Salford Children's Services Procedures Manual Salford City Council website
Greater Manchester SCB Procedures
Greater Manchester SCB Procedures Greater Manchester SCB Procedures

3.1.6 Transfer of Cases for Looked After Children from Child Protection/Child in Need Services to Looked After children Service

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter seeks to provide a clear and consistent approach to transferring cases of children who become Looked After to the appropriate Team. It is important that whilst every child and family circumstance is considered, the matter is transferred in a timely way to practitioners who are experienced in working with Looked After Children and who are able to effectively develop Plans, including Permanence Plans, for children. It remains important that any delay is avoided.

RELATED CHAPTER

Decision to Look After and Care Planning

AMENDMENT

This chapter was fully updated in October 2014 to provide a consistent approach to children who become Looked After. The chapter now includes Appendix A: Transfer Tracking Meeting Case Tracker and Appendix B: File Audit Tool.


Contents

  1. Principles of the Protocol
  2. Transfer Points
  3. Transfer Tracking Meeting
  4. Case File Requirements
  5. Case Transfer Meeting
  6. Official Case Transfer

    Appendix A: Transfer Tracking Meeting Case Tracker

    Appendix B: File Audit Tool


1. Principles of the Protocol

Salford City Council Children’s Services are committed to ensuring that systems are in place which will promote positive outcomes for Looked After Children.

Underpinning this principle is the belief that positive outcomes will best be achieved when children:

  • Are able to attain legal permanence and, wherever this is safe to do so, within their families of origin;
  • Have timely and achievable plans made for them;
  • Have a plan to support their positive exit from care;
  • Have minimum changes of Social Worker;
  • Receive a social work service from a social worker whose specialism is Looked After Children once a plan for permanence has been identified;
  • Have a ‘service around the child’, which is flexible, responsive and able to accommodate individual need.


2. Transfer Points

Children Accommodated under Section 20 Children Act 1989

For children who are Accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 there is an expectation that a Permanence Plan will be in place by the time of the second statutory Looked After Children (LAC) Review. This review will take place within 4 months of the child having been accommodated by the local authority. A legal planning meeting will have taken place following the child’s admission to local authority care to determine if the child’s needs would best be met by them becoming the subject of a Court order.

Prior to the second LAC review a permanence planning meeting will have taken place to determine plans for securing the child’s wellbeing in the longer term. The outcome of this meeting will inform the LAC Care Plan.

Where there are no immediate plans for the child to return to the care of their parents or to another connected person, (without the need for a statutory order), the child’s case should be transferred to the Looked After Children Service at the point of the second LAC review meeting.

Where the child’s LAC Care Plan indicates that it is evident that reunification with parents is unlikely to happen in the short term then this case should be included in discussions at the Transfer Planning Meeting (see Section 3, Transfer Tracking Meeting) at the earliest opportunity. The protocol for transferring cases following on from this meeting should then be followed.

Children subject of Care Proceedings with no Plan for Reunification with Parents

Where the child’s Care Plan indicates a plan for permanence outside the family home, discussions about the most appropriate point for the case to be transferred to the LAC Service should take place at the earliest opportunity. The case should be included for discussion at the next available Transfer Planning Meeting.

In all cases where there is a clear plan for adoption; consideration must be given to involving the identified LAC social worker at the earliest possible opportunity. Clear targets should be set in terms of the case transferring over and specific tasks should be identified and allocated prior to the official transfer taking place.


3. Transfer Tracking Meeting

A monthly Transfer Tracking meeting will take place between Child Protection/Child in Need Practice Managers and Looked After Children Practice Managers to consider all cases where a child is Looked After but is allocated to a CP/CIN worker. A record of decisions made at the meeting will be taken in order to effectively track cases (see Appendix A: Transfer Tracking Meeting Case Tracker).

In cases where the child is Accommodated under Section 20 of the CA 1989 the outcome of the legal planning meeting and permanence planning meeting will be made available to aid discussion at the meeting. Where there are no clear plans for the child to return to the care of their parent(s) and where there are no plans to commence legal proceedings agreement must be reached about the case transferring to the LAC Service immediately following the second LAC review meeting. The only exception to this is where the case is being considered under the Public Law Outline (PLO) and a clear decision has not yet been made about whether Care Proceedings should be initiated. In such instances the specific case must be discussed at each Transfer Tracking meeting until future plans are clear.

When it is clear that it will become appropriate for a case to transfer from CP/CIN to the LAC Service, a tentative date should be set for the transfer to take place, taking into account the court timetable. A worker from the LAC Service should be identified and a date should be set for an introductory visit to the child and the family to take place at the earliest possible opportunity In any event a worker from the LAC Service must be identified at least six weeks before the date of transfer and the date for the introductory/handover visit should be set immediately.

The date of the Case Transfer meeting should also be set at this point.

Responsibility for liaising about dates for the above tasks lies with the CP/CIN worker with case responsibility at the time of the Transfer Tracking meeting.

Once it has been agreed who a case will be transferred to that worker should be invited to all care planning meetings and LAC review meetings in the period between them being identified as the worker taking over case responsibility and them formally taking over the case.

As the time for the case to formally transfer approaches a Case Transfer meeting should take place. This should be chaired by a Practice Manager from the LAC Service.

Where there is a decision that a case should not be transferred once a plan for permanence has been identified, the reasons for this decision must be clearly recorded on the case file. Such cases are exceptional and all parties at the Transfer Tracking meeting must be in agreement. Otherwise the case should be transferred in line with this policy.


4. Case File Requirements

The child’s case file must be up to date at the point of the case being transferred between CP/CIN and LAC. As soon as agreement has been reached that a case will transfer to the LAC Service the CP/CIN social worker will begin the task of ensuring that all relevant documents are present on the file. This task should not be left until the point of transfer.

Agreement must be reached at the Case Transfer meeting about who will take responsibility for outstanding tasks and a timescale set for completion of such tasks.

Incomplete tasks in themselves should not be a reason for delaying the transfer date as this is not in the best interests of the child.

A full list of required documents will form the basis of a case file audit to be undertaken by the social worker in preparation for cases being transferred between Teams, (see Appendix B: File Audit Tool). The social worker will indicate which documents are present and will include information about what steps are being taken to secure any outstanding documents. This information will include the timescale for any recorded actions. The CP/CIN Administrative Team will undertake a second audit of the file and will confirm that all documents indicated as being available are indeed present. If this is the case the Administrative Officer will sign off the audit document. Should there be any discrepancies the Administrative Officer will pass the audit information to the relevant Practice Manager and steps will be taken to secure the missing documentation.

When a case has transferred to the LAC Service should it transpire that any outstanding documents have not been secured within the agreed timescale or any agreed tasks not completed within the agreed timescale the LAC Practice Manager will liaise with the relevant CP/CIN Practice Manager and agreement will be reached about steps to be taken to rectify these matters. Should this issue remain unresolved the LAC Service Manager will liaise directly with the relevant CP/CIN Service Manager.


5. Case Transfer Meeting

In all cases being transferred from CP/CIN to the LAC Service a Case Transfer Meeting should take place at least 15 working days before the official transfer date.

The Case Transfer Meeting must be chaired by a LAC Practice Manager.

The date for an introductory visit whereby the CP/CIN social worker accompanies the LAC social worker to introduce them to the child and their parents (where appropriate) will already have been set following the Transfer Planning meeting when it was determined who the case would be allocated to. The introductory visit should take place before the official transfer date.

A copy of the audit document (see Appendix B: File Audit Tool) should be available at the Case Transfer Meeting and agreement reached about responsibility for any outstanding issues.

A copy of the transfer summary document should also be available at the Case Transfer meeting. This document should also clearly identify any outstanding issues and remedial actions to be taken.

Where a LAC review is due to take place within one month after the case is to be transferred the CP/CIN worker must provide an up to date LAC care plan at the point of transfer. It is the responsibility of the LAC social worker to ensure that the Care Plan is appropriately updated prior to the LAC review meeting should this be necessary.

It is expected that all case file written observations are up to date at the point of case transfer.

The word document Chronology must be up to date at the point of case transfer. It is then the responsibility of the LAC social worker to maintain the Chronology.


6. Official Case Transfer

On the agreed date the CP/CIN social worker will complete the relevant documentation on Carefirst to advise that the case is being transferred to a LAC social worker.

The Administrative Officer on the LAC Service will transfer the case on Carefirst.


Appendices

Appendix A: Transfer Tracking Meeting Case Tracker.

Appendix B: File Audit Tool.

End