When Social Care is Involved with your Child

We understand that coming into contact with the Children’s social care can raise questions for parents and carers.

When children’s social care become involved with your family an allocated social worker will assess your child’s need and formulate a plan with you about what services you would find helpful. The assessment will be reviewed by a manager within 10 working days and it should be completed within 40 working days.

To help, we have produced various leaflets which should answer some questions and lead you to where further information and advice can be found. These can be found in the related downloads section at the bottom of this page, a selection of which are as follows:

  • Obtaining help from Specialist Services: Information on how we assess what services children may need.
  • Parental Responsibility: Who has parental responsibility for a child and what this means.
  • About your child and concerns about neglect or abuse: Information for parents and carers about our child protection procedures.
  • What happens if your child has a child protection plan: Information for parents and carers whose child has become the subject of a child protection plan following a child protection conference.
  • About your child being looked after : Information for parents and carers when your child becomes looked after.
  • Keeping in contact with your child: Information for parents and carers whose child is looked after, including how you can keep in touch with your child and the circumstances where contact may be restricted.
  • Reviews of your child's care plan when they are looked after: Gives information for parents and carers whose child is looked after concerning how we go about reviewing the care plan and day-to-day arrangements for the child's care. It describes how you can be involved in your child s review.
  • Planning and Permanency for Children: This is a leaflet for parents and carers where a long term and permanent plan is needed for their child. This describes what we mean by permanency, why it is important and the different options we look at. It also sets out how we involve you in these decisions.
  • About your child returning to home to your care: Information on what we aim to do where the permanence plan is for a child to return home to live you.
  • Family and friends care, information to parents: Information for parents and carers where the permanency plan is for your child to live with extended family members or close friends.
  • About your child being in foster care: Information for parents and carers where the permanency plan involves their child living long term with a foster carer.
  • About your child and residential care: This leaflet is for parents of children's whose long term plan involves residential care.
  • Adoption: a guide for birth parent: This is for parents of children who are looked after who may be adopted.
  • Guide to Placement Orders: Further information for parents whose child is to be placed for adoption.

Southend's group for parents of looked after children

We also run a regular group for parents whose children are looked after. This group offers support and information to parents who have a child or children who are looked after by us. The group meets in St John's Church at the bottom of the high street about 6 times a year.

Parents tell us they do not understand the processes involved in the looked after children system. If they do not understand how the system works they cannot work together with social workers in the best interests of their children.

We meet about 6 times a year and parents who have come to the meetings tell us they find the meetings helpful and supportive.

This group is an important way for managers to get feedback from parents about how they feel the system works. We use feedback from the group to improve the way we work with parents to improve outcomes for their children.

Guest speakers attend as requested by parents. In the last year we have invited the Family Rights Group, Cafcass, a solicitor from our legal team and a solicitor specialising in family law, and staff from the fostering team, as well as a foster parent.

Information leaflets for parents are available and we also answer any general questions about how we work.

We don't discuss individual children at the meetings but we take note of issues and consider improving or changing our practice as a result. We signpost parents to people who will be able to answer any particular questions.

We write to parents to invite them to the meetings if we think it would be helpful and they would feel able to participate. We also ask social workers and reviewing officers to tell parents about the group and encourage them to attend. If you would like to come to our meetings but haven't received an invitation please ask your child's social worker for details of the next meeting.

Organisations which help families involved with Specialist Services include:

Family Rights Group

The Print House
18 Ashwin Street
London E8 3DL
Freephone 0808 8010366
Email - advice@frg.org.uk

If you wish to complain you can ask to speak to the local manager and explain why you are not satisfied. You can also write to:

The Complaints Manager
Department for People
Southend Borough Council
Civic Centre
Victoria Avenue
Southend-on-Sea
SS2 6ER
Phone: 01702 215007
Email: childrenscomplaints@southend.gov.uk

Page last updated: 10/07/2017