5.1.18 Reunification for Looked After Children
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure highlights the importance of ensuring proper assessments undertaken and plans are in place when a child is being reunited with their family, and seeks to provide an overview of the activities carried out by children's social care.
This chapter was added to the manual in August 2018.
When a young person is returned home from being Looked After, all professionals must ensure appropriate plans of support are in place for the young person and wider family. The young person's views and their parents' views must be sought, considered and included when determining levels of support and intervention. There should not be a gap in provision of services when cases transfer between services.
Returning home to a parent or relative is the most common outcome for looked after children. However, children continue to face abuse and neglect when they return home. It is vital that we work together – across social work, health, education and all other professions working with looked after children – to ensure effective decision making about when it is in a child's best interest to return home and to ensure that they are provided with high quality support to protect them from further harm.
2. Action to be taken by Children's Social Care
Where the Care Plan for a child or young person is to return home; appropriate assessments and planning need to be carried out beforehand.
A Single Assessment must be completed, supported by the NSPCC Guidance - Returning home from care: What's best for children and a review convened, prior to the return home, to ensure that all necessary preparation for the return is carried out and the appropriate support and services identified. It is expected the reviews will be held prior to any planned return home as stipulated in The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015).