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4.5.5 Support, Supervision and Review of Placement with Parents

Contents

  1. Key Points
  2. Procedure for Supporting, Supervising and Reviewing Placements with Parents


1. Key Points

  1. The arrangements for supporting the placement will be set out in the placement agreement. The social worker should aim to encourage and support the parent to exercise appropriate Parental Responsibility, and assistance should be provided in a manner which is consistent with this, and does not undermine the parent’s ability to cope. 
  2. The regulations set out minimum requirements for the frequency of visits to the child or young person, which must be maintained in all cases. Visits conforming with the regulations should be to the child in the placement, and s/he should be seen both alone and in the presence of the parent(s). A written report of the visit is required. In practice visits should be tailored to the individual needs of the child/young person and circumstances prevailing in the placement, thus there will be periods when visiting needs to be more frequent than the statutory minimum. The arrangements for visiting must be set out in the placement agreement, and the provisions should indicate the circumstances in which visits might vary from the regular pattern.
  3. The primary duty of the supervising Social Worker is to the child. Whilst the interests of the child will often be more effectively promoted by adopting a supportive role with the parent(s), the supervising Social Worker must be careful not to collude with parental attitudes and behaviour which are detrimental to the welfare of the child or are even abusive. It is important to maintain a balanced view, recognising that it is not always easy to reconcile the needs of the child with the legitimate needs of a parent. This may be particularly difficult in circumstances when there is sympathy for a parent struggling to manage their child’s persistent challenging behaviour (or for a child when the parent struggles to manage “normal” behaviour). The supervising social worker and his/her manager should be alert to situations where reconciling the supervisory and support roles are problematic, and consideration should be given to introducing another worker to provide the parent with independent support.
  4. The LAC Action and Assessment Records can also be used when a child or young person is placed with a parent. However, it will probably be more appropriate for the supervising Social Worker to undertake completion of the Records in consultation with the parent(s) rather than the task being undertaken by the parent(s) on their own. The information obtained from completing the records is likely to prove useful in assessing whether the placement is meeting the child’s needs, and thus can inform future plans for the child, including any decision to make an application to discharge the Care Order.
  5. The duty to review the case of a looked after child or young person continues to apply when the child is placed with a parent. The usual procedure for undertaking a statutory review, which can be found in the Looked After Reviews Procedure should be followed. The appropriate LAC documentation should be used. In addition, consideration should be given at the review to the appropriateness of the agreement made with the parent at the outset of the placement, or whether any amendments to the agreement are necessary. When a review meeting is in agreement that the continuation of the placement is in the best interests of the child, particular consideration must always be given to why the Care Order is still necessary. The reasons for not recommending that an application be made for the discharge of the order should be fully recorded.
  6. If, at any time, it becomes apparent that a Care Order is no longer serving any purpose in promoting the welfare of the child/young person steps must be taken to ensure that the order is discharged at the earliest opportunity.


2. Procedure for Supporting, Supervising and Reviewing Placements with Parents

  1. The supervising Social Worker undertakes visits to the placement as outlined in the placement agreement. The minimum requirement is:
    • Within one week of the Care Order
    • At intervals of not more than 6 weeks during the first year of placement
    • Whenever reasonably requested to do so by the child or parent
    N.B. Under the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations, 2010, if a child is placed with his / her parents under a Care Order, the requirement for social workers to visit at intervals of not more than 3 months after the first year has been removed. However, the requirement to visit within one week of the Care Order, and thereafter at intervals of not more than 6 weeks remains. Under the Regulations if the child is placed with parents pending assessment (Regulation 19), social work visits must take place at least once a week until the first Looked After Review, thereafter at intervals of not more than 6 weeks.

    On each visit, the social worker must speak to the child in private unless he/she is unable to do so, considers it inappropriate or the child (being of sufficient age and understanding) refuses.

    Each visit must be recorded by the social worker.
  1. If the placement involves a series of short-term placements (e.g. a series of overnight stays for contact purposes) the minimum visiting frequency is at least once during the first seven placement days, or before the first review, and on one other occasion during the series. The other requirements are the same.
  2. The supervising Social Worker will arrange the first review within one month of the placement, and the second review 3 months after the first review. In the case of a series of short-term placements, the first review must be held within the first 3 months, and the second review no later than 6 months after the first. In all cases subsequent reviews must be held at a minimum of 6 monthly intervals.
  3. The supervising Social Worker should liaise at regular intervals with other professionals involved with the child/young person e.g. health visitor, teacher, in order to monitor his/her development and progress.
  4. The supervising Social Worker should complete the LAC assessment and action record in conjunction with the parent, when this has been identified as appropriate at a statutory review.
  5. The supervising Social Worker should monitor the level of support needed by the carer and child/young person, making adjustments, and amending the placement agreement when necessary, in consultation with their senior.
  6. In the event that major changes in the care plan, or placement agreement are needed, including the possibility of discharging the Care Order, the supervising Social Worker should arrange a Looked After Review.

End