3.5.5 Day Trips and Holidays within and outside the UK

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to day trips and holidays within and outside the UK for all Looked After Children including the approval and obtaining of Passports. The School Trips Procedure applies to school trips within the UK. Also see Transporting Children and Activities Procedure, which contains procedures on the planning of Activities and transporting children


Contents

  1. Holidays for Children Accommodated Under S.20 of the Children Act 1989
  2. Holidays for Children on Care Orders Under S.31
  3. Holidays for Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers
  4. Holidays for Children on Child Arrangements Orders
  5. Holidays Where the Circumstances are Unusual
  6. When the Court's Permission is Required
  7. Insurance
  8. Obtaining a Passport
  9. Arrangements for Taking Children and Young People on Day trips and Organised Holidays


1. Holidays for Children Accommodated Under S.20 of the Children Act 1989

For children on Care Orders, see Section 2, Holidays for Children on Care Orders under S.31.

Arrangements for notifying and consulting the social worker about holiday plans should be agreed in the Placement Plan.

The consent of the parent(s) or person with parental responsibility must be obtained, preferably in writing; the following should be included:

  • Address where holiday is taken;
  • Responsible adult(s) accompanying the child including adult/child ratio if group holiday;
  • If the child is going with a family or person who is not known to Children's Services, whether they have been checked as holiday foster parents;
  • Dates of holiday;
  • Views of the child;
  • If any cost to the authority, including insurance;
  • Any additional information.

Procedures in Activities and Transporting Children should be taking into account when planning trips/holidays.

Children must not be taken on holiday during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances that would be approved by the Head of School and the child's social worker.


2. Holidays for Children on Care Orders Under S.31

For children Accommodated under Section 20 Children Act 1989, see Section 1, Holidays for Children Accommodated Under S.20 of the Children Act 1989.

The procedure is the same as for those Accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 (see Section 1, Holidays for Children Accommodated Under S.20 of the Children Act 1989) except that the consent of parents or person having parental responsibility is not required but should be obtained wherever practicable or possible. Any objections by the parent(s) should be recorded on the file.

The social worker should ensure that arrangements are in place through the Placement Plan to be notified well in advance of any plans for holidays abroad in order to obtain consent from parents or a Person with Parental Responsibility.

If the holiday is likely to be for more than one month, the Courts authority must be sought. See Section 6, When the Courts Permission is Required.


3. Holidays for Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers

The procedure is the same as for those Accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 (see Section 1, Holidays for children Accommodated under S.20 above) except that:


4. Holidays for Children on Child Arrangements Orders

For children on Child Arrangements Orders, the procedure is the same as for those Accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 (see Section 1, Holidays for children Accommodated under S.20 above) except that the written consent of every person with Parental Responsibility for the child is required, or else the leave of the court before the child can be taken out of the country. The person in whose favour the Child Arrangements Order is made may take the child out of the country for a period of less than one month without the above consent or leave of the court.


5. Holidays Where the Circumstances are Unusual

If it is proposed to arrange a holiday to a destination where the child may be at risk, for example, where there is political unrest, concern that the child may not return as planned or other circumstances which may make it unsafe for the child, it may be necessary to seek the approval of members.

In these circumstances, the social worker should seek approval from the Designated Manager (School or Educational Trips/Holidays Abroad). When seeking approval, the social worker should address the following matters:

  1. The name of the person(s) with whom the child is going on holiday and their relationship to the child;
  2. Holiday address;
  3. Dates of the holiday;
  4. The views of the child;
  5. The views of the parent(s) and their consent to the proposed holiday. Where the parental consent is not obtained, details should be recorded;
  6. If a report from International Children's Services (ISS) has been obtained, a summary should be included. It this has been requested and not yet received, the committee may agree to the holiday taking place, subject to a satisfactory report from ISS;
  7. Cost to the council, if any. The necessary approval of expenditure should be attached;
  8. If applicable, a recent update from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the proposed country of visit (available on-line).


6. When the Court's Permission is Required

If the child is the subject of a Care Order and the holiday abroad is for more than one month, an application must also be made to the appropriate Court for the Court's permission to allow the child to go abroad if the parent's written agreement is not obtained.

Where a Court Order is required, the social worker should contact Legal Services as soon as possible for the necessary application to be made and advise the parents of the intended application. This should be incorporated into the care planning and reviewing process.


7. Insurance

7.1 Medical Treatment During Visits to EEC countries

Children travelling within EU/EEA countries and Switzerland will be covered for medical treatment through an E111, which will be replaced by a European Health Insurance Card by 2006. An application form can be downloaded from the Department of Health website or be collected from the post office. DH also provides health advice for travellers. For children under 16 years old, the form needs to be completed by the parent(s) or foster carer(s) and be submitted as a family application. Young people over 16 can apply for an E111 in their own name.

7.2 Private Medical Insurance Cover or Insurance Cover for Holidays

In situations were medical cover is required at short notice, it is suggested that private insurance cover is taken out.

The insurance referred to in Section 7.1 above only covers a child for medical treatment and not for loss of luggage, cover for cancellation of the holiday etc. Therefore a private insurance policy is needed for a child travelling abroad.


8. Obtaining a Passport

Amended: June 2009

In the past babies and children could be included on a parent or guardian’s passport. The law has now changed and babies and children up to 16 who are not already on a parent’s or guardian's passport must have their own child passport if they are going to travel abroad.

There are additional arrangements that must be made in relation to Looked After Children (Children in Care).

Before applying for a passport, it will be necessary to consult the parent(s) and seek the approval of the Designated Manager (Passports), in writing.

The written request for such approval should include the reason for the request, the wishes of the child; the views of the parent; the views of the staff/carer where applicable; and the child’s up to date Care Plan, Placement Information Record and, where applicable, Pathway Plan.

Where the Designated Manager (Passports) gives authority for a passport to be obtained for a child, this must be confirmed in writing. The social worker must inform the parent of the decision.

Also see;


9. Arrangements for Taking Children and Young People on Day trips and Organised Holidays

Procedures in Activities and Transporting Children should be taking into account when planning trips/holidays, but the following should be considered:

  • Communicating with parents/carers; ensuring that consent has been provided, contact details during the trip etc;
  • Preparing children for the day trip/holida;y
  • Planning transport;
  • Risk assessment and contingency planning (a set of checklists are provided);
  • Insurance;
  • Supervision of activities (swimming, climbing, walking etc);
  • Planning visits abroad;
  • Emergency procedure.s

It is essential that there is back up office support in place and a senior officer or manager is contactable out of office hours. Two sets of folders with essential information need to be available at all times; one that is kept by the group leader during the trip and one left behind in the office, containing the following:

  • Group leaders contact details;
  • Consent forms that contains information about the child's health needs, parent/carer contact details etc;
  • Insurance details;
  • Transport plans, including contact to coach company, tour operator etc;
  • Itinerary/programme of visit and contact details at places of accommodation;
  • Emergency procedures.

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