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Keeping in touch with my 'Looked After Child'
There are many different ways in which you can be kept up to date with regards to your child’s well-being, whilst they are in the care of the Local Authority:
You may be invited to attend a Looked After Child (LAC) Review. This is a regular meeting that brings together those people who are closely concerned with the care of your child. A LAC Review is an opportunity to review how your child will be cared for whilst they are looked after and to make any changes to their care plan. It is possible for you to take a solicitor or legal representative with you to this meeting in order to provide support and guidance with any issues you may wish to raise, or to assist your understanding of the content of the meeting.
You could be invited to attend Personal Education Plan (PEP) meetings. This is an education based meeting in which you, the school, other professionals, carers, and your child can discuss your child’s educational needs. Those present will discuss how to help your child achieve their full potential by providing a focus on the actions required by those who are there to support them with their education. In addition to this, if your child has special educational needs and disabilities, they may be subject to an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and you will be able to attend reviews. At these reviews you can discuss the views and feelings that you may have, that your child may have and those of other professionals in attendance, in regard to the EHCP which is in place.
If you have parental responsibility for your child, you are entitled to receive your child’s school reports and be offered to view and purchase their school photos. Unless there are any risk concerns relating to you, you should also be able to attend parent’s evening appointments relating to your child.
There are many different types of contact that you can have with your child whilst they are not in your care, this can be agreed and arranged with the local authority. Contact between you and your child can be direct, where you get to see each other face to face. Direct contact can be supervised by local authority staff in a contact centre or in the local community, or even by family members at home. Direct contact can also be unsupervised and may take place in the day or overnight. Another form of contact is indirect contact, this includes telephone calls, e-mails, letters and gifts. There may be a requirement in an order for a named person to pass communications on to the child/children and for them to encourage your child to respond to you. There may also be a requirement for that named person to send school reports, photographs and medical information to you during indirect contact. It may be that documents are redacted to remove information which may lead to the disclosure of the whereabouts of the child.
Contact should only be restricted where it is necessary to protect the interests of your child.
Johnson Astills have a specialist care department comprising of experts in childcare law who can advise, assist and represent you throughout your involvement with Social Services. If your children are subject to a Child Protection Plan, Pre-Proceedings or Proceedings and you would like to speak to one of our specialist solicitors within the Care Department at Johnson Astills, please do not hesitate to call us on 0116 255 4855 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.