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4.10.1 Promotion of Contact to Children in Care

Please see relevant section of Forms Library to access the required template.

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

Childnet Parents and Carers Toolkit

AMENDMENT

In May 2022 a link was added to a toolkit produced by Childnet to assist parents and carers with managing contact.


Contents

  1. Key Points
  2. Contact Procedures


1. Key Points

  1. Children and young people in residential and foster care should be encouraged to maintain and develop constructive contact with their families, friends and significant others (including grandparents and half siblings), in accordance with the Care Plan;
  2. They should also be encouraged (in line with Placement Plans and risk assessments) to enjoy the activities that any other child can, including out of school activities, friendships, visits and sleepovers without requiring a DBS check;
  3. Contact may direct face-to-face contact by visits to or by the child or young person. Contact can also be indirect, by telephone, letters or e-mail;
  1. Contact must not be stopped as a sanction or punishment;
  2. A foster carer providing short breaks must maintain contact as agreed in the child’s short breaks plan (please see Short Breaks Procedure);
  3. Emergency restrictions on contact can only be made to protect the child from significant risk and must be notified to the placing authority (child’s social worker) within 24 hours.
  4. Arrangements for contact are established on admission and detailed in the Placement Plan. They are subsequently discussed at the Planning Meeting, and at every Statutory Review, and, if the child has a Child Protection Plan, at each Child Protection Review Conference;
  5. When offering the placement the fostering team and carer(s) must work with the placing authority to support contact;
  6. Contact may be held in the parental home, in the community by agreement, or in the Children's Home or Foster Home and detailed in the above documents;
  7. Contact should not take place until the social worker has assessed the risks and considered whether the contact needs to be supervised. Contact may be supervised by the child's carer in the children's home or foster home. However when this is not practicable or appropriate, a referral should be made to the Supervised Contact Service (see The Family Contact Service - Supervised Contact Procedure);
  8. Children are encouraged (in line with Placement Plans and risk assessments) to enjoy the activities that any other child can, including out of school activities, friendships, visits and sleepovers without requiring a DBS check (see Overnight Stays with Friends Procedure).

Residential Care

  1. If contact is to be held in the residential home it is the responsibility of the Manager of the Home to ensure a suitable room is available;
  2. Staff/carers have a duty to know the contact arrangements for a child/young person;
  3. Details of any contact will be recorded in the home's daily log.

Foster Care

  1. If contact is to take place in the foster home, the arrangements must be discussed and agreed with the carer and fostering social worker. Full information as to the risks any parent may present must be shared with the carer and fostering social worker;
  2. Financial support should be offered to the carer/parent for transport and other costs to ensure that contact takes place;
  3. Details of any contact will be recorded by the foster carer in the child's placement file (the carer's "red" file").


2. Contact Procedures

  1. All contact visits and details of the contact must be recorded on:
    • The child/young person's case file;
    • The Visitors Book and Log Book if the contact takes place in a children's Home;
    • The contact section of the child's foster placement file ("red file").
  2. Any significant reaction that the child has to contact with family, friends or significant others must be recorded and communicated to the child’s social worker;
  3. Where communication between a child and his/her parents is infrequent or where there has been no direct contact or if, for any other reason, the local authority believes it is in the child’s best interests, the social worker should discuss with the child whether a referral should be made to the Participation and Rights Team for the appointment of an Independent Visitor (see Independent Visitors Procedure).

Residential Care

If a child/young person does not wish to see their parents or family then consideration must be given to his/her wishes and feelings. In these circumstances the matter must be referred immediately to the social worker.

If a person arrives at the home in an apparently intoxicated condition or displaying threatening behaviour the member of staff in charge will deny admission and refuse contact in the child/young person's best interest. This applies to both planned and unplanned contact. In these circumstances the matter must be referred immediately to the Social Worker.

End