2.1.12 Social Work Visits and Reviews in Respect of Children Subject to a Child in Need Plan


Social Worker Rights and Responsibilities


In September 2017, in Section 3, Reviews a note was added that the review should be recorded and the child, family and professionals involved in the review should receive a copy of the review minutes within 5 days of the review so they are clear on actions and timescales.


  1. Introduction
  2. Visiting Frequency
  3. Reviews
  4. Step Up and Step Down
  5. Recording Home Visits and Reviews

1. Introduction

To ensure an effective response to Children in Need, it is important that assessments and plans are based on a regular pattern of social work visits in order to avoid drift. Social workers should know the children on their case-loads and the child or children should be seen alone.

When English is not the child’s first language a non family interpreter should be used to ensure that the child’s voice is heard.

2. Visiting Frequency

Children in Need must be seen at home at least every 6 weeks. Visits must be made in line with the child’s plan and may be required more regularly than this in circumstances of escalating concern, e.g. when child protection issues emerge or in challenge to care scenarios. In these circumstances a Management Decision Record will establish the required frequency of visiting.

If the child is not seen alone or parent/carers refuse to give their consent to their child being seen alone the social worker should discuss this with their Manager within 48hrs and a timeframe agreed for a further visit within 5 working days.

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.

3. Reviews

The CIN plan should be reviewed regularly with the family and the key professionals involved with the child/young person to ensure the multi agency response is effective in meeting needs and improving outcomes. The plan should be updated as required through the CIN review meetings which should take place at least every 12 weeks.

The review needs to clearly record who participated in the review, the views of the child or young person, the views of the parents/carer and the views of the partners involved in this review. The review should be recorded and the child, family and professionals involved in the review should receive a copy of the review minutes within 5 days of the review so they are clear on actions and timescales.

The review needs to clearly demonstrate that the services being provided are meeting the needs of the child and mitigating any risks which might be impeding the child achieving a reasonable standard of health or development.

In some circumstances it will be appropriate to review the child’s plan more frequently.

4. Step Up and Step Down

Where families’ needs are escalating or they are not responding to the support being offered, a more intensive response may be required. Similarly, as families become stronger and more resilient they will need less additional help. These situations may require increased or decreased levels of support that the family need; responding to this is referred to as the step up or the step down process.

It is important that both these circumstances are recognised and responded to appropriately in order that a child’s needs are properly supported and safeguarded where necessary.

Where a child’s needs are escalating from a Child in Need Plan the social worker should discuss the escalating risks with the Manager and agree a new plan up to and including Section 47 enquiry, child protection case conference and, if the child is at significant and immediate risk, legal action.

Where a child’s needs are de-escalating and the family is becoming more resilient and skilled at addressing their issues, then the social worker will convene a final CIN meeting which will also serve as the initial Early Help meeting. The social worker will invite the family and other professionals of this meeting. This meeting should identify a new early help lead professional and produce an Early Help plan to ensure the identified needs for support are met through an Early Help offer (level 3, multi-agency).

5. Recording Home Visits and Reviews

All recording should be completed within 5 working days of the event. 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.