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3.3.1 Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Redbridge Children’s Services are committed to improving outcomes and the resilience of children in care and believe that one of the tools to achieving this aim is by promoting a strong and positive relationship between the social worker and the child. To promote this relationship social workers will now be expected to see young people more frequently that the statutory requirement of six weekly visits which will now be reduced to four weekly.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in August 2015 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).


Procedure

Statutory visits to Looked After Children are a priority in their own right, and the visiting requirements will not be properly met if these visits are combined with other occasions when the child is seen, such as contact with family or transporting the child.

Frequency of visiting must be consistent with the duty to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare. The actual level of visiting that is expected in Redbridge will be at a minimum of once every four weeks instead of the statutory requirement of once every six weeks.

In addition wherever a child is placed in care, the child's social worker must visit the child in the placement at the following intervals, subject to the conditions below:

  • Within one week of the start of a new planned placement;
  • Prior to each review of the Care Plan;
  • Frequency of visits should be increased to reflect the child/young person's needs;
  • Within one working day if there is an unplanned placement change;
  • Once weekly if it is an emergency placement until the Care Plan and Placement Plan are both completed;
  • Where a child is in a designated long-term foster placement visits after the first year may take place at intervals of not more than six months. where the child, being of sufficient age and understanding, has agreed to be visited at this minimum frequency;
  • Visit frequency can only be changed and extended if a child is permanently placed with their carer via a panel decision or with approval of a senior manager; The frequency of visits should always be determined by the circumstances of the case and visits should be made whenever reasonably requested by the child or foster carer regardless of the status of the placement;
  • Visit frequency can only be changed and extended if a child is permanently placed with their carer via a panel decision or via approval from the Chief Children and Families Officer;
  • The child/young person must be seen alone at each stat visit (in accordance with their age and understanding). If the child/young person is not seen alone this must be recorded with the reasons;
  • For very young children who are not being seen alone observations of their interaction with the carer should be recorded;
  • Where the child/young person is not seen alone and the social worker has concerns this should be reported to the team manager;
  • Where the child continually refuses to see their social worker, consideration should be given as to how this function can otherwise be performed;
  • After each visit, and within 3 working days, the Social Worker must record the visit in the chronology and ensure the ‘Statutory Visit’ button on Protocol is used. This report must state whether the child was seen alone;
  • Should a social worker be on long term sick or leave a member of the team will be allocated to undertake visits on their case load by the manager.

The correct procedure should be followed on protocol to record statutory visit. Managers are expected to look at the monthly report from protocol to ensure it is correct for their team.

End