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12.2.4 Cessation of a Child Protection Plan for Looked After Children

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. How Does a Child Become 'Looked After'
  3. The Role of the Independent Reviewing Officer
  4. Placement with Family & Friends
  5. Cessation of the Child Protection Plan

    Appendix 1 - Cessation of Child Protection Plan Flowchart (when Conference is due to take place within next 15 days)


1. Introduction

There will be occasions when a child who is subject to a Child Protection Plan will be placed in the care of the Local Authority or placed with family members. On these occasions it will not be necessary for a child to remain subject to a Child Protection Plan as their care and any safeguarding issues can be considered by an Independent Reviewing Officer at a Looked after Children Review or it has been agreed via the court they are in a safe placement.


2. How Does a Child Become 'Looked After'

In the first instance the child will become 'Looked After' by the local authority under Section 20 of the 1989 Children Act or through an Interim Care Order:

Section 20 Accommodation

This is when a child is Looked After by the Local Authority by agreement with, or at the request of, their parents. Under Section 20 of the Children Act, it is the duty of all Local Authorities to make accommodation available for such children in need. Children may be accommodated (in residential or foster care) for a short or longer period. No court proceedings are involved, and the parents retain full Parental Responsibility.

Interim Care Order

An Interim Care Order places the child in the care of the Local Authority, with parental responsibility being shared between the parents and the Local Authority. The Court will expect to be informed by the Local Authority of what plans there are for a child and be satisfied that the Interim Care Order is in the child's best interests. The court may make an Interim Care Order (for up to eight weeks in the first instance) where, in an application for a Care Order, the proceedings are adjourned or where a court in any proceedings gives a direction for the investigation of a child's home circumstances.


3. The Role of the Independent Reviewing Officer

When a child is accommodated by the Local Authority an Independent Reviewing Officer is appointed. The IRO must:

  • promote the voice of the child;
  • ensure that plans are based on a full and proper assessment of each child's needs;
  • make sure that each child know how they can get hold of an advocate;
  • act as a safeguard against children staying in care longer than necessary, or not getting the services they need, because of a lack of good planning;
  • listen to children and see that they understand any changes to their care plan;
  • make sure that the Local Authority is a good "corporate parent" to children in care;
  • consider issues of Safeguarding.


4. Placement with Family & Friends

When a child is placed with family members (or on some occasion's family friends) they may apply for a legal order:

Child Arrangements Order

Child Arrangements Orders were introduced in April 2014 by the Children and Families Act 2014 (which amended section 8 Children Act 1989). They replace Contact Orders and Residence Orders.

A Child Arrangements Order means a court order regulating arrangements relating to any of the following:

  1. With whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact; and
  2. When a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person.

The 'residence' aspects of a Child Arrangements Order (i.e. with whom a child is to live/when a child is to live with any person) can last until the child reaches 18 years unless discharged earlier by the Court or by the making of a Care Order.

Special Guardianship Order

A Special Guardianship Order appoints one or more people to be a child's Special Guardian. A Special Guardian has responsibility for all aspects of caring for the named child. As with an adoption order, Special Guardians have Parental Responsibility for the child. But unlike an adoption order, the child keeps the legal link to their parents. If the child was Looked After by the local authority before the Special Guardianship Order was made, that tie ends – the local authority no longer has any Parental Responsibility, so the Special Guardian has no need to get them involved at all.


5. Cessation of the Child Protection Plan

When a child is the subject of a Child Protection Plan and is 'accommodated' under Section 20 of the 1989 Children Act; made the subject of an Interim Care Order, Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardianship Order the allocated Social Worker must inform the Safeguarding Chair & Independent Reviewing Officer. The Safeguarding Chair will request for a letter (Appendix A - to follow) to be sent out to all Core Group Members advising them of the change in the child's circumstances. Core Group Members will be asked to advise in writing (via e-mail) if they agree to the cessation of the Child Protection Plan within 15 working days. The responses will be placed on the child's electronic file.

If Core Group members agree the Child Protection Plan should cease this will occur on the 16th working day. If they do not agree the Review Child Protection Conference date will be brought forward. All Core Group members must attend.

In cases where the Review Child Protection Conference is due to take place within the 15 days of notification that the child's circumstances have changed, the Safeguarding Chair will contact Core Group members directly and ascertain their views. The responses will be documented by the Safeguarding Chair and placed on the child's electronic file. If there is agreement the Review Child Protection Conference will be cancelled. If there is not a consensus the Review Child Protection Conference will take place as planned.


Appendix 1 - Cessation of Child Protection Plan Flowchart (when Conference is due to take place within next 15 days)

Click here to view the Cessation of Child Protection Plan Flowchart.

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