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

3.6 Undertaking Statutory and Non Statutory Visits to Child/ren Involved in Child Protection Processes or Subject to Child Protection Plans and those who are Children in Need (Nottingham City Protocol)

AMENDMENT

This chapter was added to this manual in May 2014.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Statutory Visit and What This Should Include
  3. Unannounced Visits
  4. Children In Need Visits
  5. The S01

    Appendix 1: The S01 template


1. Introduction

This guidance sets out the expectations in relation to carrying out both statutory and non-statutory visits to children who are either subject to section 47 enquiries or subject to a child protection plan. It also includes those who are children in need. The guidance in relation to children in public care can be found within NCC online procedures. (Please see the dedicated chapter, Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children).

Definition of Statutory Visit

A Statutory Visit relates to the visiting requirements of children subject to Child Protection Plan as stipulated within the Initial Child Protection Conference or the Child Protection Review Conference. This is a minimum requirement. There may be additional expectations laid out in the Child Protection Plan and this may include unannounced visits. These additional visits are not defined as statutory visits.


2. The Statutory Visit and What This Should Include

The statutory visit to see the child who is subject to a child protection plan must always be carried out by a qualified social worker. The visit should be recorded on the s01 template and recorded as the statutory visit. Good practice means the child where possible should be seen alone. In circumstances where this has not been possible the reasons for this need to be recorded. The Statutory visit includes:

  • The child is seen alone:
    It is important to see the child alone and in the place where they are living. The Social Worker can then assess the suitability of the accommodation and the overall circumstances of the child’s living environment, including how they child responds to carers and their home. The child must be given the opportunity to say how they are feeling and for the Social Worker to assess and report on safety of the child, their health and other matters relevant to their living environment. To fully assess this it may be necessary, on occasions, to see the child outside of the home. Whilst young children may not be able to verbalise their feelings, the recorded observations of their mobility, signs of injury, confidence in their environment, reaction to carers are all key to assessing their well-being. Again where it has not been possible to see the child alone, the rationale for this must be recorded.
  • The names of all those present are recorded:
    In order to understand the child’s environment, it is important to know who lives in the household and what part they play in the child’s life. Consistently absent carers at visits may indicate a difficulty for the child with that adult, certainly it is difficult to assess the child’s environment without seeing key carers with the child. In cases where a child protection plan is in place, visitors or associates of the family may be key to the safeguarding aspects of the child’s home life or of the Child Protection Plan.
  • The child’s environment is assessed according to the issues of concern:
    This is particularly relevant in child protection. The home conditions should be investigated in accordance with the issues of concern, for example in neglect cases the food volume, clothing stock, dryness of beds, locks on doors etc should be the focus, whilst in alcohol abuse cases additional investigations of alcohol stocks, bins and cupboards will be helpful. It is important to undertake some of these visits with other partners and to bench mark our assessments of poor home conditions on occasion, given that we may become desensitised to the conditions overtime.
  • The child’s sleeping arrangements are seen:
    Sleeping arrangements for children subject to Protection Plans should form part of the assessment. The standard of care in the home should be observed and recorded.
  • Parent refuse to allow worker to see the child:
    If the parents continue to refuse access to the child or will not consent to you seeing the child alone, management advice should immediately be sought as you may, depending on the complexity of the case and the level of risk, need to consider bringing the child protection review forward or in some situations consider taking legal advice.


3. Unannounced Visits

To ensure that a full and comprehensive assessment of the child subject to child protection enquires or a Child Protection Plan it is necessary to see the child in as many different circumstances as possible. Unannounced visits offer the Social Worker the opportunity to see the child and the carers without the pre- planning processes that may have occurred prior to a planned or expected visit. This will provide a balanced perspective of the quality of life for the child in the home.


4. Children In Need Visits

The frequency for these visits should be set at the Child In Need Review or in supervision. These visits should also seek to ascertain the child’s wishes and feelings and seek to see the child alone with the consent of the parent. There should be consideration of the need to see the child’s bedroom. The worker will need to record if the parent refused to give consent and consider the implications of this and whether more formal processes are required if consent is continually withheld.

Detailed recording of the visit

Recording statutory visits and Child Protection/ Children In Need visits is mandatory. After each visit the record of the visit must include whether the child was seen alone, comment on the child’s health, wellbeing and any issues relating to safeguarding. In addition to this, the wishes and feelings of the child during the visit should be recorded. All visits should be recorded on the S01. This includes both statutory and non-statutory visits.

Please see the dedicated chapters for the general Recording Policy and Case Records and Retention.

Undertaking visits as part of assessments

When undertaking a Children’s Assessment (Continuous/Single Assessment), visits to the child will take place to gather information about their wishes and feelings. These visits should be recorded on the S01 template. The visit can be referenced in the assessments templates (which was replaced on 1st April 14 by the Continuous/Single Assessment Template.) and should say “visit to child see s01”.


5. The S01

See Appendix 1: The S01 template.

The s01 template is located in care first and should be used for all visits to see the child/ren. When completing the statutory visit it will be necessary to record all the relevant information required as outlined in Section 2, The Statutory Visit and What This Should Include. Once the visit has been recorded in the S01, you must ensure this is authorised (by the inputting social worker) finished and saved or this document will be lost/remain incomplete and fail to show in the performance reporting.

Private Fostering

(For detailed procedure in respect of Private Fostering please see the dedicated Private Fostering chapter).

Recording visits - please see guidance below:

  • Guidance in relation to Private Fostering cases where there are no child protection concerns and child is not subject to a CP plan. (record in p03 but reference in s01):
    The visits in relation to these cases need to be recorded on the P03 form. To avoid duplication the worker must only record on the s01 that the child was seen and to refer the reader to the P03 stored in Care first for further details.
  • Guidance in relation to Private Fostering cases where child is subject to cp processes or subject to a cp plan:
    In these instances, the s01 will be used to record the statutory visits in line with the statutory requirement outlined at the review e.g. every two weeks. However when carrying out the 6 weekly private fostering visit the visit should be recorded in the p03 form and referenced in the so1 form which would only need to state: "PF visit see P03 form for further details".


Appendix 1: The S01 template

Click here to view Appendix 1: The S01 template.

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