What is the legal definition of a child in need?

Posted on Sunday, 30th Aug, 2015 at 03:42:30 PM
Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 defines a child as being in need in law if:
He or she is unlikely to achieve or maintain or to have the opportunity to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development without provision of services from the LA;
His or her health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision of services from the LA;
He or she has a disability.
The definition will include any child or young person under the age of 18.

LAs are under a general duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in need in their area. LAs must do whatever possible to ensure sufficient services and measures are in place to promote a child being raised within its own family, if it is safe to do so. The LA is obliged to offer the following specific services/support for children in need in their area:
Advice, guidance and counselling;
Occupational, social, cultural and recreational activities;
Home help (including laundry facility);
Facilities or assistance with travel to and from any services provided under the Act or similar service;
Assistance to enable the child and the family to have a holiday.
Intensive; or
Ongoing; or
Multi-agency services.
A CIN case which has been open longer than fifteen working days;
Children who have been subject to a Child Protection Plan and who receive CIN Services for a further 6 month period after the Child Protection Plan has ended;
A child, (or children), in receipt of s.17 services;
A child already receives a range of services that need co-ordinating;
Has s.17 needs that require multi-agency service provision;
Has been brought to notice because of a specific event, which highlights a range of concerns and identifies them as needing services, e.g. youth offending, stranger abuse, bereavement;
Has not been identified as needing a Child Protection Plan but for whom there are concerns just below the threshold of child protection;
Has needs that may require co-ordination arising from their parent/s' own needs but where concerns are below the threshold for child protection;
Is leaving the "Looked After" system and it is considered that a high or co-ordinated level of services will be necessary to maintain them in their family.
The reason for the meeting;
Updates since any previous meetings;
Development and/progress of the Child in Need Plan detailing;
Needs to be addressed;
Desired outcomes to be achieved and timescales;
Actions and persons responsible, services identified and timescales;
Any contingency planning as necessary;
A summary of the main points of the meeting and decisions made;
A date (within 12 weeks) to update the CIN Plan.

Children in Need (CIN) Plan - A CIN Plan is drawn up following a Single Assessment which identifies the child as having complex needs and where a coordinated response is needed in order that the child's needs can be met.

The CIN Planning Meeting should be arranged for those children in need who require:
Examples of these are:

CIN Planning Meetings can be called at any time in the process of working with a child and family, but are usually arranged at the end of the Single Assessment.

The social worker should consult the team manager or deputy team manager regarding the appropriateness of holding a CIN Planning Meeting, the date and the availability of a manager to chair the meeting (where necessary).

Consideration should be given as to any assistance that may be necessary to enable the family to attend or participate, for example; timing, transport and disabled access arrangements.

Consideration should be given to involving interpreters or someone with specific cultural or religious knowledge. The child or young person should be present (where appropriate) for some or all of the meeting.

The CIN Planning Meeting should always involve family members, unless doing so would jeopardise the child's wellbeing or that of another family member (as in cases involving domestic violence or forced marriage).

The social worker should consult and seek permission from a person with Parental Responsibility for the child, regarding any other family members and representatives of other agencies who may usefully attend.

A decision not to involve family members must be made by a Team or Deputy Manager and recorded formally.

The social worker should advise parents and any children attending that they can bring an advocate or supporter with them. Solicitors might be brought by family members as supporters or to provide legal representation, their role should be clarified and the Chair (social worker / manager) should be given notice that they are attending.

The CIN Plan must be provided to all attendees, and translated as appropriate.

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