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I have been told by the social worker that my care of my child has to be supervised. What does this mean?

View profile for Jasmine Lees
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Where the Local Authority have concerns about a person’s care of a child, they may commission various assessments of the person’s ability to care for them. The concerns may arise as a result of an injury to the child, the carer’s mental health difficulties or concerns surrounding substance misuse amongst other concerns. The type of assessments which may be completed of the parent’s ability to care may include:

  • Parenting assessments
  • Drug and Alcohol testing
  • Psychological Assessments
  • Psychiatric Assessments
  • Persons Posing Risk Assessments
  • Cognitive assessments

The Local Authority may also ask for the carer to engage within a number of services to reduce the concerns that are held by the Local Authority such as engaging with substance misuse services, mental health support or working with services such as probation.

During this time of assessment, the Local Authority may feel that it is not appropriate for the carer who potentially poses a risk to have unsupervised care of the child. This is a common plan whereby a child has suffered an injury suspected to be caused by one or either parent. In this situation, the other parent or family members assist with the supervision of the care for the children pending further medical information, police investigations or the outcome of assessments.

This commonly means that all care tasks that the person undertakes are supervised by the identified safety person. The arrangement may be subject to a strict safety plan which details what is allowed or not allowed and what is expected and the people who are part of the safety plan may be asked to sign a written agreement to that effect. A written agreement is not legally binding but any breach of the safety plan or written agreement will be a cause of concern for the Local Authority and they will question the protective ability of the supervisor.

The Local Authority will sometimes produce a trajectory plan to detail what steps need to be taken for the level of supervision to be reduced. There may be a requirement for a negative drug and alcohol test or a positive parenting assessment to be completed before the level of supervision is reduced depending on the concerns in the case.

There are occasions whereby a parenting assessment concludes that one person cannot care for their child long term without daily supervision by another person until the child reaches the age of 18. This arrangement would again be subject to a strict safety plan and written agreement by the parents / supervisors with the Local Authority. If the Local Authority have assessed that this level of supervision needs to occur for the foreseeable future, this may be re-assessed in the future to determine if the level of risk has changed as circumstances changes or the child’s needs change.

How Johnson Astills can help

We understand that the Local Authority being involved with your children can be very stressful and that is why we are here to help and provide advice. We have experience in assisting parents at all stages of Local Authority involvement. Please contact  Johnson Astills at either our Leicester Office on 0116 255 4855 or our Loughborough Office on 01509 610 312 and ask for a member of the Care Team so that we can advise you accordingly. Alternatively, please email us on careteam@johnsonastills.com  and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.