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

5.2.11 Joint Protocol Regarding Looked After Children and Young People Placed out of Nottingham

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This document sets out the process that will be followed when any young person is placed outside of the City boundaries where there is a concern regarding the arrangements for either their education and/or health care.

The document is written with a focus on young people who become looked after, however the principles and process apply equally to young people who are already looked after who are moving placement, particularly those who are moving across local authority boundaries, including returning to the City.

Some young people acquire a looked after status by virtue of either:

  • Sentencing in the criminal justice system, through the provisions of the Legal Aid, sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012;
  • Housing issues for 16/17 year olds as a consequence of case law.

Although these circumstances bring some particular challenges the principles and process set out in this document still apply. In the case of young people who become looked after through the criminal justice system then the Youth Offending Team should be involved in the process from the outset.

This chapter was added to the manual in August 2015.


Contents

  1. Key Principles
  2. Process


1. Key Principles

Wherever possible children and young people will be placed in family environment, i.e. foster care.

Wherever possible children and young people will be placed within Nottinghamshire boundaries. Where this is not possible then they should be placed as close Nottinghamshire as possible, with the aim being that they are not placed any further than 20 miles away from the city centre unless there are clear reasons as to why this is in the best interests of the child.

Where a child or young person has specialist needs that are likely to require joint funding for provision then early discussions should take place with colleagues from Health and Education as part of the process of identifying and agreeing a placement.

The arrangements for a young person’s education and health support should be clear before they become looked after.

Wherever practicable disruption to the arrangements for a young person’s education and/or health support will be avoided.

Where becoming looked after leads to some disruption in the education and/or health support a young person receives then urgent action must be taken to address this within given timescales. Barriers to addressing these issues will be escalated promptly if the initial actions do not fully address the presenting problem.


2. Process

Pathways into care

There are two routes into care, the Edge of Care Panel and Legal Planning Meetings. In both of these meetings clear information regarding the young person’s health and education needs will be presented.

In emergency situations children may become accommodated without going through either of these routes. Any such decision in office hours can only be made by the Head of Service responsible for the relevant children’s social care team. All such cases will subsequently need to be considered by either the Edge of Care Panel or in a Legal Planning Meeting. When making any decision for emergency accommodation the Head of Service will expect to receive clear information regarding the plans for the child/young persons health and education. Should the need for emergency accommodation arise outside of normal office hours then the decision will be made by the on-call Service Manager. Again they should be provided with information regarding health and education need to the extent to which this is available.

Prior to a young person becoming looked after

Prior to any young person becoming looked after the arrangements for their health care and education must be clear. This will include, but not be limited to:

  • Clarity about the school placement the young person is in and any restrictions or special requirements, e.g. additional classroom support;
  • Clarity about any presenting and underlying health needs, including needs linked to their emotional health and wellbeing, and who is currently providing this support.

This information must be included in the information provided to the Placement Service, along with a recommendation as to how these needs can be best met. In making such recommendations it is important to differentiate between what is an essential requirement and need that can be met in a more flexible way.

Responsible Person: Allocated Social Worker/ Team Manager

The Placement Service will make a search on the basis of the information provided by the social worker and will forward information about potential placements to the social worker for their consideration.

Responsible Person: Placement Officer

The allocated social worker is responsible for:

  • Considering how the child’s health and education needs will be met within any potential placement;
  • Formulating and implementing a plan that will ensure that these needs are met within the context of the placement.

The fact that young person is moving outside of the City boundary should not of itself mean that all arrangements for education and health support need to changed. It may be possible that with some coordinated support continuity can be promoted.

Responsible Person: Social Worker/Team Manager

Where a young person is placed outside of the City notification will be sent to the authority where the young person will be placed. The Association of Directors of Children’s Services publish a list of key contacts in each Local Authority area. The list can be accessed here.

Effective information sharing with colleagues from other authorities is critically important as it enables effective plans for support and safeguarding to be put in place at both a strategic level and for the individual child/young person. This position is reflected in an East Midlands protocol in relation to this matter. Information sharing when a child is placed in an authority n the East Midlands should be undertaken in accordance with the principles set out in the regional protocol and using the agreed documentation.

Responsible Person: Placement Officer

Where there will be some disruption to health or education support then an alternative plan should be clear before the placement starts. This will include for example identification of the new school (and confirmation of that a place is available. the transfer process etc), identification of the new GP, Health Visitor/School Nurse (and confirmation of that a place is available and the transfer process).

Responsible Person: Allocated Social Worker/Placement Officer

Where the young person has a significant presenting health difficulty which requires ongoing medical supervision, e.g. type two diabetes/mental health issues, or special educational needs then no placement can be agreed in the absence of a clear plan for how their health care and education support will be maintained or transferred. Decisions in relation to these cases should be made in conjunction with the appropriate education/health colleague, e.g. CAMHS, Continuing Health Care, Virtual School, SEN Team. The only exception to this will be in emergency situations in which case the Service Manager responsible for the relevant social work team will be immediately notified. The Service Manager will then ensure that this issue is addressed by the point of the initial placement planning meeting (72 Hour Review) and will maintain oversight of the case until the health care needs of the young person are fully and appropriately resolved.

Responsible Person: Service Manager (Social Care)

When a child or young person has become looked after

If there are still some elements of the support plan for the young person that remain unaddressed, by the time of the initial placement planning meeting (72 Hour Review), the Team Manager/ Senior Practitioner who chairs this meeting will, within one working day of the meeting:

  • Liaise with the Virtual School/ SEN Team, where the issue relates to education, in order to alert them to the circumstances of the young person and seek their support in addressing the presenting problem as a matter of priority. The Virtual School/SEN team will use their expertise regarding the education system to work with the allocated, Social Worker and Team Manager in order to ensure the education needs of the young person are fully addressed;
  • Liaise with the LAC Nursing Team and named LAC Doctor/ LAC CAMHS Team, where the issue relates to Health, in order to alert them to the circumstances of the young person and seek their support in addressing the presenting problem as a matter of priority. The LAC Health Team will use their expertise regarding the health system to work with the Placement Service, allocated Social Worker and Team Manager in order to ensure the health needs of the young person are fully addressed;
  • Inform their Service Manager who will maintain oversight of the case until the issues are fully resolved.

Responsible Person: Team Manager

It is expected that the approach outlined above will ensure the health and education needs of young people are resolved prior to any placement being made or, where this was not the case within 5 working days of an initial placement planning meeting (72 Hour Review). If this is not the case then the Team Manager will inform their Service Manager (who will inform their Head of Service) and the Independent Reviewing Officer. The Team Manager will chair a meeting with the Social Worker, Placement Service - Service Manager, Virtual School and/or LAC Health Team to ensure that there is a clear plan in place to address these issues within 5 working days. Minutes from this meeting, which will include the plan and any associated issues, should be sent to the Service Manager responsible for the case, their Head of Service and the Head of Service Safeguarding and Quality Assurance.

Responsible Person: Service Manager (Social Care)

Where a child’s health and/or education needs are not fully resolved by the point of the first LAC review the IRO escalation process will immediately be implemented with the relevant document being copied to the Head of Service responsible for the relevant social work team and the Head of Service Safeguarding and Quality Assurance.

Responsible Person: IRO

Click here to view the flowchart.

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