View Safeguarding Procedures View Safeguarding Procedures

3.1.14 Reunification Guidance

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter sets out the process social work practitioners should follow when deciding whether a child looked after can return home to live with parents or those others who have parental responsibility. We call this reunification.

RELATED CHAPTERS

Permanence Policy and Guidance

Guidance on the Use of Section 20 Agreements

Ceasing to Look After a Child Procedure

Placements with Parents Procedure

RELATED GUIDANCE

The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

(See Resources and Forms and Library)

  • NSPCC Reunification Practice Framework Guidance;
  • Reunification Workflow;
  • Tools and guidance documents.

This chapter is new and was added to the procedures manual in December 2016.


Contents

  1. Background
  2. The Reunification Framework
  3. Identification and Decision 1
  4. Recording the Reunification Activity
  5. Planning the Assessment
  6. Analytical Chronology
  7. Return Home Assessment
  8. Risk Classification 1 and Decision 2
  9. Reunification Plan
  10. Risk Classification 2 and Decision 3
  11. Emergency Placed with Parents Approval
  12. Reunification Plan Review
  13. Permanence Panel
  14. Return Home
  15. Placement and Payments Recording
  16. Risk Classification 3
  17. Rescinding the Care Order
  18. Finalising the Recording on Mosaic


1. Background

Returning home to a parent or other relative is the most common outcome for children who are in care - 34% of all children who ceased to be looked after in 2013-14 returned home (Department for Education 2014).

However, research has shown that many returns home breakdown and children can experience further maltreatment which results with the children subsequently being taken back into care.

Research indicates a range of factors which contribute to these high rates of reunification breakdown including: lack of (or poor quality) assessments; passive case management; a lack of appropriate services and support for children and parents; and inadequate planning and preparation for return home and monitoring post return (Farmer and Parker 1991; Biehal 2006; Farmer 2009; Farmer et al 2011; Wade et al 2011; Farmer and Lutman 2012; Thoburn et al 2012; Farmer and Wijedasa 2013 and Farmer 2014).


2. The Reunification Framework

Leeds Children’s Services have adopted the Department for Education, NSPCC and University of Bristol Reunification Practice Framework. The framework incudes: assessment; analysis of risk and protective factors; analysis of parental capacity to sustain change; decision making; planning; and support for reunification. When considering whether reunification is a possibility for the child, social work practitioners should refer to the Reunification Practice Framework Guidance document which contains a wealth of research, tools and practice guidance. In this chapter, the procedures for using the framework are explained as we have adapted the framework and template forms slightly for use in Leeds.

It is critical that assessment of the risk and protective factors and analysis of parental capacity to sustain changes are seen as continuous live activities throughout the entire process.

The early stages of the framework are about deciding whether or not the child should return home. Later in the framework, the focus is how this should happen, what the parental goals are, and the support and services that are needed to support the family to sustain the changes that will make it safe for the child to live at home. The goals, support and services will be identified through the assessment (both in the early stages and when planning the reunification).

Social Workers should exercise professional judgement in relation to timescales when looking at sustained parental change.

The framework can fit within the 26 week time frame for court proceedings as it is similar in depth to a parenting and risk assessment However, there may be some cases where an extension to the 26 week time limit may be required. For example, cases where a parent is showing promising signs of change, but not enough time has elapse to test if the changes are sustainable. These decisions would be made by the court with the child’s timeframe in mind.

In Leeds we have developed our procedures to use the practice framework and guidance and align to our existing procedures and practice. Throughout the reunification activity all the usual statutory processes and actions for a looked after child must be followed.

Our local procedures are set out in a detailed workflow (available in the Resources and Forms Library). This workflow also informs the worker what needs to be recorded on Mosaic and when.

The following principles are the threads of good practice that run through all the work carried out with children, young people and parents in relation to reunification:

  • Child at the centre – the child’s best interests must be at the centre of decision making. The situation must be viewed from the child’s perspective by listening to them, observing them and interpreting their behaviour;
  • Child centred timescales – Having child centred timescales means balancing the time needed for robust assessments and gradual return home with children’s timeframes and their need for stability and permanence. This also includes working around important events in their lives such as starting school terms or sitting exams. Thinking about return home needs to begin from the start of the child’s entry to care;
  • Respectful engagement with families – Parents should be given reasonable opportunity and support to make the changes they need to make, whilst ensuring the child’s best interest are kept central to decision making. Social Workers should work collaboratively with parents, help them to understand the changes needed, build on their strengths, show sensitivity, offer practice support, explain the consequences of breaching agreements and break ‘bad news where necessary (Farmer et al 2011 and Child Welfare Information Gateway 2012);
  • Understanding diversity – Engaging, assessing and supporting families should be sensitive to culture, religion, disability, sexuality and gender. Workers should be aware of disproportionality and any potential bias in making decisions and delivering support to families with particular characteristics. Collaborative working, critical reflection, use of research evidence and case supervision should be used to mitigate such biases;
  • The importance of support for parents and children before and after return home – Social Workers must be aware of the importance of relationship based social work support, combined with specialist services and support from family, friends and the community. This will involve the use of Family Group Conferences;
  • Structured professional judgement and best practice in social work – the reunification work is based on core social work skills, structured professional judgement (workers and managers) within a structured and evidence based framework;
  • Collaborative working and avoiding bias – Evidence from serious case reviews and research points to the need for objectivity in assessments and ways to mitigate a range of common biases including optimism and confirmation bias (Munro 1999, Turney et al 2011, and Farmer ad Lutman 2012). For this reason, the framework promotes co-working where one worker who does not meet the family develops an in depth analytical chronology, whilst the (usually) case holding Social Worker carries out the assessment of the parents and child/ren. Decisions about whether or not the child should return home are made collaboratively at a minimum between these two workers, managers and other relevant practitioners;
  • The crucial role of the team manager in case supervision – the role of the team manager is crucial in ensuring that children and families are receiving evidence informed practice that places the child at the centre and in ensuring that workers are able to give children and families the time needed to undertake the reunification work. The team manager must familiarise themselves with the reunification framework to support staff to work within in.


3. Identification and Decision 1

The reunification framework can be used with all looked after children up to the age of 18 for whom return home is an option. The framework can apply to:

  • Children on the edge of care;
  • Children who are accommodated by the local authority under Section 20 Children Act 1989;
  • Children who are subject to section 31 Care Orders Children Act 1989; and
  • Children who are subject to section 38 Interim Care Orders Children Act 1989.

Cases will be eligible when a child has recently come into care as well as when a child has been in care for longer and the possibility of reunification is being considered. Key principles are:

  • Always consider the possibility of reunification;
  • Consider reunification from as soon as child or young person is taken into care; and
  • Think about what has changed to make it a possibility – child is much older; family circumstances and risk factors changed etc.

Children and young people may be identified as potential candidates for reunification by a range of practitioners including the allocated Social Worker, the allocated Team Manager, the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) or another practitioner working with the child or young person. Foster carers and key workers often have more contact with birth families and they may identify reunification as a possibility. Family members often request reunification and this framework gives a clear evidence base as to whether this is feasible.

Where a practitioner working with the child considers that they are a potential candidate for reunification, this should be discussed. The discussion could be supported by the quick completion of the risk classification table. Before any further action, the Social Worker must discuss this possibility in supervision with the allocated Team Manager.

Decision 1

If the Team Manager agrees that there is the possibility of reunification they will record a case decision on Mosaic that the reunification framework will be followed to explore the possibility of reunification for the child or young person. The case decision is copied to the main chronology, the Social Worker, the Advanced Practitioner and the Service Delivery Manager as appropriate.


4. Recording the Reunification Activity

When a child or young person is identified as someone where reunification is a possibility and Decision 1 by the Team Manager has been made to explore this possibility, the Social Worker or Team Manager will open up the Reunification Monitoring Form on Mosaic.

The Reunification Monitoring Form is an episode and as such, any relevant documents generated throughout the reunification activity must be uploaded to the episode. Various activities throughout the reunification work are recorded as the work continues. When a child is returned home, the ‘Outcome section’ is completed and the work saved and closed.

Equally, if the reunification work concludes because the plan for reunification is no longer being pursued, the Reunification Monitoring form ‘Outcome section’ must be completed and the work saved and closed.

As the work needed to safely return a child or young person home may take some months, the Reunification Monitoring Form is started and added to throughout the process. It is essential that the form is completed and saved so that performance reports reflect all the reunifications that have taken place and that any learning derived from reports is maximised.


5. Planning the Assessment

Following Decision 1 – to explore the possibility of reunification, the Team Manager will identify who will carry out the Return Home Assessment. This is usually the allocated Social Worker. In addition, the Team Manager identifies who will carry out the Analytical Chronology. This role of chronologist should not be allocated to a practitioner that is familiar with the case.

The chronologist must be an experienced social work practitioner with the skills and knowledge necessary to carry out the task. The chronologist could be a Social Worker or and Advanced Practitioner from the same or another social work team, an Independent Reviewing Officer, a Child Protection Conference Chair or a social work manager from another team. The Social Worker will record this information on the Reunification Monitoring Form.

It is essential that robust planning takes place to ensure that the actions required as part of the reunification framework are carried out, that all the relevant people are consulted, included and kept up to date; and there is no unnecessary delay built into the process.

An Assessment Planning meeting should take place which will set the timetable for the reunification actions to follow. The meeting will include: Chronologist; Assessing Social Worker; relevant Team Manager; child’s allocated Social Worker if they not assessing; the care givers; the parents and the child or young person is this is appropriate.

The Social Worker will meet with the child and see them alone and use the Accessible Risk Classification Table (Traffic light tool) to explain the purpose and rationale behind the assessment.

The Social Worker will also identify a ‘Trusted Adult’ for the child to talk to about the reunification. The Trusted Adult may be an advocate or an independent visitor – could also be current care giver; Social Worker should explain the reunification process and record this in the assessment.


6. Analytical Chronology

The purpose of the analytical chronology is to analyse the case history, focusing on the risk and protective factors associated with the child returning home and evidence of parental capacity to change. The chronologist will use the chronology table template to organise the information gathered, before writing up their analysis in Section 1 of the Return Home Assessment Report. Training on analytical chronologies is built in to the training for Social Workers on Chronologies.

Writing the chronology involves systematically gathering and analysing data from sources from before the child became looked after and afterwards such as:

Before looked after:

  • If the child is subject to a care order - the court legal bundle;
  • If the child is looked after under Section 20 Children Act 1989 – the assessments; Child in Need plans; Child Protection Plans; HOSDAR reports; Permanence Panel documents e.g. minutes;
  • Social work case records including child protection records

After becoming looked after:

  • Care Planning documents;
  • Contact records;
  • Review records – start here for timeline;
  • Case chronology.

Case records on full or half siblings should also be used as sources to inform the chronology.

The chronology should be presented as a critical analysis of these themes in the family’s history, and not a list of events. The chronologist will seek to bring out the underlying reasons for the parents’ difficulties.

The evidence available needs to be probed and explored to establish its accuracy and meaning. Action should be taken to address any gaps in the information. This may involve interviewing those with direct knowledge of the child and family.

Further guidance on completing the analytical chronology is available.

The date when the work to develop the chronology started should be recorded on the Reunification Monitoring Form on Mosaic and the date the chronology was completed.


7. Return Home Assessment

To support the social work practitioner to carry out the Return Home Assessment, they should refer to extensive practice guidance in the Reunification Practice Framework and Guidance document.

The social work practitioner will write up the assessment in the Return Home Assessment Report.

The date when the work to develop the Return Home Assessment started should be recorded on the Reunification Monitoring Form on Mosaic and the date the assessment was completed.

Critical to the success of a potential plan for reunification is to ensure that any housing, financial or education issues are identified early and acted on. Regarding education, the Head of the Virtual School should be consulted about any plan for reunification.

During the assessment, if any support needs are identified, action should be taken to address these including booking a Family Group Conference and making a referral to family support services.

As part of the assessment, a Police check should be carried out for any member of the household over the age of 16, any extended family members and any regular known visitors to the parental home and exploration of any protective and risk factors that need exploration.

Half way through the development of the Return Home Assessment, the Social Worker and the Team Manager should meet for a mid-point supervision to discuss the draft Return Home Assessment and the chronology.


8. Risk Classification 1 and Decision 2

When the Return Home Assessment has been drafted and the Chronology completed, the case team will meet to discuss Risk Classification 1. The case team comprise: the assessing (and allocated) Social Worker, the Team Manager and the Chronologist. Through the discussion, using the full Risk Classification Table the case team will make a recommendation about the level of risk.

Guidance about Risk Classification is available from here and within the Reunification Practice Framework and Guidance.

The Team Manager will have a discussion with the Service Delivery Manager (potentially in Supervision) about the level of risk being recommended. Following this, the Team Manager will record a case decision on the child’s record of the outcome of the discussion.

If the level of risk is confirmed as Low or Medium, the decision will be made to progress with the plan for reunification.

If the level of risk is confirmed as High, there needs to be further interventions and evidence of change before reunification can be considered. The Social Worker when agreeing parental goals, will look for sustained changed and carry out a second Risk Classification (Risk Classification 2) within six months. If the risk remains high for six months, the risk should be reclassified as Severe Risk.

If the level of risk is confirmed as Severe, the possibility of abuse or neglect is too high to permit a return home. The Social Worker will work with the child and the parents about this decision. If the child is voluntarily accommodated under Section 20 Children Act 1989, care proceedings should be considered and a plan for an alternative permanent placement should be made.

The Social Worker should record Risk Classification 1 and Decision 2 on the Reunification Monitoring form on Mosaic.

The risk classification is then confirmed with the parents, child and the care giver and others involved with the case such as the Independent Reviewing Officer. This will involve discussion of the Return Home Assessment and the Chronology. When sharing the decision with the child or young person, the Young Person’s Report and the Accessible Risk Classification Table should be used.

The Return Home Assessment must be finalised at this point and signed off by the Team Manager. The Social Worker will record the start and finish dates for the assessment on the Renunciation Monitoring Form on Mosaic.


9. Reunification Plan

A meeting should take place to plan for reunification and will include the assessing (and allocated) Social Worker, the allocated Team Manager, the current care giver, the parents, and those involved with the working with the child as part of the Team around the Child.

The aim of the meeting will be to confirm the conditions that need to be in place for the child or young person to be able to safely return home.

  • Parental agreement – the Social Worker will meet with the parents to discuss, explain and agree the changes that are needed for reunification to take place based on the assessment. To support this discussion, the Risk Classification Table will be used. Together, the Social Worker and the parents will set SMART goals – what changes need to be made, how the changes will be evidenced, the timescales for each action and how progress will be monitored. If an outcomes tool has been previously used, it would be useful to complete the outcomes tool with them again at this point. The parental agreement will be recorded on the Parental Agreement and Goal Setting Template;
  • Contingency plan – The Social Worker will continue to monitor progress against the agreed goals. They will also have identified a contingency permanence plan. The role of the current care givers will be identified within the contingency plan;
  • Communicate the next steps with the child - The Social Worker will consult the care team and agree who will see the child alone to discuss the next steps. This might be the Trusted Adult. The child or young person should be asked about their hopes and fears and the best timing for them of a return home. They should also be asked about the support they need to prepare for a return home and the changes they think their parents need to make to make a return safe;
  • Hold a Family Group conference as required – If a Family Group Conference is held, the family will develop a Family Plan and this forms part of the reunification plan. A Family Group Conference review should be scheduled in;
  • Develop the Reunification Plan – Based on all the information available, the Social Worker will draw up the Reunification and Support Plan. Any identified actions that are possible to take place now are implemented;
  • Implement the plan and monitor progress – the Social Worker will continue to monitor progress with the parent about the agreed goals and look for evidence of sustained change. In addition the Social Worker will continue to monitor the support provided, including that identified from within the family network and included in the Family Group conference Family Plan and analyse any impact on the parents progress towards meeting their goals. The Social Worker will use their professional judgement about the length of time needed to monitor progress and for how long sustained change is needed in each individual case.


10. Risk Classification 2 and Decision 3

If the outcome of Risk Classification 1 was Medium or High, the risk should be reclassified – this is Risk Classification 2. If it was previously Low, re-classification is not required unless new risks become apparent; if it was previously Severe, reunification will not be possible.

Risk Classification 2 will involve reviewing evidence of the parents’ ability to make and sustain change over the identified period to be monitored.

If previously assessed as High Risk, the worker should look for sustained demonstrated improvement and that risk has remained Medium or Low for six months.

If previously assessed as Medium Risk, there may be no changes at this point given the short timescales involved and reunification back home can continue with an appropriate support plan in place. However, changes may have been made after a sustained demonstrated improvement over a six month period and the risk can reduce to Low Risk. The outcome of Risk Classification 2 and Decision 3 will be recorded on the Reunification Monitoring Form on Mosaic.

The Social Worker will have a case discussion with the allocated Team manager and agree a reclassification of risk to recommend to the Service Delivery Manager with a recommendation to proceed with or with not for reunification as the plan for the child or young person.

If the outcome of Risk Classification 2 is that the risk is now Severe an alternative plan for permanence must be put in place as reunification will no longer be an option. The Service Delivery Manager must record a case decision on the child’s record.

A decision may be made that a further period of time is required for parents to achieve and demonstrate sustained improvement and for risk to reduce and for the risk to be reclassified after a period of six months.

If it is decided to proceed with reunification, a case decision will be recorded by the Service Delivery Manager on the child’s record that the plan is for reunification and the Social Worker will record the decision Reunification Monitoring Form on Mosaic.

If reunification is a significant change of plan from the care plan e.g. long term fostering to return home then the Social Worker will need to take the case to Permanence Panel to endorse the significant change of plan. This is discussed in Section 13 below.

The outcome of Risk Classification 2 and Decision 3 will be communicated to the parents, the child or young person and the current care giver. The Young People’s Report can be used when communicating this with the child or young person. It may be appropriate to liaise with the Trusted Adult about this.


11. Emergency Placed with Parents Approval

Where the plan is to actively proceed with reunification, overnight contact with parents (over 24 hours) should start or increase. If the child is accommodated under Section 20 Children Act 1989, placement with parents regulations do not apply.

For children who are subject to an Interim or Full Care Order, the Social Worker will need to request Emergency Placement with Parents approval from the Service Delivery Manager. The required documents to support this request are the Return Home Assessment and the Placement with Parents Front Sheet.

If approval is granted, the Service Delivery Manager will record a Case Decision on the child’s Mosaic record.


12. Reunification Plan Review

A meeting to review the Reunification Plan should take place no longer than three months from the Reunification Planning Meeting. The meeting should include the assessing (and allocated) Social Worker, the Team Manager, the current care giver, the parents and the Team around the Child and the placement service to discuss support package needed) and the young person depending on their age and understanding.

The aim of the meeting is to review the existing plan and to agree any transition planning needed, confirm roles and responsibilities, decide whether a review Family Group Conference is needed and to set key timescales for reunification. The plan will include a schedule of visits, taking into consideration key dates required if within court process.

If child was accommodated under Section 20 Children Act 1989 before reunification, incorporate the actions and goals should be incorporated into the child’s plan which should become the Child in Need plan.

The next steps will be explained at the meeting including:

  • The Parental Agreement is updated;
  • The Family Group Conference Review is held as required. This would be used to plan the specific details about the return home and identify any practical issues to address by the family network. This would include the transition home, bedrooms, family changes, continuity and feelings;
  • Increase time child spends with the birth family and work towards a gradual return home. The child should be consulted about this especially about the timing and the manner of the return home. The Social Worker will carry out visits to the child at home which must be both announced and unannounced;
  • The Reunification Plan is updated. The updated plan should confirm the support and services that will be in place when the child is at home. The updated plan should be shared with the Team around the Child and confirm with them how the services will be provided;
  • The documents will be prepared to present at Permanence Panel. The required documents are: Return Home Assessment; Chronology; Parental Agreement; Reunification Plan; and Placed with Parents front sheet (if child is subject to an Interim or Full Care Order). The placement agreement required for any new placement of a looked after child will be covered by the Parental Agreement and the Reunification Plan.


13. Permanence Panel

The Social Worker will need to book onto Permanence Panel and within the required timescales, present the case at panel with the required documentation.

It may be necessary to adjourn the looked after child review as required to fit with Permanence Panel. The adjourned looked after child review will follow the presentation at Permanence Panel. The Social Worker will provide an update for the review and to the Placement Service if appropriate (where children are cared for by Independent Foster carers or external residential placements in order to ensure adequate notice is given to providers).

The Social Worker will record on the Reunification Monitoring Form whether the reunification plan was agreed at Permanence Panel, and as required if Placement with Parents regulations been adhered to; and the date of panel.


14. Return Home

The Social Worker will record the date of when child actual returned home on the Reunification Monitoring Form on Mosaic.

At point of the child returning home, the Social Worker should update the child’s legal status accordingly on the Legal Status page.

Support services that form part of the plan should continue for at least 12 months post reunification. Support will be provided by the Team around the Child as set out in the reunification plan. Team around the Child meetings will take place at three months post reunification between looked after children reviews or Pathway Plan reviews which continue to take place at every six months.

For children and young people subject to a care order, the reviews will continue to be chaired by the Independent Reviewing Officer.

For children formerly subject to Section 20 Children Act 1989, the first review after returning home will be chaired by the Independent Reviewing Officer; then subsequent reviews will be undertaken by the Team Manager or the Social Worker as part of the Child in Need plan depending on the status of the child.

Visits that are both announced and unannounced by the Social Worker will take place at a frequency no less than the statutory requirement. The child or young person must be seen alone each time and at times out of the home.

The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) should continue to be carried out at a frequency no less than the statutory minimum. If the outcome of the previous SDQ was a non-low score, the subsequent SDQ should be at six months.


15. Placement and Payments Recording

  1. Children who are no longer looked after
    It is the responsibility of the Social Worker to record the placement end. This involves:
  • Completing the episode named Placement Movement (kinship & ceasing);
  • Creating the placement end form. In the Relevant Placement Information field, `Returned to live with parents’ should be entered;
  • Selecting the following outcomes:
    • Placement end confirmed send to Placement service payments;
    • Child or young person no longer looked after send to allocated Social Worker. This outcome creates a change of plan decision episode. This will aid the change of direction of the case, or the path to case closure;
    • Admin to send out looked after notifications send to admin;
    • Inform IRO of placement change or end send to the IRO or IRO team. This will send a notification to them, not a further episode.
    It is the responsibility of Business Support to:
  • Send looked after notifications;
  • Looked after children episodes - End the child’s legal status and placement code by clicking the `End looked after period’ button. Complete the fields and click Save.

Regarding Addresses, changes can be carried out by the Social worker or Business Support who should:

  • Record an address change from the date the child or young person returned to parents and their looked after period ended. The address type is `home address’ as they are no longer looked after.
  1. Children who have returned to parents and still have an interim or care order in place
    It is the responsibility of the Social Worker to record the Change of Placement. This involves:
  • Completing the episode named Placement Movement (kinship & ceasing);
  • Creating the placement end form. In the Relevant Placement Information field enter `Returned to live with parents under placed with parent regulations’. Therefore, record the placement in the care package. • Selecting the following outcome:
    • Placement end confirmed send to Placement service payments;
    • Admin to send out looked after notifications send to admin;
    • Inform IRO of placement change or end send to the IRO or IRO team. This will send a notification to them, not a further episode.
    It is the responsibility of Business Support to:
  • Send out looked after notifications;
  • Looked after children episodes - In this area of the record click the `New Placement button’. Complete the fields. Select P1 – Placed with own parents or other person with parental responsibility in the `new placement code’ field. The legal status remains unchanged.

Regarding Addresses, changes can be carried out by the Social worker or Business Support who should:

  • Record an address change from the date they were placed with parents. The type of address is `Primary placement address’ as the child continues to be looked after.


16. Risk Classification 3

The Team Manager and the Social Worker should formally reclassify the risks again six months after the child or young person has returned home. If the outcome is that the risk remains low, the plan should continue. The Social Worker should record the outcome of Risk Classification 3 on the Reunification Monitoring Form on Mosaic.

If the outcome is that the risks have increased, there should be a case discussion with the Service Delivery Manager. At a minimum, a Team around the Child meeting should be held to review the parental goals and the support provided to help reduce the risk to low again. The child’s plan should be updated accordingly.

Social work involvement will continue at a minimum until the parents have sustained a classification of low risk for at least six months following the child or young person returning home. Any withdrawal of support should be tapered and gradual. The Social Worker should signpost the family to universal and targeted services as required.

The SDQ should be completed once the child or young person has been home for six months. If an outcomes tool has been used through the process, this should also be carried out again once six months post reunification. Any new goals or outcomes to be achieved should be included in the child’s plan.


17. Rescinding the Care Order

Once the child or young person has been home for at least six months, and the outcome of Risk Classification 3 is that the risk continues to be low, the Social Worker should start to discuss with the Team Manager the timing in talking to legal services and making an application to the court to rescind the care order.

The primary aim of placement with parents is to test out reunification and children should not remain under placement with parents regulations for longer than is necessary. Clearly, if concerns increase and risks do not reduce alternative permanence plans must be in put in place.

If and when the Care Order is rescinded, usual procedures and recording applies.


18. Finalising the Recording on Mosaic

Once the child has been home for six months or the child has returned to being in care during this period, the outcome must be recorded on the Reunification Monitoring Form on Mosaic. Any reasons for the child not returning home or staying at home with their family should be recorded on the form.

The Social Worker should check that each section has been completed and the section completed buttons ticked. The form should then be saved and closed. If this happens, performance reports will be able to be run to reflect all the reunifications that have taken place and provide essential learning from the reunification activity to drive improvement in this area of work.

End