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1.3.7 Statutory Visits: Good Practice Guidance for Children Subject to Child Protection Plans

This chapter focuses on the visiting and recording of children who have a Child Protection Plan and seeks to provide a framework for practice and recording key details in terms of those who are in the household; noting relevant changes and assessing the environment in which the children live, including those who are present when visited. Emphasis is placed on seeing the child alone and where this is routinely denied there should be a discussion with the manager. There is also a link to other recording guidance, (see Home Visit Case Recording in Section 2, Children Subject to Child Protection Plans). 

This chapter was added to the manual in September 2018.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Children Subject to Child Protection Plans
  3. The Statutory Visit and What This Should Include


1. Introduction

Statutory visits to children subject to Child Protection Plans should be completed as a distinct event and should be recorded as such.


2. Children Subject to Child Protection Plans

  • Social worker to undertake statutory visits at intervals agreed in the plan and at a minimum of every 4 weeks;
  • Statutory visits to be recorded on the form including a record of child seen and spoken to alone or reason recorded as to why not;
  • If there is a need for regular unannounced visits, then this should be clearly written into the Child Protection Plan;
  • Core Groups to be recorded and held at required intervals as agreed in the plan. Core Group meeting must not be regarded as statutory visits even if the child is seen / is present;
  • Social worker to attend all Initial and Review Conferences, providing a report in advance;
  • All exemplars and case notes of visits conducted to be recorded and kept up to date in the child’s Liquid Logic case file in accordance with the recording standards using the statutory visit template Home Visit Case Recording;
  • Team Manager to scrutinise and examine the case in supervision at least monthly and record evidence of supervision, management decision making and oversight within the child’s Liquid Logic case file.


3. 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. 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 the 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.

End