This chapter was added to the Manual in October 2017.
- When to Use the Resource and Care Panel
- Commissioning of Independent Assessments, Care Packages, etc.
- Fostering Allowance
- How to Refer to the Resource and Care Panel
- Guidance for Social Workers
- Core Members of the Panel
The accommodation of a child or young person by the Local Authority is a very serious decision and one that should not take place without due process.
In the London Borough of Bexley:
We believe that good practice only happens through the relationships we have with the children, young people and adults we are trying to help. We will always be careful to balance the authority we have with empathy and respect for everyone with whom we work.
The Children’s Resource and Care Panel aims to ensure that this value is delivered in practice.
The primary aims of the Resource and Care Panel are:
- To ensure that every consideration is given to maintaining a child or young person safely within their home environment or extended family;
- To ensure that where a child does need to be looked after; in house resources are considered as the first option and used whenever possible;
- To reduce the use of external resources, especially residential so as to keep children connected to their schools, support networks and communities;
- To discuss and consider the request for internal/external resources other than accommodation;
- To ensure that the Borough’s resources are appropriately allocated and spent.
2. Resource and Care Panel Tasks
It is the responsibility of the Resource and Care Panel to:-
- Authorise plans to accommodate any child or young person under section 20 Children Act (planned and unplanned);
- To decide the type of placement requested and ensure planned use of in-house placements and prioritise need;
- To authorise and review external placements;
- To liaise with the Complex Needs Panel (Education) if there are funding implications for education;
- To ensure that Staying Together, Back Together, Family Group Conference, Family Centre, CAHMS and other community resources are fully utilised to prevent accommodation or to help the child/young person return to their family/wider family as soon as possible;
- To authorise expenditure on cases that exceeds £500;
- To authorise all on-going financial commitments to and on behalf of children, young people and their families where the expenditure total amount exceeds £500.
3. When to Use the Resource and Care Panel
- When you think a child may need to be accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act, (including unplanned respite);
- Where it appears that a change of a formally stable placement for a child in care is required either as the placement is no longer able to meet the child/young person’s needs (as outlined in the care plan) or where external resource is required;
- Where you have a complex case where an independent or expert assessment (not ordered by the court) is required;
- Where additional resources may be required and cannot be provided in-house;
- Where we are being asked to fund accommodation and subsistence for families with no recourse to public funds.
4. Commissioning of Independent Assessments, Care Packages, etc.
All requests for independent assessments, care packages, residential family assessments, independent sector residential and external foster care placements need to be agreed via the Resource and Care Panel. Clear assessments of need should be completed prior to Panel together within the outline plan. Presentation to the Panel should include:-
- What internal resources have been tried to address need;
- What exit strategies will be put in place to ensure such resources are used at a minimum necessary level only?
- How appropriate costs have been shared with other responsible agencies.
5. Fostering Allowance
- The fostering allowance budget is expected to cover all the basic maintenance needs of a child in terms of food, clothing, presents and basic holidays. Transport costs accrued in the day to day care of the child is also included;
- If a placement requires additional financial support, this should be agreed via the Resource and Care Panel; it will be time limited and subject of review.
6. How to Refer to the Resource and Care Panel
- Discuss the case first and obtain the permission of your team manager- consider other options and consider solutions;
- Consider if there are implications for SEN placement/change (invite the relevant professional from Education to attend e.g. Educational Psychologist);
- Notify the Panel Administrator two days before Panel and submit a Resource and Care Panel request form by that time. You will then be advised of a time to attend;
- The form must be signed by the Team Manager or sent to the Panel Administrator from their email account;
- It is expected that the Team Manager will attend with the Social Worker;
- It is expected that the presentation take the form of a brief written report.)
Some existing cases will be reviewed by the Panel. The Panel Administrator will notify a week in advance if the Panel is considering the case. Please supply the latest assessment or care plan to the Panel Administrator for circulation to panel members.
- Resource and Care Panel request form to be completed for all requests;
- Most recent assessment/child plan.
8. Guidance for Social Workers
As the social worker involved with the family, you will be expected to present a brief written report of your assessment (including Signs of Safety mapping). In talking about the family, be prepared to discuss:-
- A brief history – any significant events, court orders, child protection plans and current services;
- Presenting reason for the resource request;
- What has already been attempted to resolve the problem;
- What are the views, wishes and feelings of the child/young person?
- What are the views, of the parents/carers?
- Health Care Needs;
- Education issues including school placement and progress;
- Family Relationships;
- What is the long term plan?
9. Core Members of the Panel
- Head of Service Looked After Children;
- Operational Service Managers;
- Service Manager Staying Together;
- Placement Team;
- Health (Looked After Children Nurse);
- Head of the Virtual School (Looked After Children);
- Manager of the Family Centre including FGC;
- Youth Inclusion Service.