Help for children in need of support

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What is a Child in Need? A child or young person may be considered a Child in Need for various reasons.


If you are worried about your child you can contact your nearest office and discuss your concerns. Alternatively, with your consent, your midwife or your child’s school, school nurse or health visitor can contact us. We may then do an assessment to gather more information.

The Initial Assessment is a brief assessment of each child referred to us.

The Core Assessment is more in-depth and will be completed if your child’s needs and circumstances are more complicated. It will involve feedback from other agencies involved with your child and family (such as health, education, and support groups). It should be completed within 35 working days, and you and your child will continue to receive support while it is completed.

All children and young people have different needs, and every family’s ability to meet these needs also differs. We know that most parents want to do their best for their children and completing the assessment will help us to understand your family's strengths, as well as your difficulties. We will be looking at how you are managing to meet your child's needs and working out what may help you as a parent.

A social worker will meet with you and your family and will talk to the child or young person involved. This ensures that you all have a say in the assessment process.

We will meet with you to discuss what will happen next. The possible outcomes are:

  • We’ll take no further action if we feel that your child is not in need.
  • We’ll put you in touch with other agencies that can help you if we are unable to.
  • We’ll hold a Child in Need planning meeting to develop a Child in Need Plan.
  • We’ll do a more in-depth assessment (the core assessment)
  • A Child Protection Case Conference might be arranged if we feel that your child is at risk.

You will be asked to share your own comments about the assessment with your social worker, and these will be added to the assessment document. If you are still not happy after this feedback session, you are entitled to make a complaint. Your social worker will let you know the details of how to do this at the start of the assessment process.

A Child in Need planning meeting will be held so that we can plan what changes we hope your family can make and who will help you to reach these goals. 

All the people who are involved in your child’s life must attend a planning meeting. Parents are expected to attend the planning meetings to discuss their views. Your child may wish to attend. Other people at the meeting will include the Team Manager, the social worker who completed the assessment and members of other agencies who are either already supporting your family or who may be able to offer support.

A  Child in Need plan is to help your family to sort out their own problems by organising short term support. We make sure that everyone involved knows what their role is and what difference the support should make to your family.

Everybody involved in the plan will ensure that they meet their goals. This might include meeting regularly to discuss difficulties, attending appointments, taking part in a support group or allowing your child to meet with support workers who can help them to manage their behaviour and feelings. Later on, another meeting will be held to discuss any progress or any continuing difficulties, before deciding if more support is needed or if you are now able to continue without our support.

When everyone is happy that family circumstances have improved, our involvement will end. Sometimes, we or your family might feel that continued support will help, and this might be offered by the agencies already involved.

A child might be considered to be a Child in Need when:


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