Being in our care
When a decision has been made which results in a child or young person coming into our care, the period before their placement and the first month in their new home is a particularly important time.
All children in our care have their needs assessed. If this has not happened before the child or young person has come into our care, an assessment will be carried out as soon as possible. Good assessments and plans lead to more successful outcomes for children and young people.
When a child or young person comes into our care in a planned way, the care plan can be started before the child or young person goes to live with their carers. Where this is unable to happen, a care plan will be prepared as soon as possible.
The care plan will contain information about how the child or young person's needs will be met as well as arrangements for their current and longer-term care.
Many children in our care return to live with their parents within several months and a good care plan can help to achieve this.
Placement planning meeting
A placement planning meeting should be held before a child or young person goes to live with a carer. If a meeting can't take place before, it must happen within a few days of the child or young person moving in with their new carers.
The placement planning meeting is where essential information about the child or young person is shared and where arrangements are made about who can make decisions about various aspects of the day-to-day care of the child or young person.
This can include decisions about:
- who can agree to the child or young person staying at a friend's house overnight
- consent to health care
- school trips
- parent evenings at school
- who can agree to personal care such as haircuts
Sorting these things out at an early stage helps the child or young person to feel confident that everyone knows what they are doing and where they stand.
The child or young person, their parents, the carers and the social worker will attend the placement planning meeting.
All children in our care deserve good quality health care including dental and eye care. and will be offered regular health assessments so their health needs can be met and they can be given advice and guidance on health and personal care. The health assessment will also give the child or young person a chance to discuss any health issues or to ask the doctor any questions.
Parents will be asked to consent to the release of their own health information. This information is important for the doctor carrying out the health assessment so that they can be aware of any significant health history within the family. This information will only be available to the doctor carrying out the health assessment.
Social workers can arrange for parents to accompany their child to health assessment appointments, if it is appropriate.
When a young person is old enough to make their own decisions about their health care, they can decide whether to have a health assessment or health treatment. No young person will be made to feel that they have to make health decisions on their own and they will always have access to advice and guidance from professional medical staff to help them make their own informed decisions.
Schools and the Personal Education Plan (PEP)
We try to make sure that children in our care continue going to their own school if it is possible,especially when they are in years 10 and 11 due to the importance of their exams.
Where it is not possible for a child or young person to stay in their own school, if they need to travel long distances for example, they will be involved in any decision about which new school they should attend. Parents will also be encouraged to give their views about any change in school.
The personal education plan is a record of a child or young person's education and training which contains essential information that the school needs to know from the social worker including:
- who has parental responsibility
- who can make decisions on things such as school trips
- what needs to happen in school and at home for the child or young person to reach their potential
Personal education plans are reviewed every 6 months, usually at a meeting in school. Parents, carers, the social worker, teacher and the child or young person (where they want to) are involved in the meetings to develop and review it.
Social worker visits to children in our care
Every child in our care has their own social worker. The social worker will visit the child or young person where they are living for as long as they remain in our care.
When the social worker visits a child or young person they will usually speak to them on their own and the social worker will want to know that the child or young person is safe and well and is being provided with good quality care.
Children in our care review meetings
A review is a meeting to discuss the arrangements for where a child or young person lives and to talk about plans and if they are working.
Every child in our care has an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) and it is part of their job to run the meeting. Before the meeting, the IRO will offer the child or young person the opportunity to talk in private about the meeting and also the plans that will be discussed.
Usually, the child or young person will attend, depending how old they are. The social worker, carer or parents or family will attend, and the IRO. Often other people, who know the child or young person, like a school teacher, will also be invited to attend. The child or young person may ask for an advocate to attend, this is someone who helps them have their say or to say what they think or feel.
The IRO will start the meeting by asking everyone to introduce themselves. Everyone will have the chance to talk about how things are and if any changes need to be made to the care plan. The IRO will give everyone a chance to speak and have the opportunity to talk about the plans that have been made.
When decisions are made, the social worker will discuss these with the child or young person to ensure they understand. The chairperson will take notes during the meeting and a copy of these notes will be sent to everyone who attended.