Child in Need Process: The Basics

Child in Need Process: The Basics


What is the Child in Need process and where does it come from?


Section 17 of the Children Act tells local authorities what its duties are when there is a child in its area who is classed as a child in need. The Child in Need classification can come about following a referral.


It might be the first time a local authority has been made aware of a particular family in its area. In any case, the local authority should have carried out a Section 47 investigation to determine if the child is a Child in Need.


What happens when a child is classed as a Child in Need?


In order to determine how the welfare needs of a Child in Need can be met, a meeting will be held. This will usually take place at the Children’s Services offices. It is a fairly formal meeting and will be chaired by either the senior social worker, team manager, or possibly the independent reviewing officer, depending on who is available at the time and the particular policies and procedures within the local authority.


Attendees of the meeting will include the parents, health workers, the school, and maybe even the children, depending on their ages. If there is an older child, it is highly likely they will be invited to the meeting. In this case, the meeting may take place at the child’s school instead.


The purpose of the meeting is for everybody to get together and look at what support can be offered to the family.


What support can be offered to a Child in Need? 


The support offered is not necessarily particularly onerous. The support needs to be an intervention that assists in looking after the child’s welfare needs. It can be anything from visits by agencies, financial assistance, furniture, or decluttering the home.


I’m aware of families that were subject to Child in Need processes because the local authority was assisting them by paying their rent. There were no other issues, but there had to be regular meetings because the only reason that child was a Child in Need was because of the mother’s status in the country and the need to have some support in place.


What is my role in the Child in Need process? 


The Child in Need process is a formal process so there will be minutes taken and regular meetings held. It is wholly expected that all professionals engage in the process to assist the local authority in discharging its duties under Section 17 of the Children Act. It embodies having everybody working together in order to safeguard the children and meet their welfare needs. If you are invited to a Child in Need meeting, you must be prepared to be asked to contribute something and assist in terms of meeting that child’s welfare needs.

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Content Disclaimer

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Katherine T Young Ltd & Kate Young disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.

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