Children Accommodated by Health and Education Authorities, Residential Care Homes, Nursing Homes or Mental Nursing Homes
1. Legal Requirements
Section 85 of the Children Act, 1989 requires Health Authorities or Local Education Authorities to notify the Local Authority when they have accommodated a child for three months consecutively, or intend to do this. They must also notify the Local Authority when they cease to accommodate such a child.
Section 86 of the Children Act, 1989 requires notification in the same circumstances from "a person carrying on" a residential care home, a nursing home or mental nursing home. Failure by these establishments to give this notice can be an offence. The Local Authority has the power to enter the premises listed in Section 86 to ensure that the requirements are being complied with. Identification must be provided for this purpose.
In the situations in the paragraphs above, the notification is to be given to the Local Authority in whose area the child is ordinarily resident, and if there is none, that in which the accommodation is situated.
The duty of the Local Authority is to take reasonably practical steps to determine whether the child's welfare is being adequately safeguarded and promoted. They must also consider whether they need to exercise any of their functions under the Children Act, in relation to the child.
2. Children's Social Care Service
It is the policy of the Children's Social Care Service that all notices in relation to Sections 85 and 86 of the Children Act will be directed first to the Service Standards Unit. The Service Standards Unit undertakes inspection and registration functions in respect of certain independent care arrangements, and in doing this liaises with Health and other authorities. The Service Standards Unit will record the information they receive to assist them in carrying out their functions. The Service Standards Unit will forward the notification to the district in which the child is placed, together with their comments on the status of the placement.
On receipt of the notification the Area Service Manager will arrange liaison with the placing agency and, if necessary, arrange for the child to be visited and a social work assessment to be done.
The notice is received by the Service Standards Unit who will take appropriate action within their registration or inspection functions.
The Service Standards Unit inform the relevant district who will make enquiries of the appropriate care, placement or notifying Authority and decide if sufficient information exists to make a direct assessment of the needs of the child unnecessary. If there is insufficient information about the child's welfare, contact, reviews etc., an assessment of needs must be arranged.
The Children's Services Manager in the district will arrange for any action required in relation to an assessment of the child's needs or to safeguard their welfare.
Where, in the course of an assessment, concerns arise in relation to the establishment in which the child is placed, the district Children's Services Manager will notify the SSU of these concerns.
The district Children's Services Manager will also notify the agency in whose establishment the child is placed or the manager of the establishment, as appropriate, with details of the concerns.
The address for receipt of notices is:
Commission for Social Care Inspection
Riverside Business Park