2.1.11 Social Work Visits to Children Subject to a Child Protection Plan

RELATED CHAPTERS

Social Worker Rights and Responsibilities

West Midlands Safeguarding Children Procedures, Implementation of the Child Protection Plan - Lead Social Worker and Core Group Responsibilities Procedure

For social work visits to Looked after Children see Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children.

For social work visits to children subject to a Child in Need Plan see Social Work Visits and Reviews in Respect of Children Subject to a Child in Need Plan.

AMENDMENT

In September 2017, Section 2, Undertaking Home Visits details were added on unannounced visits which should take place at various times of the day as this affords the opportunity to observe all aspects of the child’s routine and enables the social worker to observe interactions between all members of the family in prepared and unprepared conditions. The names of all those present should be recorded.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Undertaking Home Visits
  3. Home Visits where the Child or Children are not Seen
  4. Visits to Children Subject to a Plan not in the Family Home
  5. Recording Home Visits


1. Introduction

The following procedures lay out the minimum standards expected in ensuring that children who are subject to a child protection plan are visited and their child protection plan actively delivered and reviewed.

The minimum requirement in Walsall is that children who are subject to a child protection plan will be visited in their family home at least every two weeks unless the Child Protection Plan requires more frequent monitoring.

During these visits the child should be seen and spoken to alone. The child’s living arrangements, including their bedroom, should be seen.

Social workers should also ensure that children subject to a child protection plan are seen away from the family home (see Section 4, Visits to Children Subject to a Plan not in the Family Home).

Managers are responsible for ensuring that all children subject to a child protection plan are seen at the frequency specified in the child’s plan as part of the continued assessment of risk and monitoring of the child’s well being.


2. Undertaking Home Visits

Social workers should always be clear with families about the purpose of their visit. Some visits should be unannounced and take place at various times of the day as this affords the opportunity to observe all aspects of the child’s routine and enables the social worker to observe interactions between all members of the family in prepared and unprepared conditions. The names of all those present should be recorded.

Social Workers must ensure that the child’s bedroom is seen at least once between each child protection conference. Where the concerns leading to registration are about neglect then the child’s bedroom should be seen on each visit as should the kitchen and food preparation area, the bathroom and toilet.

Children should be seen and spoken to alone. Parental agreement is required for this and social workers should explain to the parents why this is an important part of the child protection plan. When English is not the child’s first language active consideration must be given to using a non family interpreter to ensure that the child’s voice is heard.


3. Home Visits where the Child or Children are not Seen

If a home visit is undertaken and the child or children are not seen the social worker must discuss this with their Team Manager within 24 hours and a timeframe agreed for a further visit within 5 working days.

A home visit where the child is not seen should not be recorded on Mosaic as a statutory child protection visit as it does not meet the criteria for a statutory visit (see Guidance to Statutory Visits). The Manager should place a Management Decision Record on the child’s file recording the new timeframe for a visit and recording the risk analysis that has influenced the decision about the new timescale.

If the child is still not seen after the further visit has taken place the social worker should again discuss this with their practice manager. The social worker, the Manager or duty social worker should attempt to make contact with the family directly or through any other agency and ensure that a visit is undertaken within 24 hours of the last visit.

The social worker should contact the other members of the Core Group to establish if the child has been seen while attending school or their early year’s setting or by another member of the core group during their work with the family.

If the child has not been seen for 2 weeks by the social worker, the Team Manager must make contact with the family either by telephone or letter within 3 working days to set up a meeting with the parent within 3 working days of the telephone contact or letter being sent.

The social worker and Manager should meet with the parent and discuss the importance of social work visits to monitor any child with a Child Protection Plan. A written agreement should be drawn up regarding future home monitoring visits by social work staff (see Use of Written Agreements by Social Care Staff).

The social worker should inform the Core Group of the difficulties in obtaining direct access to the child or children and consideration should be given to reconvening the Core Group to discuss these difficulties and review the current child protection plan.

Where a child continues not to be seen, a Legal Planning Meeting should be requested and/or the case should be presented to PLO Panel to establish whether the parents should be alerted of the local authority's heightened concerns for the child's safety by the issuing of a Letter before Proceedings (in accordance with the Public Law Outline). For further information see also Legal Planning Meetings.

AT ANY STAGE IF THERE IS SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT THE CHILD MAY BE SUFFERING SIGNIFICANT HARM CONSIDERATION SHOUD BE GIVEN TO MAKING THE APPROPRIATE APPLICATION TO THE COURT TO SAFEGUARD THE CHILD. 


4. Visits to Children Subject to a Plan not in the Family Home

Visits to a child or children who are subject to a child protection plan can also take place outside of the family home. These are not statutory visits and do not take the place of statutory visits. However, they can provide a useful additional source of information and opportunity to undertake some direct work with a child who is subject to a plan in a setting or environment away from the family home where they feel comfortable.

Such visits should form a clear part of the child protection plan and take place up to once a month.


5. Recording Home Visits

Recording of visits to a child who is subject to a Child protection plan must be completed within 3 working days.

The record should clearly state:

  • Time and date of every home visit stating who was present, confirming the social worker spoke with the child alone or providing a clear reason why not;
  • Any information gained or observations made during the visit relevant to the identified risks to the child. If the view about the risks has worsened greatly this should be discussed with a manager as soon as possible;
  • Any challenges made to the parent/carers regarding the home circumstances, risks and issues;
  • Circumstances of all family members;
  • Specific information about key subjects such as sleeping arrangements;
  • Factual reports of the child's presentation and behaviour;
  • The child’s thoughts, wishes and feelings, including if they feel safe;
  • Agreed next steps with parent/carer and the child;
  • Any new incidents or injuries which must be subject to full Section 47 Enquiry.

If the visit to the child is not in the family home then the following should be recorded:

  • The time, date and venue of the visit;
  • The activity undertaken;
  • The child’s thoughts, wishes and feelings;
  • Agreed next steps with the child;
  • Any new concerns;
  • Any incidents or injuries which must be subject to a full Section 47 Enquiry.

End