How do Emergency Placements for vulnerable children work?
07/02/2017 17:01:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
I sent the following question in to the Council:
When the Council is made aware of an incident concerning children that necessitates an emergency placement or somewhere to stay for the night at short notice, how does this work in practice?
Does the Council have any measurable data about the time from reporting concern to removal of the child and successful placement in a temporary safe environment?
Are there enough placements available for emergency situations?
And received this response:
During Office hours, any new referral will be made to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub.
If the child and their family is allocated to a social worker already, the social worker will be alerted.
Outside office hours, any referral will be made the Emergency Duty Social Work Service.
The incident will be the subject of an assessment by a social worker who will make a recommendation based upon the circumstances. The recommendation will be submitted to a manager.
Children will only become looked after by the Council with the agreement of a Senior Manager.
The legal basis for becoming looked after will depend on the circumstances of the child. If the parent is requesting that the child becomes looked after, such agreement can only be made of all those with parental responsibility have given their consent. The social worker will need to make every effort to contact all those adults with parental responsibility. In practice, we will seek to avoid children becoming looked after through this route in an emergency.
If the social work assessment is that a child is in need of emergency protection and those adults with parental responsibility are not in agreement with the child becoming looked after, the Council would seek legal advice to ascertain whether there are sufficient grounds to seek an Emergency Protection Order through the Family Court.
In certain circumstances, the Police are able to take a child into Police Protection and ask the Council to ensure their safety for up to 72 hours.
In all of these circumstances, it is the duty of Children’s Social Care to investigate whether there is an adult within the child’s extended family or close social networks who may be willing or able to offer care for the child.
- Due to the wide variety of circumstances, it is not possible for the Council to maintain any measurable data regarding the time from the report of concern to the removal of the child.
- Where a placement is required during office hours, and after management agreement, the social worker will make a referral to a dedicated social work team who will source a suitable placement. The social worker will complete a referral form giving the details of the child and any needs that they are aware of. This form will enable the placement team to make the best possible choice to meet the individual needs of the child.
The Placements Team will liaise with the Council Fostering Service and with independent providers to source a suitable placement.
Unless the child has some very specific needs there are sufficient placements available to meet our needs.
If a placement is required out of hours, the Emergency Duty Team will have a list of available foster carers and agencies.
Again, where a young person has very specific or challenging needs, it may take some time out of hours to find the best possible solution to keep the child safe until the next working day.