Dudley Logo

DudleyChildren's Services Procedures Manual

Holidays and School Trips Outside the UK

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to day trips and holidays within and outside the UK for all Looked After Children.

RELATED CHAPTER

For School Trips within the UK, see Holidays and School Trips in the UK Procedure

AMENDMENT

In February 2018 added in Section 2, Holidays for Children on Care Orders Formal permission of the local authority is required to take a child who is the subject of a Care Order out of the UK. A request for permission must be submitted at least 2 weeks before the date on which the child is to leave. The social worker should complete the Holiday Permission Request and the Holiday Letter. Templates for both of these are in the Dudley Practice Guidance.

Contents

  1. Holidays for Accommodated Children
  2. Holidays for Children on Care Orders
  3. Holidays for Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers
  4. When the Court's Permission is Required
  5. Insurance
  6. Obtaining a Passport

1. Holidays for Accommodated Children

Arrangements for notifying and consulting the Social Worker about holiday plans should be agreed in the Placement Plan/Placement Information Record.

The consent of the parent(s) or person with Parental Responsibility must be obtained and consent form signed. This should be used to provide the following information:

  • Address where holiday is to be taken;
  • Responsible adult(s) accompanying the child including adult/child ratio if group holiday;
  • If the child is going with a family or person who is not known to Children's Services, whether the appropriate checks have been made;
  • Dates of holiday;
  • Views of the child;
  • If any cost to the Authority, including insurance;
  • Any additional information;

If it is a group day trip or holiday, the social worker must be satisfied that adequate health and safety precautions are taken.

Children must not be taken on holiday during term time unless there are exceptional circumstances - this must be approved by the Social Worker's Manager for the child and the Head of School. Requests must be made in writing. (Note that headteachers may not grant any leave of absence during term time unless there are 'exceptional circumstances').

2. Holidays for Children on Care Orders

The procedure is the same as for those for Accommodated Children (see Section 1, Holidays for Accommodated Children) except that the consent of the parents or person having Parental Responsibility is not required but should be obtained wherever practicable or possible. Any objections by the parent(s) should be recorded on CCM.

Formal permission of the local authority is required to take a child who is the subject of a Care Order out of the UK. A request for permission must be submitted at least 2 weeks before the date on which the child is to leave. The social worker should complete the Holiday Permission Request and the Holiday Letter. Templates for both of these are in the Dudley Practice Guidance.

The Holiday Permission Request must include information about the planned sleeping arrangements for the child: permission will not be granted until this is provided. The request must be signed by both the social worker and the team manager. We recommend that electronic signatures are used rather than scanning in signed documents as the forms may need to be edited.

All requests for holiday permissions should be sent to Rhys Khan. The child's name should be included in the email subject line as this will help with processing. Both the request and the letter must be submitted together: consent will not be given if one is missing.

The social worker should ensure that the Placement Plan includes an expectation that any proposal for the child to take a holiday abroad will be notified to Children's Services well in advance so that the required consent can be obtained.

3. Holidays for Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers

The procedure is the same as for Accommodated Children (see Section 1, Holidays for Accommodated Children) except that:

  • Approval is unlikely if the child/young person wishes to go on their own and/or to a destination which could call into question the integrity of their original claim for asylum;
  • The child's social worker would have to endorse the holiday by signing the consent form.

4. When the Court's Permission is Required

If the child is the subject of a Care Order, s/he must not be taken out of the UK for more than a month without either the written consent of every person who has Parental Responsibility or leave of the court. When the proposed holiday abroad is for more than one month, and written consent cannot be obtained from one or more persons who hold Parental Responsibility, an application must be made to the appropriate Court for permission to allow the child to go abroad.

Where a Court Order is required, the social worker should contact Legal Services as soon as possible for the necessary application to be made, and advise the parents of the intended application.

If the holiday is authorised by the Court, the holiday should be included in the Placement Plan/Placement Information Record.

5. Insurance

5.1 Medical Treatment during visits to EEC Countries

Children travelling within EU/EEA countries and Switzerland will be covered for medical treatment through a European Health Insurance Card. An application form can be downloaded from or be collected from the post office. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) also has information on 'European Health Insurance Card'. The form needs to be completed by the parent(s) or foster carer(s) and be submitted as a family application. Young people over 16 can apply for a European Health Insurance Card in their own name.

5.2 Private Medical Insurance Cover or Insurance Cover for Holidays

In situations where medical cover is required at short notice, it is suggested that private insurance cover is taken out.

The insurance referred to in Section 5.1, Medical Treatment during visits to EEC Countries only covers a child for medical treatment and not for loss of luggage, cover for cancellation of the holiday etc. Therefore a private insurance policy is needed for a child travelling abroad.

6. Obtaining a Passport

The United Kingdom Passport Agency provides Guidance for Social Workers seeking to obtain a passport for a Looked After Child.

If Children's Services have previously applied for a passport on the child's behalf and are applying for a renewal or extension, a letter outlining the circumstances mentioned above stating that these have not changed is sufficient. In these circumstances there is no need to complete the application form. This should be signed by the Designated Manager (Passports).

Where there is a proposal for a child to go on holiday abroad and the child does not currently hold a valid passport, the request to the Designated Manager (Passports) in relation to the holiday should include a written request for the authority to obtain a passport for the child.

If it is an urgent application where an application is made in person, the social worker must provide evidence of their identity and a signed letter of authorisation from the Designated Manager (Passports).

Where the child requires a passport for any other reason, the approval of the Designated Manager (Passports) should be sought. The written request for such approval should include the reason for the request, the wishes of the child; the views of the parent; the views of the Carer where applicable. Where the Designated Manager (Passports) gives authority for a passport to be obtained for a child, this must be confirmed in writing. The social worker must inform the parent of the decision.

The social worker will obtain and complete the necessary application for the child or assist the child to complete the necessary application form.