Amendments

April 2021

Caption: April 2021 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Placements in Secure Accommodation on Welfare Grounds

A new Section 10, Use of Inherent Jurisdiction to Authorise a Placement Involving a Deprivation of Liberty When One or More of the Relevant Criteria Under Section 25 Children Act 1989 are Not Satisfied has been added.

Section 6, Placements of Children under 13 years has been updated following publication of revised DfE guidance. A revised link has been added to Secure Children’s Homes.
Recruitment, Assessment and Approval of Foster Carers A revised link has been added to Prepare for a review panel: adopters and foster carers.
Annual Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers A revised link has been added to Prepare for a review panel: adopters and foster carers.
Notification of Significant Events This procedure has been updated to reflect the latest Ofsted guidance for social care providers on the types of incident which they consider to be serious and which will therefore require notification to the regulatory authority.
Next update: October 2021

November 2020

Caption: November 2020 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Assessment This chapter has been updated in line with the new digital referral system for reporting potential victims of Modern Slavery.
Children and Young People Missing from Home or Care - Guidance for Social Work Staff This chapter has been significantly updated and should be re-read. It outlines risks to consider and steps for social work staff to take when children/young people are absent or missing from their home or placement and should be read alongside the Protocol for Children and Young People Missing from Home and Care (Regional Child Protection Procedures).
Practice Standards for Child Protection Conference Chairs and Independent Reviewing Officers This chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read.
Looked After Reviews This chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read.
Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery This chapter has been updated to take account of the new NRM digital referral form to report Modern Slavery. Section 11, Further Information has been updated to include a link to Statutory Guidance Modern Slavery: How to Identify and Support Victims.
Payment for Skills and the Skills Level Criteria This chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read.
Local Contacts These details have been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Title Details
Use of Social Media Sites by Social Care and Safeguarding Staff This chapter has been added to the manual.


March 2020

Caption: March 2020 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline This chapter has been updated to reference and note the Family Justice Council: Interim Guidance on Special Guardianship, (Family Justice Council, May 2019) (See Section 1, Introduction).
Placements with Connected Persons This chapter has been amended. The following guidance has been added "The child's social worker must also consider the induction process required for the child in order to ensure that where possible this takes place at the child's pace." into Section 1, Introduction.
Secure Accommodation (Criteria Reviews) This chapter has been reviewed and updated. The requirement for clear separation of reviews (for clarifying whether the criteria for keeping a child in secure accommodation are met, and the child's looked after review) has been emphasised. Clarifying whether the criteria for keeping a child in secure accommodation are met must come before a LAC review so the decision can inform the LAC review and they must be chaired by different individuals.
Recruitment, Assessment and Approval of Foster Carers A link has been added to Attending an IRM Panel: information sheets. See Section 11, Representations / Independent Review Procedure.
Annual Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers A link has been added to Attending an IRM Panel: information sheets. See Section 5, Proposal to Terminate Foster Carer's Approval.
Special Guardianship This chapter has been updated to reference and reflect the Family Justice Council: Interim Guidance on Special Guardianship, (Family Justice Council, May 2019) (see new Section 6.2, Special Guardianship applications in care proceedings).
Notification of Significant Events This chapter has been updated and should be re read.
Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities An update has been made in Section 1, Principles to draw attention to OFSTED's advice that Local Authorities should exercise due diligence in ensuring schools for pupils with SEN are registered with the DFE. The same diligence should be exercised on behalf of pupils with SEN.
Social Work England Professional Standards This link replaces the previous chapter Code of Practice for Social Work Staff.
Local Contacts These details have been updated in.

September 2019

Caption: September 2019 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery This chapter has been updated when a new Section 6, Suitable Placements has been added. Details of the National Transfer Scheme Protocol for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Version 2.0 March 2018 have been added into Section 1, Introduction and Definitions.
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline This chapter has been amended to reflect changes from 'Practice Direction 27a - Family Proceedings: Court Bundles (Universal Practice to be Applied in the High Court and Family Court)', in relation to the required maximum length of certain court documents, (unless otherwise specifically directed by the court). In addition, a new subsection of Section 4.1, Local Authority Documentation - 'Final Care Plan' provides further detail on the importance of recording information on the Care Plan which will help the child, parent or the child's carer understand why decisions have been or are being made.
Decision to Look After a Child This chapter has been amended to reflect Section 3 of the Care Planning and Care Leavers (Amendment) Regulations 2014. The Care Plan must identify whether there is reason to believe the child has been trafficked or is an unaccompanied asylum seeker (see Section 3.1, The Care Plan - Contents).
Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children This chapter has been amended to include a link to the Leaving Care and Transition Procedure in relation to Personal Adviser visits to 'Relevant' or 'Former Relevant' young people.
Placement with Parents This chapter has been updated to note that this procedure does not apply to children subject to Interim Care Orders where the placement is required by the court under Section 38(6) Children Act 1989 for the purposes of assessment, (see Scope Box).
Transition and Leaving Care

This chapter has been updated. Amendments have been made in:

  • Section 5, Leaving Care Assessment of Need - in relation to children who are victims of trafficking or unaccompanied asylum seeking children;
  • Section 8, Contacts, Visits and Reviews of Pathway Plans - in relation to Relevant / Former Relevant young people moving to 'unregulated' accommodation; and
  • Section 9, Personal Advisers - in relation to frequency of visits by Personal Advisers.

Death of or Serious Injury in relation to a Child in Need (including a Looked After Child)

This chapter has been amended to reflect Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) and the process for reporting a serious incident to the Panel in the Regional Child Protection Procedures - Learning and Improvement Framework Procedure, via the Child Safeguarding Notification System.
Private Fostering This chapter has been fully reviewed and should therefore be read in full.
Designated Managers This chapter has been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Title Details
Exploitation Transition Protocol This pdf has been added to the manual.
Placing and Visiting Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities or Health Conditions in Long-Term Residential Settings This chapter has been added to the manual.
Removed Chapters
  • Private Fostering Guidance;
  • Adoption National Minimum Standards;
  • Adoption Services Statement of Purpose;
  • Assessment and Approval of Agency Adopters;
  • Adoption Panel;
  • Placement for Adoption;
  • Adoption Support Services;
  • Monitoring and Supervision of Adoptive Placements;
  • Review of Adoptive Placements;
  • Non Agency Adoptions;
  • Disruption of Adoptive Placements;
  • Adoption Case Records;
  • Access by Adoptive Persons to Birth Records and Adoption Case Records;
  • Assessment and Approval of Inter Country Adopters;
  • Allegations Against Prospective Adopters and in relation to Children Placed for Adoption or already Adopted;
  • Court Reports in Adoption/Special Guardianship;
  • Checklist for Sharing Parental Responsibility;
  • Adoption Medical Paperwork - Checklist.

March 2019

Caption: March 2019 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Children's Services Values and Principles

This chapter has been amended in to reflect HHJ Greensmith's comments regarding M and N (Children: Local authority gathering, preserving and disclosing evidence) [2018] EWFC 40 (1 June 2018).

It has also been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.
Assessment This chapter has been revised to reflect updated guidance on Assessment in Working Together to Safeguard Children.
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

This chapter has been amended to reflect HHJ Greensmith's comments regarding M and N (Children: Local authority gathering, preserving and disclosing evidence [2018] EWFC 40 (1 June 2018)). (See Section 9, Good Local Authority Practice During Proceedings).

In 2018 the local Court Circuit issued guidance in relation to Protocol for the Identification, Assessment and Approval of Connected Persons. This should be read and the guidance adhered to.
Decision to Look After a Child Additional information has been added in to Section 2, Obtaining Parental Consent to Look After a Child, in line with recent case-law. A link has also been added to Related Chapters.
Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children Section 2, Frequency has been revised. It is important that you reread this section to familiarise yourself with these requirements.
Case Records for Looked After Children Section 1, The Case Record has been updated in line with Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, which permits the transfer of a copy of the child's case record (or part of that record) to another adoption agency when the local authority considers this to be in the interests of the child.
Looked After Children and Young People in Contact with Youth Justice Services This chapter has been updated in relation to placing young people in custody, see Section 7.7, How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review.
Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation This chapter has been updated in relation to placing young people in custody, see Section 2.3, How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review.
Placements with Connected Persons This chapter has been amended. In 2018 the local Court Circuit issued guidance in relation to Protocol for the Identification, Assessment and Approval of Connected Persons. This should be read and the guidance adhered to.
Placements in Secure Accommodation on Welfare Grounds This chapter has been substantially changed and should be re-read throughout.
Ceasing to Look After a Child

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance.

These changes relate to the status of 'Previously Looked After Children'. A Previously Looked After Child is one who is no longer Looked After in England and Wales because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales.

Previously Looked After Children are entitled to support from their school through the Designated Teacher (see Section 2.5, Children Who Move into Permanency).
Looked After Reviews Section 10, The Role of the Looked After Review in Achieving Permanence for the Child has been amended to reflect the outcome of a High Court Judgement in respect of children who were subject to Section 20 and where there were concerns of significant delays in their planning for permanence. The court noted the IROs' recognition and action over a number of reviews but acknowledged that a more robust response had been needed. A link has also been added to Relevant Chapters/Guidance.
Family Contact Policy and Procedures This has been completely rewritten and should be re-read.
Adoption Support Services

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance which require schools, through the Designated Teacher for Looked After Children, to offer support to Previously Looked After Children.

A Previously Looked After Child is one who is no longer Looked After in England and Wales because subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales).
Review of Adoptive Placements Section 5.1, Conduct of Adoption Reviews (bullet point f) has been amended to reflect the status of adopted children as being 'Previously Looked After' when considering their educational needs. A link to DfE guidance on Promoting the education of looked-after and previously looked-after children has also been added.
Special Guardianship

This chapter has been updated in March 2019 in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance which require schools, through the designated teacher to provide support to Previously Looked After Children.

A Previously Looked After Child is one who is no longer Looked After in England and Wales because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales.

It has also been updated to reflect the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman good practice points to follow when working with Special Guardians. A link to the full report 'Firm foundations: complaints about council support and advice for special guardians (Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman) (May 2018)' has been added into the Relevant National Guidance section of this chapter.
Responsibilities of the Local Authority to Former Looked After Children and Young People in Custody This chapter has been updated in relation to placing young people in custody, see Section 3.8, How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review.
Walsall Homeless Policy for 16 and 17 Year Olds Details have been added on the Homelessness - Duty to Refer: the Homelessness Reduction Act (2017) places a duty on specified public authorities to refer service users who they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to local authority homelessness/housing options teams. The guidance provides helpful information and detail on the referral process.
Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance which require schools, through the designated teacher to provide support to Previously Looked After Children.

A Previously Looked After Child is one who is no longer Looked After in England and Wales because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Title Details
Section 20 Guidance This procedure outlines guidance in respect of the effective use of section 20, also referred to as voluntary accommodation.

September 2018

Caption: September 2018 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Electronic Recording of Meetings and Conversations This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.
Assessment Section 4, Communication has been updated to include reference to parents with learning disabilities.
Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery This chapter has been extensively updated and should be re-read throughout.
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline This chapter has been updated to provide some emphasis on parents who lack capacity and added links to the President of the Family Division, Family Proceedings: Parents with a Learning Disability note, and a relevant link to working with parents who have a learning disability (see Section 2, Pre-proceedings) and Practice Direction 3AA - Vulnerable Persons: Participation in Proceedings and Giving Evidence (see Case management in Section 4, Documentation).
Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children Section 3, Exceptions has been revised to set out more clearly the circumstances where visiting requirements differ from those set out in Section 2, Frequency.
Placement with Parents This chapter has been updated to reflect that the DBS has no eligibility for a standard or enhanced check for birth parents or other adults living in the household. However, the Local Authority has a requirement under the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England Regulations) 2010 to obtain information about unspent convictions and cautions before placing a child back with parents (see Section 1.2, Assessment and Checks before Placement).
Contact with Parents / Adults and Siblings Section 2, Different Types of Contact has been updated to take account of the use of mobile communication with regards to contact.
Health Care Assessments and Health Plans A new Section 3.5, Consent to Health Care Assessments has been added.
Adoption Panel This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.
Adoption Case Records This chapter has been updated in line with Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, which provides that an adoption agency may disclose an adoption case record to another adoption agency for purposes related to either agency's functions as an adoption agency.
Assessment and Approval of Inter Country Adopters Section 8, Home Study has been updated to include a link to GOV.UK Benefits.
Transition and Leaving Care This chapter has been updated to add clarification in relation to Qualifying Young People and to cover changes resulting from the The Children and Social Work Act 2017. See Definitions. The procedure needs to be re-read.
Death of or Serious Illness/Injury in Relation to a Child in Need (including a Looked After Child) This chapter has been amended. From 29 June 2018, local authorities in England must notify the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel within 5 working days of becoming aware of a serious incident.
Local Contacts These details have been updated.

March 2018

Caption: March 2018 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Young Carers This chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Section 4.3, Age Assessment has been updated with regards to in advance of undertaking an age assessment for an unaccompanied asylum seeking child, local authorities must seek Home Office assistance with verifying the authenticity of identity documents e.g. travel documents or a birth certificate. A link to the relevant contact details for local authorities has been added. The statutory guidance has been updated to link to the DfE 2017 Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery – statutory guidance for local authorities. In Section 2, Scope of Chapter the following has been added that  Social workers and IRO's should refer to the checklist  for Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery to ensure that in their assessments and planning they have considered all the relevant guidance.
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline Section 4.2, Case Analysis has been updated to reflect the 'permanence provisions' of the Care Plan added by Section 8 Children and Social Work Act 2017 (amending Section 31(3B) Children Act 1989) which a court is required to consider when deciding whether to make a Care Order.
Decision to Look After a Child This chapter has been amended to reflect the outcome of an Appeal Court hearing (2017) with respect to 'consent'. The court recognised that the term 'consent' itself was not used in Section 20. However, it described previous court observations as 'good practice guidance', emphasising its judgment should not alter the content or effect of these. (See Section 2, Obtaining Parental Consent to Look After a Child). In Section 3.1, The Care Plan – Contents has been amended to reflect the additional 'permanence provisions' of the Care Plan (Section 8 Children and Social Work Act 2017 amends Section 31(3B) Children Act 1989) which a court is required to consider when deciding whether to make a Care Order.
Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters Section 4.1, Duty to Consider Fostering for Adoption Placement has been updated to reflect the additional consideration (added by Section 9 Children and Social Work Act 2017 into the list of considerations whenever a court or adoption agency is coming to a decision relating to the adoption of a child), of the relationship which the child has with relatives, with any person who is a prospective adopter with whom the child is placed and with any other person in relation to whom the court or agency considers the relationship to be relevant.
Case Records for Looked After Children This chapter has been reviewed to note the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse requires all institutions to retain their records relating to the care of children for the duration of the Inquiry (see Section 2, Retention and Confidentiality of Records).
Placements in Secure Accommodation This chapter has been amended, Placements in Scotland: Schedule 1, Children and Social Work Act 2017 which came into force in May 2017, now enables local authorities to make placements in Secure Accommodation placements in Scotland. (See Section 4, Planned Placements).
Looked After Reviews This chapter has been amended to fully reflect the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review with respect to the circumstances as to when a Looked After Review should be brought forward. The list is not exhaustive. (See Section 2, Frequency of Looked After Reviews).
Recruitment, Assessment and Approval of Foster Carers Section 10, After the Panel Recommendation has been updated to clarify the decision as to the suitability of the applicant must be made within 7 working days of receipt of the panel's recommendation and final set of panel minutes – The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 4: Fostering Services and Standard 14 (14.9) Fostering panels and the fostering service's decision-maker.
Placement for Adoption This chapter has been amended to emphasise 'procedural fairness' as a key aspect of the adoption planning process in respect of ensuring parents are provided with information throughout, including the dates of placement/proposed changes of a child's Status, etc. This follows the outcome of a judicial review ([2017] EWHC 1041 (Admin)). (See new Section 6.2, Procedural Fairness).
Special Guardianship This chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read.
Change of Name of a Looked After Child This chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read.
Local Contacts This chapter has been updated.
Designated Managers This chapter has been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Title Details
Deprivations of Liberty This chapter has been added to the manual.
Mental Capacity A link to the Mental Capacity Act has been added to the manual.

September 2017

Caption: September 2017 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Assessment This chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read.
Guidance to Statutory Visits This chapter has been updated. A new section has been added for visits to Children subject to a Supervision Order.
Social Work Visits to Children Subject to a Child Protection Plan In Section 2, Undertaking Home Visits details have been 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.
Social Work Visits and Reviews in Respect of Children Subject to a Child in Need Plan In the Section 3, Reviews a note has been 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.
Decision to Look After a Child In Section 1, Decision to Look After Child a note has been added that agreement to commence a Reg 24 placement with family or friends must be agreed with the Group Manager and Assistant Director.
Placement with Parents Section 1.2, Assessment and Checks before Placement has been updated to include consideration should be given as to whether the home environment is safe for the child including where relevant, the need for a risk assessment of any pets and the environment in which they are kept.
Placements with Connected Persons A link has been added in Related Guidance to Initial Family and Friends Care Assessment: A good practice guide (FRG). A good practice guide on initial family and friends care assessments has been launched by Family Rights Group. Section 3, Assessment and Checks has been updated to include matters that should be considered when placing a child with a Connected Person should include an initial risk assessment of any pets, together with the environment in which the pet is kept.
Supervision and Support of Foster Carers Section 6, Support Provided by the Supervising Social Worker (During Placement) has been updated to reflect that the Safer Caring Plan, any changes in household circumstances along with any health and safety issues including the addition of any new pets and the environment in which they are kept should be reviewed as required.
Health Care Assessments and Health Plans A link has been added in related guidance to Children's Attachment: Attachment in Children and Young People who are Adopted from Care, in Care or at High Risk of Going into Care - NICE Guidelines (NG26). This guideline covers the identification, assessment and treatment of attachment difficulties in children and young people up to age 18 who are adopted from care, in special guardianship, looked after by local authorities in foster homes (including kinship foster care), residential settings and other accommodation, or on the edge of care. It aims to address the many emotional and psychological needs of children and young people in these situations, including those resulting from maltreatment.
Assessment and Approval of Agency Adopters Section 4.3, Assessment has been updated to include where the applicants have pets, a risk assessment should be conducted and any associated risks should be taken into account with regard to the pet itself and where the pet is kept. Where necessary, an independent assessment should be undertaken by a vet to establish whether the dog falls within the scope of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
Placement for Adoption This chapter has been updated. In related guidance a link has been added to Contact After Adoption - Support materials for practitioners working on making positive post-adoption contact plans and supporting birth relatives and adopters through contact planning for their child.
Assessment and Approval of Inter Country Adopters In Section 3, Initial Meetings the DfE have published Intercountry Adoption and Resident Status Requirements which set out the minimum requirements, however entry clearance requirements vary depending upon the circumstances of each case and prospective adopters will need to obtain their own independent legal advice to establish the requirements that apply to their individual circumstances. In Section 4, Formal Application, a link has been added to Intercountry adoption: means test form which contains information on how to apply for a fee reduction for people who wish to adopt a child from overseas and who earn £45,000 per year or less. In Section 12, After Approval information has been added on the Intercountry Adoption Forms: checklist for adoption which details the paperwork adoption agencies must include in the intercountry adoption applications they submit to DfE.
Special Guardianship The chapter has been updated. The DfE has updated the Special Guardianship Guidance to include details of the Adoption Support Fund as the Fund now covers therapeutic support for children, living in England, who were previously in care immediately before the making of a Special Guardianship Order.
Transition and Leaving Care This chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read.
Staying Put (Foster Care) Policy This chapter has been updated. Additional details have been added on Staying Put arrangements.
Death of or Serious Illness/Injury in Relation to a Child in Need (including a Looked After Child) Details have been changed as Ofsted now need to be notified using the Notification Form for Serious Childcare Incidents.
Transporting Children and Activities This chapter has been updated. Rules changed in February 2017 around booster seats and babies who now need to stay in rear facing seats until 15 months. (There has been a change to the technical standards of booster seats and cushions for manufacturers from 9 February but this does not affect existing models of booster seats and cushions). for more information see Using a child car seat or booster seat.
Long Stay Hospital Admissions This chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read.
Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a court judgement on Ordinary Residence that was included in DHSC, Care and support statutory guidance (December 2016). (See Section 12, Funding Issues - Ordinary Residence). A link has been added into Related Guidance to guidance on SEND: 19- to 25-year-olds' entitlement to EHC plans (DfE 2017).
Short Term Breaks Referrals and Placements A link has been added to Friendship For All (The Children's Society) - If a child or young person is disabled and/or in the care system, they are more likely to miss out on friendship causing them to be socially isolated. Professionals delivering foster care and short breaks services are invited to implement simple changes to practice and strengthen carer training to increase friendship in the lives of children. Friendship For All provides freely downloadable, nationally piloted and evaluated resources.
Independent Reviewing Officers This chapter has been updated in relation to the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer in line with the Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations - Volume 2: care planning, placement and case review, June 2015. In particular, the IRO being sensitive to the close and active involvement of parents of a child looked after in a series of Short Breaks  and problem-solving where there might be difficulties or issues.
Friends and Family Care A link has been added in Related Guidance to Initial Family and Friends Care Assessment: A good practice guide (FRG). A good practice guide on initial family and friends care assessments has been launched by Family Rights Group. The guide is a response to the lack of any minimum standards as to how such assessments, commonly called viability assessments, are conducted.
Local Contacts This chapter has been updated.
Designated Managers This chapter has been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Title Details
Walsall Homeless Policy for 16 and 17 Year Olds This chapter has been added to the manual.
Ofsted – Notifiable Incidents – (Children) Procedure This chapter has been added to the manual.
Junior Individual Saving Accounts for Looked-After Children This chapter has been added to the manual and replaces the previous chapter Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts for Looked After Children.
Removed Chapters
  • Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts for Looked After Children.

February 2017

Caption: February 2017 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Assessment A link has been added to information on the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit (ICACU).
Case Transfer Protocol Between the Initial Response Service, Safeguarding and Family Support Services and Looked After Children's Services Additional information has been added on Managers recording of decisions using the Management Decision Records in the child's file.
Placements in Secure Accommodation This chapter has been amended to acknowledge the President of the High Court's judgement regarding applications in English courts for Secure Accommodation placements in Scotland (see Section 4, Planned Placements).
Looked After Reviews This chapter has been amended to note The Law Society guidance 'Attendance of solicitors at local authority Children Act Meetings' and their Code of Conduct where the child or family who attend reviews are supported by a legal representative (see Independent Reviewing Officer's Responsibilities in Section 8, Supporters, Advocates and Interpreters).
Fostering Allowance Guidance The Foster Carer Allowance Leaflet has been updated.
Payment for Skills and the Skills Level Criteria The Foster Carer Allowance Leaflet has been updated. Section 10, Carers 'On Hold' has been added to this chapter.
Special Guardianship This chapter has been updated to clarify the level of parental responsibility extended to the Special Guardian. Further detail has been added with regard to who may apply for Special Guardianship. A link has also been added to the DfE Special Guardianship Guidance (2016).
HIV and AIDS The NCB / Emily Hamblin, Practice Guidance: supporting young people with HIV testing and prevention (2016) has been added to the chapter in the Relevant Guidance.
Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Links have been added to SEND Resources for Healthcare Professionals - DfE and DHSC Publications on SEND covering a broad range of conditions and illnesses and the NICE Pathway - Transition from children's to adults' services.
HIV/AIDS Guidance This chapter has been updated to add NCB / Emily Hamblin, Practice Guidance: supporting young people with HIV testing and prevention (2016) (See Relevant Guidance).
Designated Managers This has been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Title Details
Electronic Recording of Meetings and Conversations This chapter deals with recording of meetings/conversations by individual service-users, in their capacity as private individuals. Note that the employees of the local authority, acting in their professional capacity, are subject to different legislative requirements, e.g. under the Data Protection Act 1998. This is a developing area, and legal advice must be sought as necessary.
Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children For the purposes of this chapter, a young unaccompanied asylum seeker is a child who is applying for asylum in their own right and is separated from both parents and is not being cared for by an adult who in law or by custom has responsibility to do so. This chapter describes the particular issues arising in referrals involving young unaccompanied asylum seekers.
Payments Made Under Section 17 This chapter has been added to the manual.
Radicalisation and Extremism - Guidance for Social Work Staff This chapter is new and covers the process for Social Work Staff where there are concerns relating to radicalisation or violent extremism. Walsall is a tier two local authority therefore carrying an increased risk of both radicalisation and terrorist related crime. It needs to be read alongside should be read alongside the Walsall SCB procedure Supporting Children and Young People Vulnerable to Violent Extremism.
Children and Young People Missing from Home or Care - Guidance for Social Work Staff The chapter has been significantly updated and should be re-read. It outlines risks to consider and steps for social work staff to take when children/young people are absent or missing from their home or placement and should be read alongside the Walsall SCB Procedure Protocol for Children and Young People Missing from Home or Care.
Removed Chapters
  • Think Family - Intensive Family Support;
  • Closing and Transferring Cases;
  • Transfers from Vulnerable Children's Service and the Corporate Parenting Service.

August 2016

Caption: August 2016 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Management Decision Records Guidance This chapter has been updated.
Case Recording This chapter has been significantly amended and should be re-read in full.
Assessment This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a judgment following an application to remove a child at birth. The judge highlighted 'good practice steps' to undertaking assessments and issuing care proceedings in respect of the removal of a child at birth, including the assessment process (see Section 11.1, Pre-birth 'Good Practice Steps'). Practitioners are also reminded to be aware of any factors that may indicate that the child is or has been trafficked or a victim of compulsory labour, servitude and slavery.
Guidance to Statutory Visits This chapter has been updated.
Procedure for Managing Unallocated Cases within Walsall Vulnerable Children Safeguarding and Family Support Service Appendices 1 to 3 have been updated.
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a judgment following an application to remove a child at birth. The judge highlighted what were thought to be 'good practice steps' to issuing care proceedings in respect of the removal of a child at birth. (See Section 3.1, Pre-birth Planning and Proceedings).

Also Appendix 3: Local Authority Social Work Evidence Template (SWET) has been added to the manual.
Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters In Section 4.2, Considering Adoption for a Child, a paragraph has been added that if, at any point during the planning of a Fostering for Adoption placement or if the child is already in such a placement, there is any change to the circumstances of prospective carers, including relatives, a planning meeting with the Fostering for Adoption carers and all professionals involved should take place to consider the new information at the earliest opportunity, so that the carers can make an informed choice about their position. Similarly, this also allows the local authority to consider their position in light of the change in circumstances.
Policy on Smoking for Foster Carers, Adopters, Children and Young People in Care A link has been added to Rules about tobacco, e-cigarettes and smoking: 1 October 2015.
Looked After Children and Young People in Contact with Youth Justice Services This chapter has been completely re-written and should be re-read.
Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation This chapter has been completely re-written and should be re-read.
Placements with Connected Persons

This chapter has been reviewed and updated. These provisions are to be used only in exceptional circumstances and where there are clearly defined reasons why a full foster carer assessment cannot be undertaken before a placement is made. There are further amendments throughout the chapter and it is recommended that the chapter be read in its entirety.

Children may also be placed with Connected Persons having acquired Looked After status following a Remand to Local Authority Accommodation – see Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation Procedure.
Education for Looked After Children A link has been added to Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools Guidance (DfE) - this non-statutory advice clarifies the responsibility of the school, outlines what they can do and how to support a child or young person whose behaviour - whether it is disruptive, withdrawn, anxious, depressed or otherwise - may be related to an unmet mental health need.
Contact with Parents / Adults and Siblings This chapter has been reviewed and updated. It has been substantially amended and should be read in its entirety.
Fostering Panel Details have been added as to the process to follow when a decision is made that a persons is not suitable to be a foster carer.
Annual Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers Details have been added in Section 2, Review Meeting and Skills Level Review Board. The Review Meeting considering foster carer reviews and The Skills Level Review Board considering Skill Level applications.
Payment for Skills and the Skills Level Criteria This chapter has been significantly amended and should be re-read in full. The Payment for Skills and the Skills level criteria are now both covered in this procedure.
Health Care Assessments and Health Plans Further details have been added on completing the SDQ and a link has been added to Management of SDQ – A Multi-Agency Process Flowchart.
Court Reports in Adoption/Special Guardianship Section 3, Special Guardianship Applications has been revised and updated in to reflect the enhanced assessment and reporting requirements (for all applications made from 29 February 2016 as set out in the Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations 2016.
Special Guardianship Section 5, Planning Meeting, has been revised and updated to reflect the enhanced assessment and reporting requirements (for all applications made from 29 February 2016) as set out in the Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations 2016.
Responsibilities of the Local Authority to Former Looked After Children and Young People in Custody Section 2, 'Relevant' Young People in Custody has been updated to clarify when a child becomes a relevant child. Section 3.5, Visits has been updated. Where the child is serving their sentence in a SCH or STC, a visit should also take place if there has been a notification by the Ofsted Chief Inspector of the underperformance of a placement or, where the child is placed in a YOI, concerns about the welfare or safety of children are raised by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons.
Drugs and Substance Misuse A link to Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 has been added.
Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities A link has been added Children and Young People's Continuing Care National Framework (DHSC 2016). The guidance sets out the process for assessing, deciding and agreeing continuing care for children with complex health needs. The Care and Support Statutory Guidance (GOV.UK) (2016) has been updated. A link has also been added to 0-25 SEND code of practice: a guide for health professionals. Advice for clinical commissioning groups, health professionals and local authorities.
Disrupted Placements This chapter has been re-written and should be read in full.
Adoption Panel Papers Information has been added on the Adoption and Permanency Panel Procedure and Paperwork required for Permanent Matches.
Local Contacts These details have been updated.
Designated Managers These details have been updated.
Removed Chapters
  • Skill Level Criteria.

February 2016

Caption: February 2016 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Section 47 Enquiries This chapter has been updated. Section 1, Initiating Section 47 Enquiries and Section 2, Purpose of Section 47 Enquiries should be re-read.
Case Transfer Protocol Between the Initial Response Service, Vulnerable Children's Services and Looked After Children's Services This chapter has been replaced entirely and should be re-read.  
Decision to Look After a Child Additional guidance has been added into Section 2 on Obtaining Parental Consent  to Look After a Child to reflect a number of recent court judgements on the use of Section 20 and the importance of how parental consent is obtained.
Permanence Policy and Procedure This chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read.
Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children This chapter has been updated to reflect the revised visiting requirements in respect of long term foster placements as set out in The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015).
Placements in Looked After Services (Children's Homes, Foster Care and Commissioned Placements) This chapter has been updated throughout in and should be re-read.  
Looked After Reviews This chapter has been updated to include the requirements of The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015).
Residential Education Policy This chapter has been reviewed and links have been updated in this edition of the manual.
Recruitment, Assessment and Approval of Foster Carers This chapter has been updated. Details in Section 1 to 3 have been updated.
Exemptions to the Usual Fostering Limit Updated details on changes to extensions/terms of approval for Foster Carers.
Changes to terms of Approval This chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read. Section 2, Immediate amendments to foster carer's terms of approval and Section 3, Changes to Foster Carers Terms of Approval Through the Review Process have been added.
Supervision and Support of Foster Carers A link has been added to the Transfer Of Foster Carers Protocol.
Health Care Assessments and Health Plans This chapter has been updated in line with revised Statutory Guidance on Promoting the Health and Well-being of Looked After Children
Assessment and Approval of Agency Adopters This chapter has been extensively updated. Section 1, Recruitment and Responding to Initial Enquiries and Section 2, Registration of Interest in Adoption have been updated and need to be reread.
Adoption Panel This chapter has been updated. The list of members of an Adoption Panel must be maintained by an appointed senior social worker with at least 5 years' relevant post-qualification experience and relevant management experience.
Placement for Adoption This chapter has been updated. A summary, written by the agency's medical adviser, of the state of the child's health, health history and any need for health care which might arise in the future;  and a Chronology of the decisions and actions taken by the agency with respect to the child should be part of the Child's Permanence Report.
Adoption Support Services This chapter has been amended in Section 9.8, Remuneration for Former Foster Carers - adopters who have previously been foster carers may be paid remuneration for a transitional period. This must be agreed before the adoption order is made. The Adoption Passport has been updated above.
Special Guardianship This chapter has been updated. The changes have been made in respect of financial support.
Transition and Leaving Care This chapter has been updated throughout. A new Section 3, Risk Assessment has been added to the chapter.
Physical Intervention This chapter has been updated on what should be recorded as restraint and to consider aspects of  what might constitute a Deprivation of Liberty.
Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities This chapter has been updated in line with the Care Act 2014 which introduced changes to adult care and support. This also includes transitions for young disabled people into adulthood, and support to carers including young carers.
Local Contacts This chapter has been updated and should be re-read.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Title Details
Young Carers This chapter is new. The Local Authority is expected to take 'reasonable steps' to identify which children in their area are young carers, and if they have the need for support. The Local Authority must carry out an assessment if it appears that the young carer has the need for support.
Ceasing to Look After a Child This chapter is new and reflects the statutory guidance 'Ceasing to look after a child' in 'Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations (2015)' as amended by the 'Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2015' together with Working Together to Safeguard Children.
Unplanned Admissions This chapter applies to the consideration of unplanned admissions to Walsall's Children's Homes both within in and outside of office hours.
Regulation 45 - Review of Quality of Care A guide to the completion and submission of Regulation 45, Review of Quality of Care to Ofsted. Includes a template and a guide to the regulations.
Notifiable Events – Regulation 40  Walsall residential services local guidance A guide to the completion and submission of regulation 40 notifications to Ofsted. Includes a flowchart and guide to the regulation.
Residential Anti Bullying Guidance Children's Residential Anti- Bullying Guidance. To be read in conjunction with Walsall Council Countering Bullying Policy in this manual.
Pocket Money and Savings for Looked After Children This chapter is new to the manual and sets out the policy on Pocket Money and Savings for Looked After Children.

August 2015

Caption: August 2015 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Social Worker Rights and Responsibilities This chapter has been amended throughout and should be re-read in full.
Case Recording This chapter has been significantly amended and should be re-read in full.
Principles of Good Practice for Safeguarding Children with Disabilities This chapter has been significantly amended throughout and should be re-read in full.
Looked After Children and Young People in Contact with Youth Justice Services The link in Related Guidance has been updated. Additionally, Section 2, Looked After Children Who Have Been Arrested has been amended from Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) which is now called The National Police Chiefs' Council.
Out of Area Placements This chapter has been updated in relation to Placements at a Distance, in line with the Children's Homes regulations 2015 and statutory guidance.
Placements in Secure Accommodation A link to Secure Children's Homes: how to place a child aged under 13 has been added to Section 1.2, Children Under 13.
Looked After Reviews This chapter has been updated in line with The Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2015.
Contact with Parents and Siblings A link has been updated in Related Guidance.
Payment for Skills This chapter has been significantly amended throughout and should be re-read in full.
Procedure for Accepting the Resignation of Foster Carers A link has been added to The Fostering Network.
Transition and Leaving Care The link to The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers has been updated to reflect the January 2015 revisions. Due to this update, this chapter is now under review.
Responsibilities of the Local Authority to Former Looked After Children and Young People in Custody The address to the Youth Justice Board has been updated in Section 3.6, Young people serving long sentences.
Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children Section 1, Introduction has been amended.
Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts for Looked After Children This chapter has been amended to reflect the annual limit increase on contributions to Child Trust Funds/Junior ISA's to £4,080.00. Additionally, the chapter has been updated to clarify that from April 2015, money held in Child Trust Funds will be able to be transferred into Junior ISA's.
Independent Reviewing Officers Section 1, Introduction has been amended.
IRO Dispute Resolution Process and Route for Referring Cases to CAFCASS Section 4, The Dispute Resolution Process has been amended.
Permanence Overarching Strategy This chapter has been amended to take account of The Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2015.
Disclosure and Barring Service Admin Process A link to the DBS Privacy Policy has been added to Related Guidance.
Local Contacts This chapter has been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Title Details
Practice Standards for Child Protection Conference Chairs and Independent Reviewing Officers This chapter provides guidance on practice standards for Independent Reviewing Officers and Child Protection Conference Chairs.
Co-Working Protocol This new chapter clarifies co-working.
Guidance to Statutory Visits This new chapter clarifies statutory visits.
Social Work Visits to Children Subject to a Child Protection Plan This procedure lays 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.
Social Work Visits and Reviews in Respect of Children Subject to a Child in Need Plan This new chapter clarifies social work visits and reviews.
Risk Assessment Process for Young People Aged 16 Plus The purpose of this document is to outline the process regarding the assessment and management of risk for Looked After young people aged 16 plus and those who are over 18 and have left the care of the local authority but are still in receipt of services and support by the Transition and Leaving Care Team.
Removed Chapters
  • Interface Procedure between Walsall's Vulnerable Children Service and Spurgeon's Family Support Service.

December 2014

Caption: December 2014 Amendments
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Title Details
Decision to Look After a Child This chapter has been updated in line with Looked-after Children: Contact with Siblings - Update to Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review. Details of considerations of the placement of siblings have been added
Looked After Children and Young People in Contact with Youth Justice Services This chapter takes account of the new youth remand framework under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Supplement).
Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation This chapter takes account of the new youth remand framework under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Supplement).
Out of Area Placements This chapter has been updated in line with Out of authority placement of looked-after children - Supplement to The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review.
Education for Looked After Children This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Families Act 2014.
Contact with Parents and Siblings This chapter has been updated in line with the above statutory guidance. Additional information has been added in to Section 1, Approving and Planning Contact.
Assessment and Approval of Agency Adopters This chapter has been extensively updated in line with the Adoption Agencies (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013. A new two-stage assessment process has been introduced, with amended timescales, and a fast-track process for previous adopters / foster carers. The chapter should be re-read throughout.
Special Guardianship This chapter has been updated. The changes have been made in respect of financial support.
Transition and Leaving Care This chapter has been updated in line with Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers (revised May 2014). New sections on Education, Training and Employment and Access to Records have been added.
Family Group Conference Service This chapter has been updated and should be re-read.
Designated Managers This section has been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Title Details
Management Decision Records Guidance This guidance should be read in conjunction with the Guidance on Supervision.
Case Recording This chapter provides guidance on maintaining case records.
Section 47 Enquiries This chapter is new and is part of the Single Assessment Process.
Assessment This chapter is new and is part of the Single Assessment Process.
Use of Written Agreements by Social Care Staff This chapter contains a model written agreement which is shown as a completed document using fictitious names.
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline This chapter is new and should be read throughout.
Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters This procedure deals with placement of a child with carers who are dually approved, i.e. approved both as prospective adopters and as local authority foster carers.
Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities This procedure sets out the specific provision under the Children and Families Act 2014 in relation to children and young people aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs or disabilities. For the purposes of the Act, 'young person' is someone aged 16-25.