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11.2.9 Family Arrangements Policy

RELEVANT CHAPTERS

Placements with a Relative or Friend (Connected Person) Procedure

Family and Friends Policy and Guidance

This chapter was added to the manual in July 2018.


Contents

  1. Guidance in Relation to Family Arrangements Made Where They May or May Not Have Been Involvement of the Local Authority but the Arrangements are Not Regulation 24
  2. Family Arrangements


1. Guidance in Relation to Family Arrangements Made Where They May or May Not Have Been Involvement of the Local Authority but the Arrangements are Not Regulation 24

  1. Authority to agree an immediate placement as a family arrangement rests with the responsible Children's Service Manager or an equivalent covering Service Manager;
  2. There is guidance on the circumstances in which a child will be deemed a looked after child when in a family placement in Family and Friends Policy and Guidance;
  3. The responsible Children’s Service Manager also has the authority to agree financial support initially on a needs led basis and then following a financial assessment the equivalent of a means tested Child Arrangement Order or Special Guardianship Order payment;
  4. Before an equivalent payment to a Child Arrangement Order or a Special Guardianship Order payment is agreed the responsible Children’s Service Manager should discuss and agree with the Children’s Service Manager Court and Permanence. This should be recorded by the Children’s Service Manager in case notes.


2. Family Arrangements

  1. Where the Local Authority is involved with a child either as a child in need or because there are safeguarding concerns; the Local Authority will assess the suitability of the proposed family arrangement. The Local Authority needs to be satisfied that the proposed arrangement meets the identified needs of the child and ensures the child is adequately protected from any identified risks. The responsible Children's Service Manager or an equivalent covering Service Manager needs to have taken into account:
    • The carer’s capacity to look after a child;
    • The nature of the carers existing relationship with the child;
    • Their state of health;
    • Particulars of any criminal offence of which they have been convicted or cautioned. Prior to all placements a PNC must be completed;
    • The home must be visited by the social worker as part of the assessment of the suitability of arrangements;
    • The child’s wishes and feelings (subject to age and understanding) must be ascertained and recorded and wherever possible, an opportunity must be provided for the child to visit the home before the decision is finalised.
  2. This manager should then record their decision on Mosaic using the headings above to evidence the decision making. The case note should clearly outline the mechanisms in place for review for example within the Child in Need or Child Protection process;
  3. The Social Worker should record their discussions with the proposed carers and parents outlining the following:
    • This is to be a family arrangement. Transparency is vital and the parent must understand that they will still hold and be able to exercise parental responsibility. An exploration of practical day to day matters and how decisions will be made to avoid confusion;
    • The Local Authority’s plans for involvement with the arrangement e.g. visiting frequency, reviews and meetings and any plans to hold a legal planning meeting;
    • Contact with relevant people. The agreement of the adults regarding who should have what contact should be explored and recorded;
    • Financial arrangements. The parent and proposed carer should be encouraged to agree any contribution to be made, who is to claim benefits for the child etc. Much will depend on what duration is envisaged for the arrangement;
    • Financial support from the Local Authority will be based on the identified needs of the child which cannot be met in any other way. If it appears necessary for discretionary payments to be made to support the placement Nottinghamshire would look to ensuring the carer is not treated any less favourably than a foster carer in a similar situation;
    • Any financial arrangements agreed will be reviewed by the responsible Children’s Service Manager every 6 weeks;
    • Ask parties concerned to record their agreement and the discussion in writing, with a signed and dated note of the conversation and the outcome.
  4. The responsible Children’s Service Manager should send out the agreed arrangements as outlined above in writing within 5 working days;
  5. Where there are safeguarding concerns a legal planning meeting should be booked to be held no later than within 12 weeks. The exceptions to this is where the children would return home and are not at risk of significant harm or where the carers have applied for orders through private law proceedings and the persons with parental responsibility are in agreement with this application;
  6. In some cases where the arrangements are more contentious then legal advice should be sought about whether an urgent legal planning meeting should be held and in some cases if there is agreement to this whether the arrangement should be Section 20 and the placement made under Regulation 24.

See: Placements with a Relative or Friend (Connected Persons) for full procedure

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