Can I see my child while they are in care?
We will always promote contact with your child, as our aim is, if possible, to reunite families when and where appropriate. However, we will only promote contact if we believe it is in your child's best interests. In some cases this contact may need to be supervised so that we can make sure that it is safe and enjoyable for both you and your child.
Why is contact with my child being supervised?
There are two reasons your contact may be supervised:
If we need to do an assessment on your relationship with your child someone may be present at your contact visits..
If we believe that the best way to make sure you and your child have a safe and enjoyable visit is to have someone else present, your contact visits may be supervised.
Who will be at our contact visit if it is supervised?
If we believe that your contact visits need to be supervised a Social Worker and/or Assistant Social Worker will be present.
Where will the contact visit take place?
The contact visits may take place at:
A neutral setting
A foster home
We will discuss with you the best place for the contact visits to happen.
How often will contact visits take place, and for how long?
This will vary, and will be set in the child's Care Plan. It will depend on the child's best interests and on the families individual circumstances.
Are there any rules?
We will set some rules that are aimed to ensure that during contact the child or young person is safe, both physically and emotionally, and will be a positive experience for both the child and parent. These rules will vary and will be explained to you by a Social Worker before the contact visits.
Are records kept of our contact visits?
Yes. We will keep records of your contact visits so that we can keep track of the progress that is being made in your family.
My child is in care, am I involved in the LAC Review?
Yes. You will be involved either by attending, if appropriate, or by completing a consultation document or by discussing the content of the LAC Review with your child's Social Worker.
Rights when a child is being looked after
The parents’ rights
If you are the parent of a child who is being looked after by the local authority, what rights you have will depend on how the child came to be looked after.
If the child is being accommodated by the local authority under voluntary measures, as a parent you retain full parental rights.
If the child is subject to a supervision requirement or an order of the court, as a parent you retain full parental rights, although these may be limited by the children’s hearing or the court.
If the local authority has a care order for your child, you do not have the parental responsibility but you have the right to be consulted or informed when significant changes are made to the care your child is receiving.
The care plan
Every child who is being looked after by the local authority must have a care plan.
The care plan should include information about:-
any services to be provided for you, including any special arrangements to meet any religious, linguistic, racial or cultural needs and
your care, education and health needs and
the local authority’s responsibilities and
your responsibilities and
your parents’ responsibilities and
details of where you will be living, and who is responsible for the accommodation and
the contribution that your parents will make to the child’s day-to-day care and
the arrangements for involving your parents in decision making and
the arrangements for contact between you and your parents and
how long the arrangement is likely to last and details of how the arrangement will come to an end and
plans for how you will be helped to return to your parents or other arrangements that may be made for you at the end of the placement.
The care plan should be clear and easy to understand and the local authority should ensure that everyone affected by it understands what it means. You and your parents should be given copies of the plan.
Where the child lives
When you are being looked after by the local authority you might stay with close relatives or close friends until your parents are able to care for you. This is known as kinship care.
Fostering means that the local authority arranges for you to live with foster carers in their own home. It enables you to be cared for in a family environment.
When you are living away from home the local authority has a duty to promote contact between you and your child/children. (See link to info to young people)
If you are accommodated under voluntary arrangements, all the people involved should try to agree the terms of contact with you.
If you are being looked after away from home under care order, arrangements for contact may have been made by the children’s hearing or court. If arrangements for contact have not been made by the children’s hearing or the court, the arrangements will have to be agreed between the local authority, and you and your parents.