This page sets out the standard of service you can reasonably expect from us. If we fail to meet these standards, we will provide a clear explanation.
On this page:
- In all our activities with your family, the child's welfare comes first
- We will work with you openly and honestly because we believe that the best way to meet children's needs is to have a working partnership with their parents
- Children have a right to be involved in decisions that affect them
- Whenever possible, parents and other carers should also be involved in decisions about their children
- Key decisions should always be confirmed in writing
- You should be treated with courtesy and respect at all times
- We are aware that you may experience discrimination because of your race, disability or gender. We will take this into account when trying to meet your needs.
- We will work closely with other agencies to improve the support we offer you.
Openness and honesty
- We will provide written information in a format you can understand
- We will involve you in all relevant meetings
- We will share all relevant information with you (apart from exceptional circumstances where disclosing information could put a child at risk).
Politeness and respect
- Our staff will turn up for meetings at the agreed time (or if this is not possible, we will apologise and offer an alternative appointment)We will make sure our offices can respond effectively to unexpected callers and emergencies
- We will make sure our children's homes, foster homes and family centres offer a warm and welcoming environment
- We will not tolerate any lack of respect by our staff.
We will promote children's rights by:
- listening to children
- involving them in decisions and meetings that affect their lives
- providing an information pack to every child being looked after
- making sure that each child has access to an independent advocacy service to help them express their views.
Race, gender or disability
- We will provide an interpreter if your first language is not English
- We will promote, develop and deliver anti-discriminatory practice
- Our assessments will take account of cultural differences and the impact of discrimination
- We will enable children to contribute to their assessments
- We will make sure a child's disability does not prevent them from receiving a service.
We will not get involved in the lives of your family any more than is necessary.
- We will only get involved on the basis of a clear plan, with clear goals
- We will only do what is necessary to achieve those goals
- We will close your case once those goals have been achieved.
Assessing children's needs is both an important first step and a continuing process; it should be carried out to a high standard.
Assessments will not always lead to a service being provided and not all needs identified by an assessment can be met from the Children and Young People's department's resources.
Priority will be given to meeting the essential social care needs of children which families are unable to meet without support. Priority will also be given to protecting children from significant harm.
In some cases, these needs may be best met by servics provided by other agencies or community resources.
- be clear about their purpose and their possible outcomes
- listen to, and take account of, parents amd children's own descriptions of their needs and how these might be met
- be open with you as to who will be involved in the assessment and ensure this involvement is properly co-ordinated
- all you to have a relative, friend or other person present to support you or speak on your behalf
- provide assistance if your first language isn't English, or you require assistance to communicate
- work to clear time limits
- produce outcomes that are shared and explained to you and which enable rational decisions to be taken on whether services are to be provided and what these should be.
Children in need (including children in need of protection)
All children who appear to meet the criteria of being "in need" will be offered an assessment if it is requested.
All children assessed as in need of protection will have an allocated worker.
We will give priority to those children who the assessment indicates are at risk of significant harm or family breakdown, leading to a need for them to be "looked after" by the local authority.
Before a child in need is accomodated by the local authority, every effort will be made and every alternative explored which might enable them to live with family and friends.
Enquiries regarding suspected child abuse will be carried out without delay. In cases of reported injury, the child will be seen as soon as possible and, in all cases, within 24 hours of referral.
All children on the Child Protection Register will have an up-to-date risk assessment and child protection plan.
All children on the Child Protection Register will be regularly visited and seen in line with their child protection paln.
All child protection cases will be reviewed regularly and at least every six months, with core groups meeting regularly between reviews.
Children's names will be removed from the Child Protection Register without undue delay when the agreed criteria for registration no longer apply.
Children looked after
Each "child looked after" will have an allocated worker.
Each child looked after will be regularly visited and seen in line with their care plan.
For all children looked after the initial central aim of their care plan will be to remove the need for them to be looked after and enable them to live with their family, unless it has already been firmly established that this is not possible.
Where it is not possible to or clearly not in a child's interests to return home, the care plan will aim to provide substitute family care which offers permanency and a sense of belonging whislt respecting a child's links with their birth family.
Where care plans involve the use of residential care, this should have a clear and specific role.
Parents should be involved in the care planning and contact should be actively promoted, except where it is clear that this would not be in the child's best interests.
The general development, education, health and welfare of a looked after child will be actively monitored and progressed.
Care plans will be reviewed one month and four months after becoming looked after and thereafter at least every six months.
Care plans will be managed so as to minimise unplanned delay in seeking permanency for children.
All children looked after will have a plan for permanency agreed at their four month review,.
Adoption will be positively pursued as the best permanency option for children who cannot live with their parents or birth family unless their is clear evidence that this is not in their best interests.
All children looked after will have a written care plan which addresses how their needs are going to be met.
Service for children looked after will be appropriate to their race, religion, gender, culture and language.
All young people approaching leaving care should have a clear and agreed pathway plan detailing the arrangements for their leaving care and the preparation and support that will be provided.