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8.28 Safeguarding Looked After Children

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This policy was last reviewed in June 2021

Date of next review June 2022

Contents

Section 47 Enquiry

8.28.1

If there is reasonable cause to suspect a Looked After child is suffering, has suffered or is likely to suffer Significant Harm, Children's Social Care should convene a Strategy Discussion. -- 4.6 Strategy Discussions | Sussex Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures Manual. When a child is looked after by the local authority and when concerns remain about the safety of that child, to assume that the child is safe, or to assume that other existing processes will effectively take the place of established child protection multi-agency working, poses a risk. 

Reviews, Care Planning and Conferences

8.28.2

In most cases where a child has a Child Protection Plan and becomes Looked After, it will no longer be necessary to maintain the Child Protection Plan - see Discontinuing the Child Protection Plan.

8.28.3

There are however relatively few situations where safeguarding issues will remain and a Looked After child will also have a Child Protection Plan. These situations are likely to be where a local authority obtains an Interim Care Order but the child with a Child Protection Plan remains at home, pending the outcome of the final hearing; or where the child's behaviour is likely to result in Significant Harm to themselves or others.

8.28.4

Where a Looked After child remains on a Child Protection Plan, consideration should be given to how best to ensure that the child protection aspects of the child's Care Plan are reviewed.

8.28.5

Looked After Reviews and Child Protection Conferences may be held as combined meetings in order to ensure a coherent plan. The plans made at Looked After Reviews must be consistent with the Child Protection Plan. This will ideally be achieved by the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) who chairs the Looked After Review process also chairing the Review Conference. Where this is not possible the IRO should be involved in the Review Conference and the timing of both processes should coincide to ensure that the most up-to-date information informs overall care planning.

8.28.6

Where a Looked After Review or other local authority planning meeting proposes the return of a child on a Child Protection Plan to their parents or carers - or any other change which might significantly affect the level of risk - the decision (unless this formed part of the original protection plan) must not be implemented until reviewed and endorsed by the child’s IRO as part of a combined Looked After Review and Review Conference.

8.28.7

Where there is disagreement within the subsequent Child Protection Conference concerning a Looked After Child, the child’s IRO must be informed immediately and a decision made on whether or not to proceed with the plan made at the child in care review. The social worker should also bring the matter to the attention of their operational service manager. Professionals should always attempt to resolve differences at the lowest possible level. Where necessary, the child’s IRO will consider activating the dispute resolution process (IRO Handbook).

8.28.8

Where a child on a Child Protection Plan is removed from accommodation by parents or where a child in care is returned to parents or carers in court proceedings, against the recommendation of the local authority, a Review Child Protection Conference must be convened to consider the risks to the child and the implications for the Child Protection Plan.

8.28.9

The child’s IRO should be notified immediately of any significant events or proposed change impacting on the agreed care plan. The IRO must be consulted before any decision is reached to change the child’s care plan.  In the IRO’s absence, the IRO manager must be consulted.

Discontinuing Child Protection Plans

8.28.10

When a Looked After child is no longer living in the situation which gave rise to the child protection concerns that resulted in the Child Protection Plan, and there is no current plan for them to be returned, the Child Protection Plan should be discontinued by the decision of the Review Conference. This would automatically apply if the child is on a full Care Order.

8.28.11

Should the Care Plan for a Looked After Child subsequently include returning the child to the situation that previously resulted in the Child Protection Plan, a Looked After Review chaired by the child’s IRO should be convened. Consideration should be given to the child’s safeguarding needs and type of plan required. Active consideration should be given to a Family Group Conference.

 

Criminalisation of looked-after children

There is a National protocol on reducing criminalisation of looked-after children available.


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This page is correct as printed on Thursday 23rd of September 2021 12:27:59 AM please refer back to this website (http://sussexchildprotection.procedures.org.uk) for updates.
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