Looked After Child Review

  • FosterWiki
  • Author:FosterWiki
  • Published:August 2023
  • Country: United Kingdom

Looked After Child Review

Looked After Child Review

A foster carer’s guide to a LAC or CLA review

Introduction to Looked After Child Review

A LAC review is an abbreviation for a Looked After Child Review, it can sometimes be a CLA Review, an abbreviation for Child Looked After. It is a meeting with all those concerned with the child or young person’s care and care plan.

At this meeting, Children’s Services will look at how things are going, whether the care plan meets the child’s needs and whether there need to be any changes for the future.
It reviews plans for the child, to see what’s happened since the last time, the progress and challenges, and concerns all aspects of the child’s life, from home life to school, family contact, friends, activities, mental health, physical health, delegated authority and more.

When does the Looked After Child Review happen

  • An initial review should be held within 20 working days of a child or young person coming into care.
  • The second review should be within 3 months, then at 6 monthly intervals after that.
  • A review can be bought forward by the IRO (Independent Reviewing Officer – who chairs the meetings) where the child’s circumstances have changed and have had a significant impact on the child’s care plan. This might be things like new directions from the court, major changes to contact/family time arrangements, significant family changes, change of social worker, safeguarding concerns, section 47 enquiries, complaints or allegations, placement breakdowns or following stability meetings, if a child is charged with an offence, excluded from school, frequently missing, significant health diagnoses, illness, accident or hospitalisation.

What’s does the Looked After Child Review cover?

The purpose of the Children in our Care Review is to:

  • Make sure appropriate plans are in place to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child.
  • Find the most effective way to achieve permanence for them within the timescales that meet their needs.
  • Monitor the progress of plans, and ensure they are being effectively progressed.
  • Made any amendments necessary to the plans to reflect any change in circumstances or new information.
  • To discuss transitions and moves into independence, including Staying Put.

The review should incorporate and consider the Care Plan, Permanence Plan, Health Care Plan, and Personal Education Plan (PEP Pathway Plan (where applicable).

The agenda should be agreed upon in advance and take into consideration the following:

  • Any change to the child’s circumstances since the last review.
  • Whether decisions taken at the last review have been successfully implemented and carried through.
  • Any change in the child’s legal status, any plans for permanence.
  • How contact/family time is going and if there are any changes and to ensure it’s being promoted.
  • How the placement is going, if there are any changes needed.
  • Ensuring the placement continues to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare, whether any safeguarding concerns have been raised.
  • The child’s educational needs are being met, progress, development and achievement.
  • Leisure interests and activities.
  • Child’s health report, any changes or recommendations to implement before next review.
  • Ensure the child’s needs are being met in regard to identity, religion, and cultural background.
  • The child’s voice is heard, they feel supported and arrangements continue to be appropriate and any changes are understood by the child.
  • Whether the delegated authority continues to be appropriate and in the child’s best interests.

Who attends the Looked After Child Review

Invitations are arranged by the child’s social worker, they must be sent out to foster carers at least 10 days before the meeting.

  • IRO – Independent Reviewing Officer, who chairs the meeting.
  • Child (where appropriate).
  • Foster carer/s.
  • Child’s social worker.
  • Supervising social worker (Link worker/fostering social worker/officer) representing the foster carers.
  • Birth family (where appropriate).
  • Designated teacher.
  • Personal Advisor (if a child is over 16).
  • Other professionals involved in the care of the child, i.e. CAMHS, health visitors, police etc.

It’s important that a balance is struck in relation to who the child wishes to be present and the need for information and input from professionals in the team around the child and birth family.

Efforts should be made to keep the number present as small as possible, and information can be provided in writing or at a separate meeting where appropriate.

The IRO should consult the child or young person about their Care Plan before each review. If the child or young person does not wish to attend the review they do not have to, but the IRO must speak to the child before the review.

The IRO should provide a written record of the decisions to all participants within 5 working days of the meeting. This should also be sent to the children’s social care manager who will consider the decisions. A full written record of the review should be completed within 15 days of the review and sent out within 20 working days.

The foster carer’s role at the Looked After Child Review

The foster carer’s contribution to the review is vital in the process of sharing views, and information, identifying new goals and promoting the child’s development.

Before each review you will be sent a report document, ideally, you should complete this as soon as possible and return it to the IRO (usually through your supervising social worker/link worker/fostering officer/social worker).

There are commonly 7 areas useful in considering how the child is doing, they are health, education, identity, family and social relationships, social presentation, emotional and behavioural development, and self-care skills.

LAC Looked After Child Looked After Child Review
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