3 WORKING TOGETHER TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN – MARCH 2013 Guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of childrenIncludes the legislative requirements and expectations on services to promote the welfare of childrenA clear framework for LSCBs to monitor the effectiveness of local servicesGuidance is for LAs, LSCB, professionals from health services, adult services, police, education, voluntary and community sectorsWORKING TOGETHER TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN – MARCH 2013
4 WORKING TOGETHER TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN – MARCH 2013 (cont) Key Principles:Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility – for services to be effective, each professional & organisation should play their partChild-centred approach – for services to be effective, they should be based on a clear understanding of needs and views of childrenWORKING TOGETHER TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN – MARCH 2013 (cont)
5 WORKING TOGETHER TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN – MARCH 2013 (cont) Information SharingEffective sharing of information between agencies is essential for effective identification, assessment and service provisionWORKING TOGETHER TO SAFEGUARD CHILDREN – MARCH 2013 (cont)
6 WHAT PUBLIC LAW ORDERS CAN THE COURT MAKE? Care order (interim or final) – allows the Local Authority to share parental responsibility with parent(s) or anyone else holding PR for the child such as a grandparentSupervision order (interim or final) - provides for the Local Authority to ‘advise, assist and befriend the child’
7 WHAT PRIVATE LAW ORDERS CAN THE COURT MAKE? Under s8 Children Act 1989 the Court can make the following orders:Child Arrangement orders (previously residence & contact orders) – to determine with whom a child should live & contact arrangements for a childProhibited steps order – no specific step shall be taken without consent of courtSpecific Issue order – giving directions to determine a specific question which has arisenWHAT PRIVATE LAW ORDERS CAN THE COURT MAKE?
8 LEGAL THRESHOLD FOR CARE/SUPERVISION ORDERS S31 (2) Children Act 1989 – A court may only make a care or supervision order if it is satisfied:(a) that the child concerned is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm and;(b) that the harm, or likelihood of harm is attributable to:(i) the care given to the child or likely to be given to him if the order were not made, not being what it would be reasonable to expect a parent to given him or (ii) the child being beyond parental controlLEGAL THRESHOLD FOR CARE/SUPERVISION ORDERS
9 LEGAL THRESHOLD FOR CARE/SUPERVISION ORDERS (CONT) Interim threshold (needed when seeking interim orders):S38(2) Children Act 1989 – a court shall not make an interim order unless it is satisfied that there are REASONABLE GROUNDS TO BELIEVE that the circumstances with respect to the child are as mentioned in s31(2)The Court must have sufficient information to evidence the above before making an orderLEGAL THRESHOLD FOR CARE/SUPERVISION ORDERS (CONT)
10 LEGAL THRESHOLD FOR CARE/SUPERVISION ORDERS (CONT) Interim Removal of a Child from care of parentsRe L A (Children) (2009) EWCA Civ 822The test from this case is that the child’s safety must demand immediate separationOr in other words, the risk of the harm to the child if left in the placement must be greater than the harm they would suffer by being removed from that placementLEGAL THRESHOLD FOR CARE/SUPERVISION ORDERS (CONT)
11 Pilot has been underway in Leicester since July 2013 Formally implemented nationally in April 2014Emphasis on ‘front loading’ work prior to court proceedingsLikely to mean social workers are requesting reports from professionals involved with the family and other agencies earlier in the process, pre-proceedings – required to evidence the Local Authority case by way of primary evidencePUBLIC LAW OUTLINE 2014
12 WHAT MAKES A GOOD COURT REPORT? Don’t make blanket statements which cannot be backed up by evidenceAvoid standard phrases such as ‘concerning’ – detail is required, give specific examplesDetailed information regarding involvement with the child/familyConcise information only dealing with salient pointsAvoid including personal judgements/valuesWHAT MAKES A GOOD COURT REPORT?
13 SUGGESTED FORMAT OF A COURT STATEMENT/REPORT Please refer to precedent statementCourt HeadingDetails of your position, qualificationsInvolvement with the family – over what period of time?, how often have you had contact?, detail parent’s level of engagement with you/your service, details of discussions with other agencies, detail any concerns in your professional opinionSUGGESTED FORMAT OF A COURT STATEMENT/REPORT
14 SUGGESTED FORMAT OF A COURT STATEMENT/REPORT (CONT) Wherever possible, ensure the information is ‘first-hand’, written by the member of staff actively involvedA Statement of Truth must be added at the end of a statement:“I declare that the information given is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and understand that it will be placed before the court and used as evidence”SUGGESTED FORMAT OF A COURT STATEMENT/REPORT (CONT)
15 ATTENDING AT COURT – USEFUL TIPS Please be conscious that when providing a statement/report, there is always a possibility you will be called to give evidenceBefore giving evidence, ensure you have re-read your report and are fully aware of the contentsSeek advice from your manager if necessaryLegal will only be able to explain the court process and cannot guide you on what to say in evidenceATTENDING AT COURT – USEFUL TIPS