4.12 Guidance for Recording Child in Need and Child Protection Visits

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Child in Need and Child Protection visits are an essential part of what we do. They give us an opportunity to see children in their home environment with the people who care for them.

AMENDMENT

In December 2020, this chapter was updated throughout and replaces the previous version.

1. Introduction

One of the main purposes of these visits is speak to the children on their own and review the progress of the child in need / child protection plan with them. This is NOT the same as reviewing it in a CIN review or core group; it should be a natural/age appropriate conversation that is thoughtfully recorded.

When you record a CIN or CP visit, ICS will open the following boxes that need completing and guidance for each box is given below. Note; you know the children, you know the plan - this is guidance, not an exhaustive list that you must cover every time.

NOTE: Remember to put the date and time of the visit on ICS and tick who was seen/seen alone/bedroom seen.

2. Setting

This is where you ‘say what you see’.

  • Who is in the house during the visit?
  • Is anyone missing? (Don’t forget about children’s Dads or Mother’s partners);
  • Are the family welcoming / hostile?
  • What are the family members doing on arrival?
  • What are the children wearing?
  • Anything unusual that strikes you on arrival?
  • Make sure you are clear who everyone is, both during the visit and when you record it. It’s fine to use first names if they are the immediate family you are working with but be clear who additional people are by stating their name and role for example, stating that Sally is maternal Nan.

Example:

Sarah welcomed me in. She was at home with Luke and Charlotte. Charlotte was playing with her teddies in the living room and Luke was upstairs playing on his computer. Sarah shouted up to Luke and asked him to come downstairs when he finished his game. Dad was not at home today as he had gone to see his brother. This is where you ‘say what you see’.

3. Wishes, Feelings and Observations of the Child / Young Person

This is where you record your discussion and / or observation with the child or young person.

  • Can the child verbalise their wishes & feelings? NO – observe them and record what you see:
    • Where was the child when you observed them?
    • Are they happy, calm, content or distressed? Evidence this i.e. they were smiling;
    • Are they doing something that shows they are meeting their developmental milestones (burbling, crawling, sitting up)?
    • Are their parent/carers responding to their needs?
  • Can the child verbalise their wishes & feelings? YES – talk to them and record what they say:
    • Use this time in the visit to get to know the child a bit better;
    • Where did you speak to the child / young person? If in their bedroom you may wish to describe it;
    • Have you completed an activity with them? Attach it and discuss it;
    • Have you had a conversation with them? Record it. What did they talk about? What makes them happy? What is going well for them at the moment? Is anything worrying them?
    • If they are on a plan because of emotional harm due to domestic violence the aim of the visit is to see if this harm is reducing or increasing. Talk to them in a way that is appropriate for their age and understanding about their family / arguments / violence / their feelings. If you don’t talk to the children about the issues that are impacting them – how will you know that the harm has reduced?
    • Also record the other things that you talked about; the ‘normal life’ things that show the child for who they are as well as why we are working with them;
    • If it makes it easier – add sub-headings for the things you talked to the child about.

Example of a two children who cannot verbalise their wishes & feelings (aged 22 months and 8 weeks):

Both children were clean and well-presented. Sam was in a grey baby grow and Lucy was in leggings and a flowery t-shirt. Sam was calm and settled and took a bottle really well. Lucy was passing me items/toys and said "there you go" on a couple of occasions. She was interested in Sam and was gentle with him, despite touching his head when her Mum told her not to! I had no concerns regarding either of the children during the visit today and Mum responded to both of the children appropriately.

Example of a child who can verbalise their wishes & feelings (aged 12):

Family Life – Reece’s computer game froze so he restarted it and didn't want to come down to see me. He was happy for me to go up and see him however. He was sat on his Mum's bed in his school uniform playing football. Whilst Reece is a Liverpool Supporter he was playing with Man City as they had the money! Reece and I talked about contact with his Dad. He said it is good; he didn't elaborate and when I asked what he had done with his Dad he said "not much". Reece told me that his relationship with his Mum is good. They had a little argument yesterday as he didn’t tidy his room when asked. They dealt with this though and Reece said it was only a little argument and there was no drama! Reece has no alcohol worries regarding his Mum or Dad.

School - Reece continues to be in trouble for various things at school. Reece said he doesn't want to be in trouble but is finding it hard to behave. He is talking and messing about when he should be working. School are using sanctions to try and reduce these issues and Reece didn't feel that he needed any additional support for school or his behaviour at the present time.

I told Reece I would see him again in about 5 weeks and if all is going well this is likely to be my last visit with him. He was happy with this and is aware that he can ask me to visit earlier if he wants me to. As it was the last visit I asked Reece to let me play football with him next time I come - and he laughed!

3. Discussion with Parents / Carers

This is where you record your discussion with the parents / carers.

  • Remember the aim of the visit is to see how the plan is reducing the risk / meeting the needs of the child. Whilst you can talk about ‘normal life’ ensure the conversation with the parents helps you in your analysis of progress of the plan;
  • Have they attended relevant appointments / support groups? How are they helping?
  • Has anything happened that the parents are worried about since you last spoke?
  • What do the parents feel need to change in the family to help the child?
  • If it makes it easier – use sub-headings when you record to help you see the progress of the plan.

Example:

Police involvement – Emma was upset because she has received a letter from the police stating that John has been given a Dispersal Notice and told he is not allowed in the area at certain times. Emma did not understand this and gave consent for me to speak to the police regarding this. As far as she is aware however, John has not been in trouble with the police on any further occasions but remains on bail until later this month.

Guidance & Boundaries - Emma told me that John's behaviour at home has been better. He is getting on really well with his sister’s boyfriend, Luke Smyth (03.09.1997). He was previously looked after and has been giving advice to John and supporting him and appears to be having a good influence on John. John has not seen his father for a bit as he is back in Nottingham for a trial on an old offence related to a robbery.

Mentoring – Emma has not yet heard from MALS and I advised I would chase this up for her. Emma feels that this would be a good support for John to help him get out and about more and involved in positive activities.

4. Risk and/or Protective Factors Identified in the Visit

This is where you record anything that you noted during the visit that is a risk or protective factor.

  • This may be something linked to the plan or something new;
  • Did the child disclose something that concerned you?
  • Did Mum talk about an incident to which she responded appropriately?
  • If there is nothing new that you noted it is ok to record this, for example “There were no new/specific risks or protective factors identified during this visit”.

Example:

It is important that Mum remains aware of concerns and issues of domestic violence as she may be embarking on a new relationship. Mum continues to have support from domestic violence service and Family Support Services and they will be able to offer guidance and support at this time.

A protective factor is that Anthony & his Mum had an argument but they were able to resolve this themselves in a way that no-one was worried about it.

5. Analysis / Progress of the Plan

This is where you analyse the information you have recorded in the previous boxes.

  • Was this a positive visit or a concerning visit? Why?
  • What does the information gathered today tell you about the child?
  • What does the information gathered today tell you about the parents/carers?
  • What does the information gathered today tell you about the progress of the plan? Is it working?

Example:

This visit was a positive visit. Mum has attended her mental health assessment and is willing to work with the team on a weekly basis. Tom was happy today and seemed relaxed in his Mum’s care. He told me that he is happy at home and I had no concerns during this visit. The plan continues to progress and it is important that Mum now attends her mental health meetings to ensure that progress continues.

6. Actions

This is where you record specific actions that need to be undertaken as a result of this visit.

  • What did you agree to do?
  • What did the parents / carers agree to do?
  • What did the child agree to do?

Example:

  1. Mum to attend mental health appointment on Monday;
  2. Social Worker to phone police for update on investigation by Wed 3rd March;
  3. Next CIN / CP visit booked for Thursday 17th March at 4pm.