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11.2.5 Provision for Mothers and Babies in Order To Assess Parenting Capacity and/or Provide Accommodation

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure details the process when considering the need for residential provision for a mother and baby placement.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE

Children Act 1989

The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010

AMENDMENT

In September 2012 Section 2, The Procedure was amended.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Procedure
  3. Authorising and Financing Mother and Baby Home Placements
  4. Authorising and Financing Other Arrangements for a Mother and Baby


1. Introduction

Amongst the range of young people (under 18th birthday) who have babies are some who may be assessed:

  • As a Child in Need;
  • As a pregnant young woman or mother, as part of a requested adoption service;

    and provided with a range of services:
  • Any of those providable for a Child in Need (including funding to enable residence in a Mother and Baby Home) the provision of accommodation (foster home etc).

 Young Women under 18

A young person proposed for residence in a Mother and Baby Home must have been assessed as a Child in Need, or as part of the review and plan for a Child Looked After or assessed as part of adoption agency counseling.

A girl who is already Looked After should not move to mother and baby accommodation just because she is pregnant.

There will be occasions when we support the short term admission of very young girls to a Mother and Baby Home to assist decisions about the future of the baby. However, in other situations a foster home placement will be the first choice placement.

Where a mother of a baby is under 18 and is Looked After by the Local Authority - the responsibilities of the Department to then accommodate and maintain the mother extend to her child.

Mothers over 18

Pregnant woman over 18, or a mother with a young child/children, may be assessed as needing a Mother and Baby Home placement. This will normally be because of concerns to assess or assist the protection of her children, or as part of Adoption Agency counseling. Exceptionally it may be a need for short term supporting accommodation, though normally a semi independent form of accommodation will be more appropriate.

Funding voluntary or independent provision for mothers and babies is administered by the Placements Team in Children's Social Care Access to Resources Team.


2. The Procedure

The Children’s Service Manager is responsible for the decision to recommend a placement at a registered residential family centre of foster carer.

The social worker will undertake an assessment of need for any provision.

A referral is made by the social worker to the Placements Team for funding. This can be preceded by verbal exploration re availability of accommodation, but no commitment should be given to the provider.

The Service Manager (Placements) will decide the appropriateness of the referral, availability of funds and agreed timescale.

If the decision is to proceed with the placement, the Placements Team will write to the accommodation provider, with a copy to the referring Locality.

Any changes of need for accommodation, or proposed additional maintenance or assessment expenditure, should be referred to the Placements Team. Invoices for assessment should be sent by the provider to the Placements Team for authorisation.


3. Authorising and Financing Mother and Baby Home Placements

The Placements Team authorises payment from budget to providers of Mother and Baby Home care for two types of fees:

  1. Maintenance payments;
  2. In some circumstances child protection assessment fees;
  3. The criteria for child protection fees are:
    • Known risk, with removal of the baby the likely alternative;
    • Need for detailed and intensive watchfulness;
    • Assessment requested by Child Protection conference or Court;
    • Written report (and staff attendance) needed for subsequent conference or Court attendance.

The role of the Placements Team is to:

  • Approve the appropriateness of a referral to Mother and Baby Home accommodation;
  • Agree the level of expenditure;
  • Be responsible for, and monitor, the cash limited budget;
  • Liaise with key providers of accommodation, and ensure dissemination of accurate information within the Department;
  • Monitor outcomes and levels of unmet need;
  • Contribute to the development of additional or alternative resources where appropriate. 

When a Child Protection assessment period and fee is approved this will not normally be for longer than 8 weeks. The assessment fee includes the provision of appropriate reports and attendance at Conference and/or Court. However, where Court proceedings are protracted, and several attendances of Home Staff are essential to the conduct of the case, the responsible Locality Service Manager can authorise reimbursement of reasonable costs via Child Care Legal Section.

Responsibility for authorising and funding any specific follow up work by the Mother and Baby Home staff, once the mother has left the Home, lies with the originating Locality.


4. Authorising and Financing Other Arrangements for a Mother and Baby

The responsibility for agreeing and funding day assessment programme's with independent establishments and other agencies (including Mother and Baby Home) lies with the originating Locality (S.17 budget).

Responsibility for boarding out and funding a pregnant young woman under 18 with a foster carer lies with the originating Locality.

Responsibility for top up funding required for a placement in more semi-independent forms of accommodation also rests with the originating Locality. Assistance will be appropriate if:

  • The accommodation is the most suitable available; and we are supporting under our after care powers; or
  • Assisting will prevent the mother and/or the child being inappropriately accommodated by the Local Authority (S.17 powers).

In these cases it will be for a Locality Team Manager to determine that the necessary finance is available within the respective budgets, or for the Locality Manager to authorise a temporary virement within the relevant responsible Group held budgets.

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