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An assessment is something that happens after a referral (see under 'Referral') is made to decide whether or not the request for help qualifies for a service from Children's Services or whether or not it needs to go to somebody else. A social worker will do the assessment and will talk to all the family members about what they feel is going on and why the referral was made. The children and young people in the family will be talked with so that they can express their wishes and feelings. You have a right for your views to be expressed and for the social worker to take into account what you say when they are making decisions about what happens next.
If a Court finds you guilty of breaking the law, you can be ordered to go to an Attendance Centre. You can be made to attend for a minimum of 12 hours and a maximum of 24 hours if you are under 16, and 36 hours if you are aged 16 or over. The Centres are generally run by Police Officers and take place, usually for 2 hours a week, on Saturdays.
Activities such as physical training, sports and craft-work are organised. If you don't attend as ordered you will have to appear again before the Court and you might be given another form of punishment.
A care order is usually made by Magistrates in a Family Court who decide that the County Council should be responsible for your care. This may be because you are not being cared for properly, or because you are beyond the control of your parents.
A Care Order can last until you are 18 years old. If you feel the Court's decision is wrong, you have the right to appeal.
A Care Order may not mean that you will be living away from home all the time. If, after a while, things seem to be going well, you can be placed with parents or relatives. Care Orders can also be revoked (taken off). Either your parents or your social worker can apply for a Care Order to be revoked. In certain circumstances, you can apply yourself. This subject should be discussed at each review.
If you go into foster or residential care, a 'Care Plan' will be made. This plan will include such things as day to day arrangements, like school or college, contact arrangements with your family, medical, optical and dental appointments and time scale for movement from placement. Your contribution will be important in putting your Plan together.
(See also Independent Reviewing Officer)
A Chairperson is someone who attends Review Meetings. They ensure that things discussed at previous Review Meetings have been done and that any Care Plans made are in your best interests. They are interested in what you have to say, as a Review Meeting is about you and your future.
Children's Guardians (they used to be Guardians-ad-Litem) are independent people who are asked by the Courts to talk to you, your family and Children's Services in cases where Children's Services are seeking a legal order concerning your future. The guardian's job is to make a report to the court about your circumstances, concentrating specifically on your best interests.
The Guardian will make recommendations to the Court about what they think should happen to you in the future.
Make sure you tell the Guardian what you want to happen. They will only be appointed while legal processes are going on. Once it is finished, he/she will not have further contact with you.
Each home is different in its size, how it is run and how many young people live there. Each home has to have an up-to-date written statement of the purpose of the home and the way it is to be run. This must be kept in all community homes and anyone (including you) can ask to see it.
Residential social workers are employed to work in these homes and the number of staff working differs in each home. You will be encouraged, by the staff, to have a say in how the home is run.
If you are going to a home, ask your social worker, or those caring for you, about the home. Usually, you can visit the home before you go to live there. At this visit, your social worker and a residential worker will sit down with you to sort out what you want, what's available, what's expected of you, what you can expect of the staff and to agree a plan for the future.
After a social worker has made an assessment after a referral and thinks that the child or young person is at risk of harm from either neglect or sexual, emotional or physical abuse, they will call a Child Protection Case Conference (CPCC) at which it will be decided whether or not the children's names are entered on Norfolk's Child Protection Register. if the decision is 'yes' then a core group of people (such as social workers, teachers, and school nurses) will be formed who will be responsible for implementing a protection plan designed to ensure that the child is kept safe and that their parents are given help and advice to ensure that things at home improve. The aim of the protection plan is to bring about change in the home situation, for the better, so that the children's names can be removed from the Child Protection Register.
The child or children involved have a right to ask to attend the CPCC and express their views. (Your Social Worker should tell you how you can get involved). They also have the right to ask to attend any further conferences which are held regularly to decide whether or not things have changed to make it safe for the children's names to be removed from the Child Protection Register. All the same people are invited so that they can discuss whether or not things at home are improved enough or whether the children's names should be left on the Register until further improvements can happen.
Child protection register
The Child Protection Register is a record of children and young people that Children's Services think are at risk of harm from either neglect or sexual, emotional or physical abuse from someone in their family or even outside the family.