Transfer of Cases

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This guidance is written in the spirt of supporting Team Managers and Social workers across Locality, Duty and LAC to work effectively together and make child centred decisions when considering case transfers across different parts of CYPS.

The principles below are intended to reduce the number of changes of social worker for a child and their family, reduce delays in care proceedings arising from case transfers, allow for long term LAC Social Worker to refocus on care planning long term Looked After Children and for case transfers to take place at better points for children (when their permanency plan is clear) and overall lead to a more satisfactory arrangement for workers.

In order to achieve this it will require Team Managers, across different parts of the service, to lead on holding detailed, open and restorative conversations with each other during the allocation and co-working period, with decision making for the child being at the forefront. The principles will allow for social workers across different parts of the service to work together with a view to developing their social work skills in areas that they may not routinely practice on a day to day basis.

The change at this point also supports part of CYPS' growing vision in terms of the social work pathway for families open to CYPS going forward. Under the resource that we currently call locality it is likely that the point that locality begins work with families is going to change, locality services are going to expand and some of this new process will provide some of that incremental change.

Attached with this guidance is also information regarding Court timetabling and what Social Workers need to consider when timetabling cases when parallel planning for adoption.

These principles are going to be implemented immediately and will be formally reviewed in March 2019.

This chapter was added to the manual in June 2019.

1. Locality to LAC

(Long term LAC teams, generally children over 6 years where there is no immediate plan to return home).

  • If care proceedings are issued by the Locality Team for a child or a sibling group over the age of 6 years, placed in foster or residential care, then these proceedings will remain allocated to the Social Worker within the Locality Team;
  • The permanency plan for the child / young person should be determined by the 2nd LAC review and ratified at this review. For more complex cases where assessments are still ongoing, a 3rd LAC review within a short timeframe of the 2nd review will be necessary in order for the IRO to ratify the permanency plan before final legal care plans are filed to Court;
  • When a permanency plan of long term foster care has been ratified, the Team Manager and Social Worker for the Locality Team will ensure that the case is placed on the LAC transfer list for transfer to LAC;
  • The LAC Team Managers will allocate a Social Worker within 2 weeks who will commence co-working of the case to get to know the child / young person and their family. A joint supervision between the Locality and LAC Team managers and Social Workers will take place to define individual roles and responsibilities for the Social Workers up until the Court final hearing and to also enable the LAC team to advise and have input into the final legal care plan for the child / young person;
  • The child / young person will transfer over to the LAC Service within 2 weeks of the Court Final hearing.

Locality to LAC (Court and Permanency Teams with a focus on pre-birth assessments where a PLO / Court Proceedings are likely from birth, younger children 0-6 years subject to care proceedings, Early Permanency Planning and children who have an adoption plan).

  • If care proceedings are issued by the Locality Team for a baby / child or a sibling group aged 0-6 years, placed in foster care and front loading by the Locality Social Worker has determined that the likely care plan will be permanency through adoption then these proceedings will transfer to LAC following the Initial Court Hearing;
  • For mother and baby placements made by Locality, the case will remain held by the Locality Social Worker with further consideration being given once the permanency plan is clearer;
  • The case should be placed on the LAC transfer list at the point of the decision to issue care proceedings to give early notification. The LAC Team Managers will provide a named Social Worker within 5 working days (in advance of the initial hearing), for the case to transfer to LAC team in a timely way following the Interim Care Orders being granted;
  • A joint supervision between the Locality and LAC Team managers and Social Workers should then take place which will agree upon the date of transfer to the Court and Permanency Team(s). Suitable transfer point would be the Case Management Hearing or First LAC review, whichever is soonest.

Locality to LAC when the family is a mixed aged sibling group 0-17 years

  • For the older children, who are not likely to have a permanency plan of adoption, the pathway for transfer from Locality to LAC will be followed as outlined above;
  • For younger children whose care plan is most likely to be permanency through adoption, on the basis that parenting assessments and viability assessments have or will conclude negatively, the Locality Team Manager and Social Worker will place the case on the LAC Transfer list at least 4 weeks before the Child's Permanence Report is due to be submitted for quality assurance to the QAG panel. The LAC Team Managers will allocate a Social Worker within 2 weeks of receiving notification who will commence co-working of the case. A joint supervision between the Locality and LAC Team managers and Social Workers will take place to define individual roles and responsibilities for the Social Workers up until the Court final hearing. This could include consultation / support to jointly complete the CPR (the locality Social Worker would predominately complete the child, siblings and parent's personal sections and the permanency teams social worker could support with the remaining sections), sibling assessment and final care plans. The LAC Social Worker will begin to assume the LAC responsibilities for the child (statutory visits etc.) to get to know the child and commence liaison with the adoption team with regards to Family Finding;
  • The child / young person will transfer over to the LAC Service within 2 weeks of the Court Final hearing to progress the adoption care plan.

2. Duty to Locality and LAC

  • If care proceedings are issued by the Duty Team for a child or a sibling group, placed in foster or residential care, then these proceedings will transfer straight to the LAC service for the duration of the care proceedings regardless of the children's ages;
  • Looked After Children / siblings groups placed in family placements (Reg 24, S38(6) or remain at home with parents), will transfer directly from the Duty Team to the Locality Service;
  • Looked After Children where it is deemed that there is a chance of rehabilitation home to parents care within a short timeframe will transfer to the Locality Service;
  • Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children will transfer straight to LAC following the completion of the Age Assessment and Single Assessment.

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