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Amendments

This manual was redesigned and moved to a new format.

September 2020

CAPTION: September 2020
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery

This chapter has been updated to reference and note the Family Court Justice Interim Guidance on Special Guardianship, Courts and Tribunals Judiciary (May 2019) (see Section 1, Introduction).

New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Capacity and Consent This chapter has been added to the manual.
Use of Social Media Sites by Social Care and Safeguarding Staff This chapter has been added to the manual.
Storage of Data on Mobile Devices This chapter has been added to the manual.
Next update: March 2021

February 2020

CAPTION: February 2020
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

This chapter has been updated to reference and note the Family Court Justice Interim Guidance on Special Guardianship, Courts and Tribunals Judiciary (May 2019). (See Section 1, Introduction).

Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

An update has been made in Section 1, Principles to draw attention to OFSTED's advice that Local Authorities should exercise due diligence in ensuring schools for pupils with SEN are registered with the DFE. The same diligence should be exercised on behalf of pupils with SEN.

Placements with Parents

This chapter has been updated to note that this procedure does not apply to children subject to Interim Care Orders where the placement is required by the court under Section 38(6) Children Act 1989 for the purposes of assessment (see Scope of This Chapter).

Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews

This chapter has been reviewed and updated. The requirement for clear separation of reviews (for clarifying whether the criteria for keeping a child in secure accommodation are met, and the child's looked after review) has been emphasised. Clarifying whether the criteria for keeping a child in secure accommodation are met must come before a LAC review so the decision can inform the LAC review and they must be chaired by different individuals.

Notifications of Significant Events

This chapter has been updated and should be re read.

Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children

This chapter has been updated and should be re read.

Assessment and Approvals of Foster Carers

A link has been added to Attending an IRM Panel: information sheets. See Section 9, Representations / Independent Review Procedure.

Supervision and Support of Foster Carers

This chapter has been updated to reflect in more detail the foster carer's role and responsibilities with respect to Fostering National Minimum Standards – Notification of Significant Events (see Section 1, Introduction) and relevant aspects of Schedule 6 The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011 (see Section 2, Planned Supervision Visits).

Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers

A link has been added to Attending an IRM Panel: information sheets. See Section 6, Terminating, or Changing the Terms of, Approval.

Assessment and Approvals of Prospective Adopters

A link has been added to Attending an IRM Panel: information sheets. See Section 10, Representations / Independent Review Procedure.

Placement for Adoption

This chapter has been amended to reflect the national changes in adoption registration and matching (see Section 7.13, Inter Agency Placements and Section 11, Children Approved for Adoption for Whom no Placement has been Identified). 

Access to Birth Records and Adoption Case Records

A link has been added to Attending and IRM Panel: information sheets. See Section 3.2, Adoption Orders made on or after 30 December 2005.

Applications for Special Guardianship Orders

This chapter has been updated to reference and reflect the Family Court Justice Interim Guidance on Special Guardianship, Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, (see new Section 5.2, Special Guardianship applications in care proceedings).

Court Reports in Adoption/Special Guardianship Guidance

This chapter has been updated to note the Family Court Justice Interim Guidance on Special Guardianship, Courts and Tribunals Judiciary (May 2019).
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Placing and Visiting Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities or Health Conditions in Long-Term Residential Settings This chapter has been added to the manual.

August 2019

CAPTION: August 2019
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

This chapter has been amended to reflect changes from 'Practice Direction 27a - Family Proceedings: Court Bundles (Universal Practice to be Applied in the High Court and Family Court)', in relation to the required maximum length of certain court documents, (unless otherwise specifically directed by the court). In addition, a new subsection of Section 4.1, Local Authority Documentation - 'Final Care Plan' provides further detail on the importance of recording information on the Care Plan which will help the child, parent or the child's carer understand why decisions have been or are being made.

It has also been amended to reflect HHJ Greensmith's comments regarding M and N (Children: Local authority gathering, preserving and disclosing evidence) [2018] EWFC 40 (1 June 2018)). (See Section 9, Good Local Authority Practice During Proceedings).

Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child In Need)

This chapter has been updated throughout to reflect Working Together to Safeguard Children and the process for reporting a serious incident to the Panel via the Child Safeguarding Incident Notification System.

Recording Policy and Guidelines

This chapter has been amended to reflect HHJ Greensmith's comments regarding M and N (Children: Local authority gathering, preserving and disclosing evidence) [2018] EWFC 40 (1 June 2018).

Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery

This chapter has been updated. A new Section 6, Suitable Placements has been added. Details of the National Transfer Scheme Protocol for Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Version 2.0 March 2018 have been added into Section 1, Introduction and Definitions.

Decision to Look After and Care Planning

This chapter has been amended to reflect Section 3 of the Care Planning and Care Leavers (Amendment) Regulations 2014. The Care Plan must identify whether there is reason to believe the child has been trafficked or is an unaccompanied asylum seeker (see Section 2.1, The Care Plan - Contents).

Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation

This chapter has been updated in relation to placing young people in custody, see Section 2.3, How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review.

Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children

This chapter has been amended to include a link to the Leaving Care and Transition Procedure in relation to Personal Adviser visits to 'Relevant' or 'Former Relevant' young people.

Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children

This chapter has been refreshed as required.

Leaving Care and Transition

This chapter has been updated. Amendments have been made in:

  • Section 5, Leaving Care Assessment of Needs - in relation to children who are victims of trafficking or unaccompanied asylum seeking children;
  • Section 7, Reviews of Pathway Plans - in relation to Relevant/Former Relevant young people moving to 'unregulated' accommodation; and
  • Section 8, Personal Advisers - in relation to frequency of visits by Personal Advisers.

Looked After Children and Young People in Contact with Youth Justice Services

This chapter has been updated in relation to placing young people in custody, see Section 7.7, How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review.

Responsibilities of the Local Authority to Former Looked After Children and Young People in Custody

This chapter has been updated in relation to placing young people in custody, see Section 3.8, How to Request a Transfer or Placement Review.

Assessment and Approvals of Prospective Adopters

This chapter has been amended to reflect the national changes in adoption registration and matching (see Section 9, After the Panel Recommendation).

February 2019

CAPTION: February 2019
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Children's Services Policies, Values and Principles

A new Section 2, Corporate Parenting has been added in response to the DfE, Applying Corporate Parenting Principles to Looked-after Children and Care Leavers – Statutory Guidance (Feb 2018). It includes the seven corporate parenting principles set out in the guidance.

Assessments

This chapter has been revised to reflect updated guidance on Assessment in Working Together to Safeguard Children. Section 4, Communication has also been updated to include reference to parents with learning disabilities.

Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

This chapter has been updated to provide some emphasis on parents who lack capacity and added links to the President of the Family Division, Family Proceedings: Parents with a Learning Disability note, and a relevant link to working with parents who have a learning disability, (see Section 2.1, Principles) and Practice Direction 3AA - Vulnerable Persons: Participation in Proceedings and Giving Evidence (see case management in Section 4, Documentation). In Related Guidance, a link has been added to Research in Practice supporting information and guidance on the Social Work Evidence template (SWET).

Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance which require schools, through the designated teacher to provide support to previously Looked After Children.

A previously Looked After Child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales.

Prevention of Homelessness and Provision of Accommodation for 16 and 17 year olds who may be Homeless and/or require Accommodation; and Duty to Refer

This chapter has been fully revised. It should be re-read throughout.

Relinquished Children

Section 5, Consent and Competency has been updated to include additional information on parental capacity to consent, in line with High Court case-law.

Decision to Look After and Care Planning

Sdditional information has been added in to Section 1.3, Section 20 Accommodation, in line with recent case-law.

Ceasing to Look After a Child

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance.

These changes relate to the status of 'previously Looked After Children'. A previously Looked After Child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales.

Previously Looked After Children are entitled to support from their school through the Designated Teacher (see Section 2.5, Children Who Move into Permanency).

Permanence Planning Guidance

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance.

These changes relate to the status of 'previously looked after children'. A previously Looked After Child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales.

Children subject to a Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order are entitled to support from their school, through the designated teacher.

Placements in Secure Accommodation

This chapter has been updated to fully reflect the updated guidance 'Secure children's homes: how to place a child aged under 13 (July 2018)'. (See Section 6, Placements of Children under the age of 13 Years).

Looked After Reviews

Section 9, The Role of the Looked After Review in Achieving Permanence for the Child has been amended to reflect the outcome of a High Court Judgement in respect of children who were subject to Section 20 and where there were concerns of significant delays in their planning for permanence. The court noted the IROs' recognition and action over a number of reviews but acknowledged that a more robust response had been needed.

Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children

This chapter has been updated to reflect amendments made by the Children and Social Work Act 2017.

These changes relate to the status of 'previously looked after children' i.e. a previously looked-after child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because s/he is the subject of an adoption, special guardianship or child arrangements order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales. The chapter includes a new Section 15, Mental Health and a new Section 8, Safeguarding the Looked After Child at School.

In addition, the chapter reflects the statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education, as it relates to Looked After Children and guidance regarding Data protection and safeguarding as set out in Data protection: a toolkit for schools (Open Beta: Version1.0) (August 2018).

Adoption Support

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance which require schools, through the Designated Teacher for Looked After Children, to offer support to previously looked after children.

A previously looked-after child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales).

Adoption Reviews

Section 5.1.f has been amended to reflect the status of adopted children as being 'previously looked after' when considering their educational needs. A link to DfE guidance on Promoting the Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After children has also been added.

Life Story Books Guidance

This chapter has been reviewed.

Later Life Letters

This chapter has been fully reviewed.

Applications for Special Guardianship Orders

This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance which require schools, through the designated teacher to provide support to previously Looked After Children.

A previously Looked After Child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from 'state care' outside England and Wales.

It has also been updated to reflect the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman good practice points to follow when working with Special Guardians. A link to the full report 'Firm Foundations: Complaints about Council Support and Advice for Special Guardians (Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman)' has been added into the Relevant National Guidance section of this chapter.

August 2018

CAPTION: August 2018
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Child in Need Plans and Reviews

This chapter has been updated by adding a new Section 4, Children in Need Moving to Another Local Authority - Principles. Information and communication is important between the respective local authorities to ensure appropriate services continue for the child and family and, where relevant, any risk of harm is recognised and identified with the receiving local authority. It should be noted that the responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child lies with the local authority where the child is to be found.

Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child In Need)

This chapter has been amended. From 29 June 2018 local authorities in England must notify the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel within 5 working days of becoming aware of a serious incident.

Recording Policy and Guidelines

This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.

Case Records and Retention

Section 1, The Case Record has been updated in line with Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, which permits the transfer of a copy of the child's case record (or part of that record) to another adoption agency when the local authority considers this to be in the interests of the child.

Access to Records

This chapter has been updated and should be re-read throughout.

Confidentiality Policy

This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children

This chapter has been updated to reflect the Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Modern Slavery - Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities (2017)

Provision of Accommodation to Homeless 16 and 17 year olds

This guidance has been updated to reflect changes in homelessness and children's legislation.

Private Fostering Policy

This chapter has been updated.

Family and Friends Care

This chapter has been updated.

Placements with Parents

This chapter has been updated to reflect that the DBS has no eligibility for a standard or enhanced check for birth parents or other adults living in the household. However, the Local Authority has a requirement under the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England Regulations) 2010 to obtain information about unspent convictions and cautions before placing a child back with parents. (See Section 1.2, Assessment and Checks before Placement).

Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children

Section 2, Exceptions has been revised to set out more clearly the circumstances where visiting requirements differ from those set out in Section 1, Normal Frequency.

Contact with Parents/Adults and Siblings

Section 2, Different Types of Contact has been updated to take account of the use of mobile communication with regards to contact.

Health Care Assessments and Plans

A new Section 3.5, Consent to Health Care Assessments has been added.

Leaving Care and Transition

This chapter has been updated to add clarification in relation to Qualifying Young People. See Section 1, Definitions.

Assessment and Approvals of Foster Carers

Section 8, After the Panel Recommendation has been updated to clarify the decision as to the suitability of the applicant must be made within 7 working days of receipt of the panel's recommendation and final set of panel minutes – The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 4 and Standard 14 (14.9) Fostering panels and the fostering service's decision-maker.

Adoption Panel

This guidance has been reviewed and updated following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 replaced reference to Data Protection Act 2018.

Inter Country Adoption

Section 8, Home Study has been updated to include a link to Benefits (GOV.UK).

Adoption Case Records

Section 3, Security Retention and Sharing of Records has been updated in line with Adoption and Care Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018, which provides that an adoption agency may disclose an adoption case record to another adoption agency for purposes related to either agency's functions as an adoption agency. Further information has been added in relation to adoption records where an Adoption Order is not made.

February 2018

CAPTION: February 2018
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Assessments

In Section 13, Recording a note has been added that if the child has any sort of disability or additional needs, in recording the assessment the social worker should complete the questionnaire attached to Practice Briefing Note 0006. This will be found in the Children's Services Procedures Manual under Dudley Practice Guidance: Best Practice.

Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

Section 4.2, Case Analysis has been updated to reflect the 'permanence provisions' of the Care Plan added by S.8 Children and Social Work Act 2017 (amending section 31(3B) Children Act 1989) which a court is required to consider when deciding whether to make a Care Order.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children

Section 3, Assessment has been updated with regards to in advance of undertaking an age assessment for an unaccompanied asylum seeking child, local authorities must seek Home Office assistance with verifying the authenticity of identity documents e.g. travel documents or a birth certificate. A link to the relevant contact details for local authorities has been added. The statutory guidance has been updated to link to the DfE 2017 Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery – statutory guidance for local authorities. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 is referenced in relation to age assessments.

Families with No Recourse to Public Funds

A link to Securing British Citizenship for Looked After Children (NRPF Network) has been added to this chapter.

Young Carers

This chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read.

Decision to Look After and Care Planning

This chapter has been amended to reflect the outcome of an Appeal Court hearing (2017) with respect to 'consent'. The court recognised that the term 'consent' itself was not used in Section 20. However, it described previous court observations as 'good practice guidance', emphasising its judgment should not alter the content or effect of these. (See Section 1.3.1, Obtaining Parental Consent).

Permanence Planning Guidance

Section 5, Assessing and Planning for Permanence has been updated to reflect the additional 'permanence provisions' of the Care Plan (under s.8 Children and Social Work Act 2017 amends section 31(3B) Children Act 1989) which a court is required to consider when deciding whether to make a Care Order.

Placements with Parents

Section 1.2, Assessment and Checks before Placement has been updated to include consideration should be given as to whether the home environment is safe for the child including where relevant, the need for a risk assessment of any pets and the environment in which they are kept.

Placements with Connected Persons

Section 3, Approval of Immediate Placements of Looked After Children with Connected Persons has been updated to include matters that should be considered when placing a child with a Connected Person should include an initial risk assessment of any pets, together with the environment in which the pet is kept.

Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children

Please note visits must be to where the child is living; seeing the child in school cannot be counted as a placement visit. A record of each visit should be entered on CCM within 24 hours. This entry should focus on the most recent visit and should not attempt to cover the child's history to date. When siblings are placed together, the worker should resist the temptation to copy a single record to all children as this can mask individual needs and voices.

Looked After Reviews

This chapter has been amended to fully reflect the Volume 2: care planning, placement and case review guidance and regulation with respect to the circumstances as to when a Looked After Review should be brought forward. The list is not exhaustive. (See Section 2, Frequency of Looked After Reviews).

Change of Name of a Looked After Child

This chapter has been updated and should be re read.

Supervision and Support of Foster Carers

Section 5, Support Provided by the Supervising Social Worker (During Placement) has been updated to reflect that the Safer Caring Plan, any changes in household circumstances along with any health and safety issues including the addition of any new pets and the environment in which they are kept should be reviewed as required.

Assessment and Approvals of Prospective Adopters

Section 5.3, Assessments has been updated to include where the applicants have pets, a risk assessment should be conducted and any associated risks should be taken into account with regard to the pet itself and where the pet is kept. Where necessary, an independent assessment should be undertaken by a vet to establish whether the dog falls within the scope of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Placement for Adoption

This chapter has been amended to emphasise 'procedural fairness' as a key aspect of the adoption planning process in respect of ensuring parents are provided with information throughout, including the dates of placement/proposed changes of a child's Status, etc. This follows the outcome of a judicial review ([2017] EWHC 1041 (Admin)). (See new Section 4.2, Procedural Fairness).

Fostering for Adoption, Concurrent Planning and Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters

Section 4.1, Duty to Consider Fostering for Adoption Placement has been updated to reflect the additional consideration (added by section 9 Children and Social Work Act 2017 into the list of considerations whenever a court or adoption agency is coming to a decision relating to the adoption of a child), of the relationship which the child has with relatives, with any person who is a prospective adopter with whom the child is placed and with any other person in relation to whom the court or agency considers the relationship to be relevant.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details

Children's Consultation and Participation

Participation of children and young people in decisions about their lives is an essential part of growing up and if done well it enhances children's safety and well-being and improves services designed to support and protect them.

Deprivations of Liberty

This procedure should be used by practitioners working with children and young people under the age of 18, where a deprivation of liberty may be occurring. It applies to all social care practitioners carrying out any social care function with children who are receiving care or treatment in any setting.

Mental Capacity

This resource will support practitioners working in statutory social care or healthcare to understand the Act and practice confidently when supporting people to make decisions, assessing mental capacity and applying the Best Interests principle.

Guidance when Considering Discharge of a Care Order

This guidance outlines the steps to be taken when considering the Discharge of a Care Order as part of the care plan. The decision that the care plan is for discharge of the order must be made at a statutory (Looked After Child) Review.

Junior Individual Saving Accounts for Looked After Children

Statutory guidance on Junior ISAs for children and young people who have been in local authority care for 12 months or more.

August 2017

CAPTION: August 2017
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Contacts and Referrals

This chapter has been updated throughout to bring it in line with the Single Point of Access Protocol and should be reread.

Assessments

This chapter has been updated. Links have been added to relevant Chapters in the West Midlands Safeguarding Procedures and to the local guidance notes on drawing up a Chronology.

Child Protection Enquiries (Section 47)

Links have been added to the local guidance on setting the agenda for a Strategy Meeting.

Child in Need Plans and Reviews

Information has been added in Section 2, Child in Need Plans on the local requirements about frequency of visits and planning meetings.

Applications for Emergency Protection Orders

Links have been added to the local Court and Care Planning Protocol and Court Improvement Strategy.

Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

Links have been added to the local Court and Care Planning Protocol and Court Improvement Strategy. The process has been amended to acknowledge the role of the Court and Care Planning Team.

Complaints and Representations

A link has been added to the full Complaints Procedure on the Dudley MBC website.

Death or Serious Injury to a Child (Looked After and Child In Need)

This chapter has been updated in line with the requirement to notify Ofsted of any serious childcare incident using the Ofsted online notification form.

Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Links have been added to the Eligibility Criteria for the Children with Disabilities Team, and to the Local Offer. It has also been amended to reflect the outcome of a court judgement on Ordinary Residence that was included in DHSC, Care and support statutory guidance (December 2016) (see Section 12, Funding Issues - Ordinary Residence). A link has been added into Further Information to guidance on SEND: 19- to 25-year-olds' entitlement to EHC plans (DfE 2017).

Direct Payments

A link has been added to the Eligibility Criteria for the Children with Disabilities Team.

Short Breaks

A link has been added to the Eligibility Criteria for the Children with Disabilities Team.

Private Fostering

Links have been added to the Private Fostering Statement of Purpose, and information about training available for private foster carers, on the Dudley MBC website. The process for receiving notification of private fostering has been brought in line with the MASH procedure. The wording has been changed to clarify that, although there is no specific power or duty to provide financial support for privately fostered children, if the child is in need, assistance may be provided under section 17 Children Act 1989. It also adds clarity to the definition of private fostering with regards to the legislation and children under 16 who spend more than 2 weeks in residence during holiday time in a school.

Young Carers

A link has been added to information about support for young carers on the Dudley MBC website. Additional information has been added on identifying and the needs of young carers.

Decision to Look After and Care Planning

Links have been added to the Corporate Planning Strategy and local guidance on the Placement Process. Information has been added about the Adolescent Response Team (ART) for children on the cusp of care.

Permanence Planning Guidance

Links have been to the local guidance on Achieving Permanence and local information about Family Group Conferences. The procedure has been updated to add a requirement to arrange an Achieving Permanence Consultation Meeting.

Placements with Connected Persons

Links have been added to the Corporate Parenting Strategy, Placement Process Guidance, guidance on Travel and Transport Arrangements and the Checklist for Full Approval of Family and Friends Carers. The procedure has been amended in line with local practice about how financial support is provided in the period before full approval.

Placements in Foster Care

Links have been added to the Corporate Parenting Strategy, Placement Process Guidance, and guidance on Travel and Transport Arrangements. The process has been amended in line with the local Placements Process Guidance, clarifying the roles of the Access to Resources and placements Panel (ARPP) and the Placements Team. A note has been added that emergency placements can only be approved by the Head of Service.

Placements in Residential Care

The chapter has been amended in line with the local Placements Process Guidance, clarifying the roles of the Access to Resources and placements Panel (ARPP) and the Placements Team.

Placements in Secure Accommodation

This chapter has been amended to clarify the local arrangements for arranging secure escorts. Note - Placements in Scotland: Schedule 1, Children and Social Work Act 2017 means that local authorities are able to make placements in Secure Accommodation under Section 25 in Scotland.

Looked After Reviews

A link has been added to the Corporate Parenting Strategy.

Secure Accommodation (Criteria) Reviews

This chapter has been amended to clarify who is responsible for arranging and chairing these reviews (the Head of Safeguarding and Review).

Social Visits (Including Overnight Stays)

This chapter has been extensively updated and should be read throughout.

Education of Looked After Children

A link has been added to information on the Virtual School for Looked After Children. The process for completion of the initial PEP has been amended in line with the local Placements Process Guidance.

Health Care Assessments and Plans

The process for arranging an Initial Health Assessment has been amended in line with the local Placements Process Guidance.

Leaving Care and Transition

Links have been added to local information on financial support available for care leavers.

Adoption Support

A link has been added to the Information for Adopters page on the Dudley MBC website.

Allegations Against Prospective Adopters and in Relation to Children Placed for Adoption or Already Adopted

A note has been added identifying the designated allegations manager as the Service Manager (Adoption & Fostering). Contact details for the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) with responsibility for dealing with allegations about persons who work with children have also been added.

Inter Country Adoption

Section 3, Initial Meeting the DfE have published Intercountry Adoption and Resident Status Requirements which set out the minimum requirements, however entry clearance requirements vary depending upon the circumstances of each case and prospective adopters will need to obtain their own independent legal advice to establish the requirements that apply to their individual circumstances.

In Section 4, Formal Approval, a link has been added to Intercountry adoption: means test form which contains information on how to apply for a fee reduction for people who wish to adopt a child from overseas and who earn £45,000 per year or less.

In Section 12, After Approval information has been added on the Intercountry Adoption Forms: checklist for adoption which details the paperwork adoption agencies must include in the intercountry adoption applications they submit to DfE.

Applications for Special Guardianship Orders

This chapter has been updated by adding link to the local Policy and procedure on Special Guardianship. Some amendments have been made to bring the process in line with this local documents. It is important that you familiarize yourself with local Policy and procedure on Special Guardianship.

List of Agency Decision Makers, Designated Managers and Nominated Officers

This chapter now contains a list of managers responsible for making specific decisions and the planning forums that make recommendations about these decisions.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Financial Arrangements for Care Leavers A guide to the financial support available to young people leaving the care of Dudley Council.

March 2017

CAPTION: March 2017
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details

Assessments

This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a judgment following an application to remove a child at birth. The judge highlighted 'good practice steps' to undertaking assessments and issuing care proceedings in respect of the removal of a child at birth, including the assessment process (see Section 11.1, Pre-birth 'Good Practice Steps').

Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline

This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a judgment following an application to remove a child at birth. The judge highlighted what were thought to be 'good practice steps' to issuing care proceedings in respect of the removal of a child at birth (see Section 3.1, Pre-birth Planning and Proceedings).

Legal Planning Meetings

This chapter has been updated to reflect the outcome of a judgment following an application to remove a child at birth. The judge set out what were thought to be 'basic and good practice steps' (see Section 2, Considerations).

Placements in Secure Accommodation

This chapter has been updated to incorporate changes with regard to referrals for secure welfare placements, which from May 2016 are made through the National Secure Welfare Unit (NSWCU).

Looked After Reviews

This chapter has been amended to note The Law Society guidance 'Attendance of solicitors at local authority Children Act Meetings' and their Code of Conduct where the child or family who attend reviews are supported by a legal representative (see Section 8, Independent Reviewing Officer's Responsibilities).

Appointment and Role of Independent Reviewing Officers

This chapter has been updated in relation to the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer in line with the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015). In particular, the IRO being sensitive to the close and active involvement of parents of a child looked after in a series of Short Breaks and problem-solving where there might be difficulties or issues.

Staying Put

A link has been added to Staying Put: What does is mean for you? by the Catch 22 National Care Advisory Service.

Inter Country Adoption

This chapter now links to the Adoption Support Fund.

Applications for Special Guardianship Orders

This chapter has been updated to clarify the level of parental responsibility extend to the Special Guardian, Further detail has been added with regard to who may apply for Special Guardianship. The DfE has updated the Special Guardianship Guidance to include details of the Adoption Support Fund as the Fund now covers therapeutic support for children, living in England, who were previously in care immediately before the making of a Special Guardianship Order.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Electronic Recording of Meetings This chapter has been added to the manual.
Relinquished Children This chapter has been added to the manual.

May 2016

CAPTION: May 2016
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Decision to Look After a Child (Care and Permanence Planning) This chapter has been updated to reflect the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby's guidance with regard to obtaining parental consent for children accommodated through Section 20 of the 1989 Children Act. Also, his concerns about bringing such matters to court where this is required. There are new sections and amendments as a result.
Special Guardianship In Section 5, Planning Meeting, has been revised and updated to reflect the enhanced assessment and reporting requirements (for all applications made from 29 February 2016) as set out in the Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations 2016
Advocacy and Independent Visitors This chapter has been significantly updated in line with the DfE statutory guidance - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015). A link to this statutory guidance has been included. A new Section 1.1, Duties of an Advocate has been added, together with the appointment of Independent Visitors.
Court Reports in Adoption/Special Guardianship Cases In Section 3, Special Guardianship Applications – Matters to be Dealt with in Report to Court, has been revised and updated to reflect the enhanced assessment and reporting requirements (for all applications made from 29 February 2016) as set out in the Special Guardianship (Amendment) Regulations 2016.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Ceasing to Look After This chapter reflects the statutory guidance 'Ceasing to look after a child' in 'Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations (2015)' The Local Authority has a duty to ensure that when children have been Accommodated under Section 20 (Children Act 1989) and are discharged from, or leave care, that the discharge is in their best interests and that they will be safeguarded and their welfare will be promoted. Where a child has been Accommodated for 20 days or more, the decision should be made by a Nominated Officer, or Director of Children's Services if the child/young person is 16/17 yrs and has been Accommodated under Section 20, before discharge.

October 2015

CAPTION: October 2015
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Placements in Secure Accommodation Details have been added as the DfE have updated the Guidance on what local authorities need to do to place a child under 13 in a secure children's home (Secure children's homes: how to place a child aged under 13), and guidance on when it is appropriate to do so.
Looked After Reviews This chapter has been updated to include the requirements of The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015).
Health Care Assessments and Health Care Plans Details have been added for accessing CAMHS funding for Looked After Children placed out of Borough.
Adoption Support Services This chapter has been amended in Section 9.8, Remuneration for Former Foster Parents - adopters who have previously been foster carers may be paid remuneration for a transitional period. This must be agreed before the adoption order is made.
Intermediary Services Section 7.7, Offence has been added saying an intermediary agency that discloses information in contravention of the regulations is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine.
Special Guardianship Section 16, Special Guardian Duty on the Death of the Child has been added, it describes actions to be taken when a child subject to a Special Guardianship Order dies.
Social Worker Visits This chapter has been updated 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).
Child Trust Fund and Individual Savings Account for Looked After Children This chapter has been slightly updated to show that the annual limit on contributions to Child Trust Funds/ Junior ISA's for Looked After Children increases to £4080.00
Short Breaks A link to the Residential Special Schools National Minimum Standards in Section 7, Short Break Settings and the revised links to new Quality Standards for Children's Homes and Care Quality Commission (CQC) have been added.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Permanency Planning Paperwork This chapter has been added to the manual.
Monitoring Quality (including Regulation 44 Visits and Regulation 45 Reports) This chapter is currently being revised and will be available at the next update.
Looked After Children and the Safe Use of Technology This guidance explains how carers and other professionals can support looked after children to access technology and the internet as safely as possible. It also includes advice on foster carers' own use of technology where may it impact on looked after children and carer's responsibilities relating to this.
Keeping Children's Possessions and Memories Safe - Guidance for Moving Children from a Foster Placement This sets out the process that must be followed for recording the important items for a child in preparation for a time when they may move placement.
Removed Chapters
  • Internet Security;
  • Internet Safety Policy for Looked After Children;
  • Regulation 33 Visits.

February 2015

CAPTION: February 2015
   
Updated Chapters
Chapter Name Details
Confidential Reporting Procedure A link has been added to Raising Concerns At Work: Whistleblowing Guidance For Workers And Employers In Health And Social Care (2014).
Care and Supervision Proceedings and the Public Law Outline This chapter has been extensively updated and replaces the previous chapter 1.7.1 entitled Public Law Outline. You should read this chapter through out.
Decision to Look After a Child (Care and Permanence Planning) This chapter has been updated in line with Looked-after Children: Contact with Siblings - Update to Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review. Additional information has been added in to Section 1, Decision to Look After Child in relation to sibling placement.
Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation This chapter has been updated in line with. Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Supplement) - Looked After Children and Youth Justice - Application of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 to Looked After Children in Contact with Youth Justice Services (April 2014) Additional information has been added throughout the chapter, and it should be re-read.
Delegated Authority Guidance Changes have been made to Appendix 1: The Delegated Authority (Decision Support Tool) about the use of Social Media.
Placement with Parents Additional information has been added into Section 1.9, Ending of Placement, to take account of recent case-law on the notice that should normally be given to parents on the ending of a placement.
Placements in Secure Accommodation A link has been added to Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities on Court Orders and Pre-Proceedings (2014).
External Placements This chapter has been updated in line with the guidance Out of Authority Placement of Looked After Children - Supplement to the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review and should be re-read.
Contact with Parents and Siblings

This chapter has been updated in line with Looked-after Children: Contact with Siblings - Update to 'The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review'.

Additional information has been added in to Section 1, Approving and Planning Contact, in relation to sibling placement.
Supervision of Foster Carers A link has been added to The Fostering Network.
First Aid, Home Remedies and Prescribed Medicines This chapter has been amended and changes have been made to Section 7, Prescribed Medication Procedure for Tipton Road Residential Unit for Children with Learning Disabilities.
Assessment and Approval of Agency Adoptive Parents This chapter has been updated line with the Children and Families Act 2014 and the overall aim of speeding up the adoption process. The chapter has been updated throughout and should be re-read. Information has been added in relation to:
  • Fostering for Adoption (Section 1, Responding to Initial Enquiries and Section 5.4, Fostering for Adoption);
  • Adoption Register (Section 9, After the Panel Recommendation);
  • Duty to provide information on adoption support services (Section 1, Responding to Initial Enquiries and Section 2, Registration of Interest in Adoption);
  • Ethnicity (Section 15.3, Ethnicity).
Adoption Support Services This chapter has been updated in line with the Children and Families Act 2014. A new Section 2, Duty to Provide Information Concerning Adoption Support, has been added.
Intermediary Services This chapter has been substantially updated and should be re read in its entirety.
Special Guardianship This chapter has been amended and Section 16, The Process for Special Guardianship In Dudley for Looked After Children has been added.
Leaving the Looked After Service This chapter has been updated in line with Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers (revised January 2015). Section 4, Education, Training and Employment, Section 15, Access to Records and Appendix 1: Needs Assessment and Content of Pathway Plans for Relevant and Former Relevant Children have been added.
Looked After Children and Young People in Contact with Youth Justice Services This chapter has been updated in line with the above revised statutory guidance Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Supplement) - Looked After Children and Youth Justice - Application of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 to Looked After Children in Contact with Youth Justice Services (April 2014). Additional information has been added throughout the chapter, and it should be re-read.
Child Trust Fund and Individual Savings Account for Looked After Children This chapter has been updated in regard to an increase in the annual amount that can be contributed to £4,000.
Cross-Border Child Protection Cases Under the 1996 Hague Convention This chapter has been slightly updated as links have been added to Working with Foreign Authorities: Child Protection Cases and Care Orders Departmental Advice for Local Authorities, Social Workers, Service Managers and Children's Services Lawyers (July 2014) which is advice from the DfE containing a set of principles for social workers working on Child Protection cases and Care Orders, where the child has links to a foreign country. A link has been also added with information on the ICACU which provides advice on working with overseas authorities.
Local Contacts These have been updated.
New Chapters and Features
Chapter Name Details
Child Sexual Exploitation (Dudley SCB Child Protection Procedures Manual) This chapters includes a range of tools and resources for working with children and young people who are at risk of or are being sexually exploited.