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1.4.3 Children and Families Moving Across Boundaries

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1. Introduction

1.1 Families who move across local authority boundaries can present difficulties in terms of safe, reliable and consistent delivery of services.
1.2 The universal services offered by Health and Children's Services (Education) are a function of the area in which a child is living.
1.3 Arrangements for delivery of Children's Social Care are more complex, and this chapter seeks to make them explicit in defined circumstances.
1.4 Effective transfer of information between geographical areas and agencies is critical in the circumstances described.


Scope & Definitions

1.5

This chapter provides information about:

  • Indicators of risk for children who move / are moved across boundaries;
  • Best practice for information transmission;
  • Case responsibility and arrangements when a child subject to a Child Protection Plan moves between local authorities;
  • Case responsibility and arrangements when a Looked After child moves to another local authority;
  • Attribution of responsibility for Section 47 Enquiries;
  • Procedures for hospital in-patients;
  • A child arriving in Milton Keynes from overseas.
1.6

For the purposes of these procedures, the term:

  • 'Originating authority' refers to the authority in which the child previously lived; and
  • 'Receiving authority' to the authority to which the child has moved.

2. Indicators of Risk

2.1 When families move frequently, it can be more difficult for agencies to monitor a child's welfare and identify any risks.
2.2 When families move rapidly it is often hard for any one agency to gain a clear understanding of risks. A child may be at risk of abuse and neglect but no agency is aware, as they have not had time to collate information and assess. It is vital that when a vulnerable child moves, even if there is no assessed risk of abuse or neglect, any information concerning vulnerability and need is shared immediately. It is the responsibility of the agency passing on the information to ensure it has been received by the relevant receiving agency.
2.3

Along with the indicators of risk in the Recognising Abuse and Neglect Procedure the following circumstances associated with children and families moving across local authority boundaries are a cause for concern:

  • A family not being registered with a GP;
  • Children missing from a school roll or persistently not attending;
  • Homelessness, in so far as it impacts on the welfare of the child;
  • Information 'patch worked' across a network of agencies with no single agency holding the whole picture of a family history;
  • Hospital Emergency Departments offering treatment to a child who appears not to be engaged with primary health groups.
2.4 Without regard to their specific role, staff in all agencies must be alert to the possibility that a child or family who comes to their attention may not be in receipt of universal services.
2.5 All agencies, which come into contact with families who have moved, must ensure they establish basic information i.e. full names, dates of birth, previous address, registration with doctor and enrolment in school. The relevant agency must be notified if a child is not appropriately registered / enrolled.

 

3. Best Practice for Information Transmission

3.1

Particular care must be exercised by all agencies in contact with those moving across boundaries to collect accurate information on any child in need and share this with other agencies e.g.:

  • Ensuring all forenames and surnames used by the family are provided, and clarification is obtained about the correct spelling;
  • Ensuring that accurate dates of birth are obtained for all household members, where at all possible;
  • Obtaining the previous full addresses, and earlier addresses within the last 2 years, including any addresses where the child has lived abroad;
  • Clarifying relationships between the child and other household members, if possible with documentary evidence;
  • Asking child / family with which statutory or voluntary organisations they are in contact.
3.2 Professional staff in originating authorities must ensure counterparts in the receiving authority have been sent a copy of all relevant records within 5 days of being notified / becoming aware of the move.
3.3 Professional staff in receiving authorities must ensure that they request relevant records from their counterparts in originating authorities as soon as practicable following notification of the move.
3.4 All attendance of children at Hospital Emergency Departments, minor injury units and NHS walk-in centres should be communicated to community based staff via paediatric liaison services, or alternative system.

4. Child in Need 'Moves Between Authorities'

4.1

This procedure clarifies the:

  • Responsibilities of the originating and receiving authorities when a child, who is an open child in need case, moves between their geographical areas;
  • Process the two authorities should follow in making and responding to requests for case transfer.
4.2

The procedure covers arrangements for Children in Need, including one subject to aFamily Assistance Order (FAO), but excludes those:


Responsibilities & Procedure for Receiving Authority

4.3

When Milton Keynes is notified by another local authority that a Child in Need who is an open case to children's social care has moved into its area, the following actions must be taken by Milton Keynes as the receiving authority:

  • The responsible team/group manager for Milton Keynes as the receiving authority must first ensure that full details of the incoming family members are obtained; and
  • The manager must obtain full details of any previous assessments undertaken, including any financial responsibility exercised by the originating authority; and
  • The manager for Milton Keynes as the receiving authority must ask for written confirmation of the request for case transfer from the originating authority, including a summary of what action is needed;
  • The manager who has accepted the referral must (within 15 days of first being notified of the move) inform the originating authority in writing, what the proposed action is by the service.
4.4

The following conditions apply:

  • Milton Keynes as the receiving authority will not be expected to accept case responsibility if the move is a temporary and short term arrangement lasting for less than 6 weeks however, they will be expected to provide interim support if agreed with the originating to be in the child's best interest;
  • Milton Keynes as the receiving authority will not be expected to accept financial responsibility where the move is temporary as above;
  • Any acceptance of financial responsibility by Milton Keynes as the receiving authority must be confirmed in writing by a team/group manager.


Responsibilities & Procedure for Originating Authority

4.5

When a child in need who is an open case has moved into the area of Milton Keynes, the following actions must be taken by Milton Keynes as the originating authority:

  • The child's social worker in Milton Keynes as the originating authority must notify the receiving authority of the move;
  • Notification may be initially by phone, but must be confirmed in writing within 7 days -written notification must include a summary of what action is needed;
  • The written confirmation must state whether Milton Keynes as the authority from whose area the family is moving will retain case responsibility or not;
  • Any relevant assessments, reviews and reports must also be sent with the initial letter -the file itself should not be sent, but a closing summary which details what action has been taken and who has agreed to take case responsibility must be recorded on the child's electronic social care record;
  • If the case is being closed the social worker in Milton Keynes as the originating authority must complete the electronic social care record.


Disputed Arrangements

4.6 If there are any disputes about the acceptance or transfer of cases, these should be resolved at team/group manager level, or exceptionally by the service managers.
4.7 Procedures cannot cover all eventualities and decisions about case responsibility must ultimately be based on children's needs. In some cases e.g. where children of the same family may be living separately, discussion between managers should clarify which authority will take overall case responsibility, based on the long-term needs of the children concerned.

5. Child Subject of a Child Protection Plan

5.1 When families plan to move they should be made aware that information will be shared with Children's Social Care in the receiving authority.
5.2 Where there are significant concerns about a child, the transfer to another authority should not deter the originating authority from initiating Care Proceedings.


Case Responsibility

5.3 The responsibility for the child subject to a Child Protection Plan remains with the originating authority until the receiving authority's transfer conference (see below).
5.4 The designated safeguarding manager of the receiving authority must place the child on its database as subject of a Child Protection Plan from the actual date of the move or when informed of it (if this is later).
5.5 Responsibility for the management of the case up to the Child Protection Conferencewill remain with the originating authority. Where the originating authority is some distance away, the receiving authority should agree to implement the Child Protection Plan, on behalf of the originating local authority, from the date of the move.
5.6 The Receiving-In Child Protection Conference should be convened by the receiving authority within 15 working days of notification of a child subject to a Child Protection Plan elsewhere having moved to its area (see Section 2, Receiving-In Conference, of the Child Protection Conference Procedure).
5.7 The child must remain subject to a Child Protection Plan in the originating authority until it receives confirmation a conference has taken place and that the receiving authority has accepted case responsibility.
5.8 The designated safeguarding manager of the receiving authority must inform her/his equivalent in the originating authority in writing of the result of the conference.
5.9 The written confirmation of acceptance of case responsibility must be obtained and included on the case record.


Responsibilities in Originating Authority

5.10 If a worker from any agency discovers that a child who is the subject of a Child Protection Plan is planning to move, or has moved out of/into the area s/he should inform the Lead Social Worker / Children's Social Care immediately, and confirm this information in writing, whenever practicable on the same day.
5.11 The Lead Social Worker must inform all other professionals involved in the case as well as the receiving Children's Social Care. If the move has occurred already the Lead Social Worker should complete this task immediately. If the move is to be within the next 14 days, the Lead Social Worker should complete this task within 1 working day.
5.12 The Lead Social Worker from the originating authority must inform the designated safeguarding managers of both originating and receiving authorities of the (proposed) move.
5.13

It is the responsibility of each agency in the originating authority to try to ascertain that the:

  • Reciprocal agency in the receiving authority receives detailed information and is made aware of the need to fulfil its role in the protection plan;
  • Lead Social Worker is informed of the name and details of staff in the receiving area;
  • Lead Social Worker is notified of any factors affecting the protection plan.
5.14

The Lead Social Worker / safeguarding manager in the originating authority must:

  • Provide relevant documentation, including the Child and Family Single Assessment, previous conference reports and child protection plans;
  • Make contact with agencies in the receiving authority to ensure that the level and type of service being provided satisfies the requirements of the protection plan;
  • Discuss any difficulties with her/his supervisor;
  • Initiate use of any of the local authority's statutory powers made necessary by the move;
  • Provide a report for (and attend) the transfer conference.
5.15 When case responsibility is to be transferred the Lead Social Worker must inform all agencies in the originating authority of the arrangements, so that staff can transfer records, attend the conference and/or provide information to the receiving authority's Receiving-In Child Protection Conference.
5.16 If the Lead Social Worker cannot attend the receiving-in conference, the team/group manager should attend and ensure s/he is fully briefed.


Responsibilities in Receiving Authority

5.17 When a planned transfer of responsibility for a case is being arranged a representative of the Children's Social Care of the originating authority must be invited (in writing) to attend the receiving-in conference, along with any other significant contributors to theChild Protection Plan.
5.18 Children's Social Care in the receiving authority must ensure, prior to the receiving-in conference, that it has received sufficient relevant information from the originating authority to clarify details of the case, responsibility for the child and plans.
5.19 Each of the receiving local agencies must ensure that the receiving-in conference has all the relevant information required to make fully informed decisions and develop a proper protection plan, including information from the originating authority's agencies.
5.20 If all the background information is not received prior to the receiving-in conference, the conference should be cancelled at the discretion of the chair (in consultation with the safeguarding manager) and the originating authority retain responsibility. The safeguarding manager must write to her/his counterpoint in the originating authority to state that case responsibility has not transferred, provide a new conference date and formally request the background documents.


Joint Work

5.22 In all cases joint 'handover' visits should have occurred or be arranged at the conference.
5.23 The Receiving-In Child Protection Conference may recommend that although case responsibility is transferred to the receiving authority, joint work continues for a time limited period with staff from agencies in the originating authority.


Exceptional Retention of Child Protection Responsibilities by Originating Authority

5.24 Where the Child Protection Plan specifies a move out of an authority for a defined and time limited period, the originating authority should retain case responsibility, but may require the assistance of the receiving authority to carry out the protection plan.
5.25

Examples of these circumstances are where a:

  • Child temporarily stays with friends/ family in, or goes on holiday to, another authority;
  • Mother together with baby is provided with a time limited placement in a mother and baby unit / residential drug rehabilitation unit in another authority;
  • Parent will be supported for a time limited period to live with a specified person - e.g. relative or friend in another authority;
  • Temporary move into bed & breakfast / homeless accommodation.
5.26 Another exception, which may justify individual arrangements, is when a family constantly moves and no one authority is able to adequately monitor the welfare of the child.
5.27

Whenever any of the above circumstances apply, the Lead Social Worker must:

  • Agree with her/his team/group manager that the originating authority should, in the best interests of the child, retain case responsibility;
  • Inform the designated safeguarding managers of both authorities and request that the child is placed on the database of the receiving authority as being subject of a Child Protection Plan;
  • Provide the receiving authority with written information including the Child Protection Plan and the most recent Child and Family Single Assessment; and detail the level of participation required of the receiving Children's Social Care in implementing the plan;
  • Make contact with agencies in the receiving authority to ensure that the level and type of service being/to be provided satisfies the requirements of the protection plan.
5.28

Both team/group managers must:

  • Confirm in writing their agreement to case responsibility being retained by the originating authority for a specified period;
  • Ensure that the arrangements made satisfy the requirements of the protection plan.
5.29 The designated safeguarding manager of the receiving authority must place the child's name on the authority's database as being subject to a child protection plan.
5.30 If team/group managers are unable to immediately agree case responsibility, they must refer to their respective designated safeguarding managers, who should determine case responsibility.

6. Child Looked After by Originating Authority

Attribution of Children's Social Care Responsibility

6.1

A Looked After Child remains the responsibility of the originating authority until:

  • S/he is discharged from accommodation; or
  • Agreement is reached, and confirmed in writing by its team/group manager, that the receiving authority will accommodate child/ren.


Responsibility to provide / obtain information

6.2 The social worker in the originating authority must, prior to the child's move (and in addition to informing relevant agencies in the originating authority), inform the receiving authority's Children's Social Care of the child's placement and ensure that relevant agencies in the receiving authority are aware of the child's needs.
6.3 It is the responsibility of health and education agencies in the originating authority, prior to the child's move, to provide information to their colleagues in the receiving authority.
6.4 Where this has not arrived by the time the child moves, it is the responsibility of the receiving agencies to request the information.

7. Child Subject to Statutory Order in Originating Authority

Attribution of Children's Social Care responsibility

7.1 Children subject to a full Care Order or an Interim Care Order remain the responsibility of the originating authority until the order is discharged or expires.
7.2 Where a Care Order is in force, the receiving authority may, (and this must be confirmed in writing by its team/group manager or above) agree to provide required services on behalf of the originating authority, but the legal responsibility remains with the originating authority.


Responsibility to provide / obtain information

7.3 In cases where Children's Social Care is aware in advance of a child's move, the social worker in the originating authority must, prior to the child's move inform relevant agencies within the originating authority and the receiving authority's Children's Social Care of the child's placement.
7.4 The social worker must also ensure that appropriate agencies in the receiving authority are aware of the child's needs.
7.5 It is the responsibility of health and education agencies in the originating authority, prior to the child's move, to provide information to their colleagues in the receiving authority.
7.6 If this information has not arrived by the time the child moves, it is the responsibility of the receiving agencies (once they become aware of the child's arrival) to request the information.

8. Arrangements for Section 47 Enquiries

8.1 A local authority has a lawful responsibility to conduct a Section 47 Enquiry regarding suspected or actual Significant Harm to a child who lives, or is found in its area.
8.2 The term 'home authority' refers to the authority holding case responsibility, or if the child is not known to Children's Social Care, the authority where the child is living (this could be either an 'originating' or 'receiving' authority).
8.3 The term 'host authority' refers to the authority where a child may be found, is visiting for a short break or in receipt of specified services e.g. education (this could be either a receiving authority without case responsibility or an entirely different authority).
8.4 In situations where the child is found, staying in or receiving a service from a 'host' authority other than her/his 'home' authority where s/he usually lives, it is not always clear which authority is responsible for protecting the child and conducting enquiries.
8.5

The following are examples of these circumstances:

  • A child found in one authority but subject to a Child Protection Plan in another authority;
  • A child Looked After in another local authority;
  • A child attending a boarding school in another area;
  • A family currently receiving services from another local authority;
  • A child staying temporarily in the area but whose family remain in the 'home' authority;
  • A family who have moved into the area, but where another authority retains case responsibility temporarily;
  • A child suspected of being abused - e.g. by a person identified as presenting a risk in the host authority.


Attribution of Responsibility for Enquiries

8.6 Where more than one authority is involved with a child, Children's Social Care responsibility for a Section 47 Enquiry will depend on whether the allegations or concerns arise in relation to the child's circumstances within her/his 'home' authority or within their 'host' authority.


Principles

8.7

The following principles must be applied:

  • Negotiation about responsibility must not cause delay in urgent situations;
  • There must be immediate and full consultation and co-operation between both host and home authorities, with both involved in the planning and undertaking of enquiries;
  • Case responsibility for the child lies with the home authority;
  • Any emergency action required should be taken by the host authority unless agreement is reached between authorities for the home authority to take alternative action - e.g. if geographically close;
  • Where allegations arise in relation to the child's home circumstances, the home police CAIU and Children's Social Care will lead the enquiry, involving the host authority where the child is placed;
  • Where allegations arise in relation to the child's circumstances within the host local authority, - e.g. abuse in school or placement, the host Children's Social Care and police CAIU have responsibility to lead the enquiry liaising closely with the home authority and police CAIU (it may be agreed, if it is in the child's interest's, for the home authority and /or CAIU to undertake the enquiry);
  • Where emergencies and enquiries are dealt with by the host authority, responsibility for the child will usually revert to the home authority, following negotiations.


Procedure

8.8 There must be immediate contact between home and host authorities, initiated by the authority that receives the referral.
8.9

The home and host authority will agree initially:

  • Any need for urgent action;
  • Responsibility for any urgent action and enquiries in accordance with the above principles;
  • Responsibility and plans for a strategy discussion;
  • Responsibility for liaison with other agencies.
8.10

The following must be told, and sent written confirmation, of the referral (subject to theInformation Sharing and Confidentiality Procedures):

8.11 If agreement cannot be reached within the working day, Children's Social Care where the child is found has the responsibility to undertake the enquiry and take any protective action necessary (see also Organised & Complex Abuse Procedure and Allegations Against Staff, Carers and Volunteers Procedure).


Strategy Discussions

8.12 Strategy Discussion must be held within the time scales set generally (see Section 5, Strategy Discussion, of the Section 47 Enquiry Procedure) and be convened, administered and chaired by the responsible Children's Social Care as defined above.
8.13

Attendance at the Strategy Discussion must include:

  • (If relevant) a managerial representative of the service provider (unless suspected of involvement in the child protection concerns);
  • Home authority Children's Social Care responsible for the child/ren;
  • Host authority Children's Social Care;
  • Representatives of other agencies and authorities as decided by the responsible Children's Social Care (in consultation with the other authority).
8.14

Information provided to the strategy discussion will depend on the source of the concern, but must include basic details of the child/ren and family as well as relevant information about:

  • Family and (where applicable) placement history of the child;
  • Basic details about alleged abuser (where applicable) employment history for staff member/ foster carer/ volunteer etc.;
  • Registration history for the establishment or service.
8.15 Minutes of the Strategy Discussion must include decisions, actions, responsibility for actions, time scales and review and closure process.


Outcome of enquiries

8.16

The outcome must be conveyed in writing by the social worker (in accordance with the safeguards in chapter 3) to:

  • All local authorities with children affected;
  • All local authorities using the same service or placement;
  • All agencies involved;
  • The child/ren where appropriate;
  • Parents, carers and any others with Parental Responsibility;
  • The employee, foster carer, volunteer or other worker involved in the concerns;
  • The appropriate regulatory authority;
  • The DH or Department for Education as appropriate.


Families moving whilst Section 47 enquiries being conducted

8.17 In the event a family moves whilst a Section 47 Enquiry is being made - e.g. to a refuge in another authority, the originating authority should convene a strategy discussion within 72 hours which includes the receiving authority.
8.18 The originating authority retains responsibility until the completion of enquiries unless an alternative is agreed. If a conference is required it should be convened in the receiving authority.
8.19 Where there are significant concerns about a child, the transfer to another authority should not deter the originating authority from initiating Care Proceedings.


Role of officers responsible for placements

8.20

If allegations or concerns about a placement are subject of enquiries, officers responsible for placements in host and home authorities must:

  • Consider the implications for other children and must pass relevant information to other placing social workers;
  • Halt new placements until enquiries are concluded and outcomes evaluated;
  • Inform the regulatory authority (OFSTED) of the placement;
  • Having considered the outcome of the enquiry, decide implications for future placement and confirm in writing to establishment/carer the outcome and implications for future use of the placement;
  • Follow up any other matters as appropriate in relation to the establishment or its management, staffing or registration.

9.1 Hospital admissions (including rehabilitation / mother and baby units) should not be regarded as a 'move of home'.
9.2 The responsible authority remains that within which the patient's home is located exceptwith regard to arrangements for Section 47 Enquiries (see Section 8, Arrangements for Section 47 Enquiries.
9.3 Where the patient no longer has a home address e.g. if the family was homeless or gave up a tenancy at the time of, or since admission, the responsible authority becomes that within which the hospital is located.


This page is correct as printed on Wednesday 24th of October 2018 05:45:07 AM please refer back to this website (http://mkscb.procedures.org.uk) for updates.
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