Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual

5.9.9 Contact with Ex-Care Leavers

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

The scope of this policy is to outline the key expectations and practice for contact between Nottingham City social care staff and ex-care leavers. This includes all, front line social care staff or support, i.e. social workers, personal advisers, administrative, managers, etc.

The purpose of this policy is to give all staff guidance on how the City Council expect them to behave when coming into contact with ex-care leavers. This policy is designed for the protection of staff and if followed then staff should not find themselves in a situation where their conduct is brought into question. This policy should be read in conjunction with the Nottingham City Council Code of Conduct for Employees & Data Protection Act and guidance.

The guidance refers to ex-care leavers. They are defined as young people who were open to Nottingham City Children’s service social work teams. This refers to young people who are now closed to the department, i.e. post 21 (24) years of age or closed due to successfully returning home.

Contact with ex-care leavers includes face to face, written, electronic, telephone or indirect connection such as information received from a third party, such as a member of the public or another agency. The contact maybe planned, extended and agreed work or a chance meeting in a public place such as a shop or a park.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was amended in August 2015.


Contents

  1. Planned, Agreed Contact for those over 21 to 24
  2. Unplanned Contact - While at Work
  3. Unplanned Contact - with Concerns about the Welfare of the Young Person


1. Planned, Agreed Contact for those over 21 to 24

Contact may take place between social care staff and ex-care leaver as part of the Pathway Plan which has been agreed by the Service Manager/HoS. The details must be explicit in terms of who will have contact, reasons for contact and the circumstances in which the contact will cease, e.g. cease when placement ends, cease after 3 months, and cease after instruction from senior management. This practice will be the exception and it is envisaged that contact will cease at the normal time for a care leaver, which is 21 years old unless engaged in education and training where the contact can continue until the end of such a programme, up to 24 years old. In these circumstances the young person will still be open to the team and therefore all normal procedures will apply in terms of logging and recording of contact including supervisory oversight and discussion with a line manger. Staff members who are having sporadic contact with ex service users in terms of birthday cards, telephone contact.face-book, text-messaging in terms of support for a young person MUST always declare this to their line manager who needs to record this within supervision. This includes if a service user makes contact with them.


2. Unplanned Contact - While at Work

A worker may come into contact with an ex-care leaver as part of their normal day-to-day work. This could be where an ex-care leaver continues to return to the team for support when the case has been closed. In this circumstance the young person should be given details of the appropriate agency or department that would address his/her particular need, i.e. money to benefits office, accommodation to housing aid, EET to connexions, etc.

It could also be when an ex-care leaver accompanies an existing care leaver as a friend, support or relative. In this situation then the ex-care leaver is to be treated as an individual with no care leaver status, i.e. recordings and decisions will detail the individual without reference to their ex-care leaver status unless it is relevant to the circumstances. If they are there as a support or friend then they shall be recorded on the file of the open case and noted/identified as that, i.e. friend, brother, colleague.


3. Unplanned Contact - with Concerns about the Welfare of the Young Person

If a member of staff comes into contact with an ex-care leaver outside work in the normal public arena then general conversations of ‘hello, how are you, etc’ do not need to be reported or recorded with work. However if at that time of contact there are concerns that are serious and urgent then it may be necessary for a member of staff to call the emergency services as would be expected for any individual in such a situation. In this emergency situation where an ex-care leaver is involved then it is possible that the member of staff will have prior detailed knowledge about this young person/adult. It would not be expected that the worker would divulge any such details or prior knowledge to any of the emergency services; this could be a breach of the Data Protection Act, Human rights and the Nottingham City Council code of conduct. If a member of staff believes that the withholding of such information could put at risk the ex-care leaver or another person then they should seek advice from a departmental manager before disclosing any details. After such an incident then the details of such contact should then be recorded with a manager within the department, in the normal way such as in 1-1, supervision. After discussion with their line manager a decision can be made if any further action is required, such as recording on file, informing other agencies, follow up work. 

End