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4.5.6 Termination of Placement with Parents

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AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in March 2015 when information on the requirement to give 14 days notice to parents before a removing a child from a placement, save in an emergency was added. See Key Point 4 below.


Contents

  1. Key Points
  2. Procedure for Terminating Placement with Parents


1. Key Points

  1. A placement may need to end for a variety of reasons. The regulations place a duty on the local authority to remove a child if the placement would be contrary to the child’s interests, and this is acknowledged within the placement agreement made with the parent(s). There are other circumstances when a placement under the regulations is not appropriate because it is in the best interests of the child/young person for the Care Order to be discharged so that the parents are able to resume sole Parental Responsibility. In these cases the procedure “Revocation and Variation of Care Order Procedure” should also be consulted.
  2. It is essential that the supervising Social Worker recognises when a placement is no longer in the best interests of the child. Evidence of failure to thrive, a suspicion of abuse, a lack of cooperation by the carer or an inability to cope should have been seen and recorded as indications that the placement should be reviewed in light of the child’s needs. The Social Worker should also be alert to less obvious or overt problems. The child/young person may not make a direct request for removal, but may make an increasing number of seemingly unrelated complaints or behave in an unexpected or uncharacteristic fashion.
  3. It will be possible in most cases to plan for removal and so minimise stress to the child and counteract a sense of failure in the parent or child.
  4. In 2014, the High Court  (in Re DE (A Child) [2014]), stated that not less than fourteen days notice of a removal of the child should be given to the parents, save in an emergency. The Court further stated that any removal of a child in circumstances where the child's welfare does not require immediate removal, or without proper consideration and consultation, is likely to be an unlawful interference with the rights of the parent and child under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In some circumstances, however, may be necessary to take immediate action to protect the child. In these cases the Child Protection Procedures should always be followed. In some circumstances, however, it may be necessary to take immediate action to protect the child. In these cases the Child Protection Procedures should always be followed.
  5. The regulations require that all those involved with the child who need to know of the termination or proposed termination of a placement are informed in writing as soon as is practicable. This will include the parent(s) with whom the child/young person is placed and any parent who is not a carer, as well as those people informed of the original placement.


2. Procedure for Terminating Placement with Parents

  1. The supervising Social Worker must consult with the Team Manager as soon as they become aware of circumstances, which indicate that the placement is no longer in the interests of the child or young person.
  2. The Team Manager/Area Manager must decide whether:
    • Immediate action needs to be taken to remove the child/young person
    • Any action should be taken under the Child Protection Procedures
    • The planned removal of the child/young person is appropriate
  3. When it is considered that it will be appropriate to remove the child in a planned way, prior to any final decision being made, consultation should take place with:
    • The child,
    • His/her parents
    • Any other person with Parental Responsibility
    • Key individuals, including professionals involved with the child e.g. health visitor, school teacher
    • Legal services, if care proceedings are ongoing
  4. Following a decision to remove the child /young person, notification of the decision must be sent to:
    • The child having regard to his/her age and understanding
    • The person with whom the child is placed
    • The parent(s), whether or not they are caring for the child
    • Any other person with Parental Responsibility
    • Any other person who has been consulted in the process of deciding to terminate the placement
    • Any other individual or agency who was notified of the child/young person’s placement
  5. Following the termination of the placement, notification of the removal of the child/ young person must be sent to all the individuals and agencies who were notified in step 4, apart from the child/young person and person with whom s/he was placed.

End