Logo Alt Text will go here

OxfordshireChildren's Services Procedures Manual

Child in Need Plans and Reviews


This chapter applies to children and families where the outcome of an assessment has identified a need for a continuing involvement by the Children, Education and Families Directorate but where the criteria for a Child Protection Conference are not met.



  1. Planning Meetings
  2. Child in Need Plans
  3. Reviews

1. Planning Meetings

  1. Oxfordshire's policy is that Child in Need Plans will be managed through multi-agency Core Groups, in a similar way as Child Protection Plans are managed;
  2. An Initial Child in Need Core Group Meeting will be held within 4 weeks of completion of a Child and Family Assessment (Single Assessment) where the assessment has concluded that the child is at Level 3 of the Oxfordshire Threshold of Need Matrix and a package of family support is required to meet the child's/family's needs;
  3. This meeting is an opportunity for a child and his or her parents/carers, together with key agencies, to identify and agree the package of services required and to develop the Child in Need Plan;
  4. All Child in Need Core Group Meetings should be attended by the parents, other significant family members, the child (depending on age and understanding) and by those agencies whose potential/actual contribution has been indicated within the assessment;
  5. It is important that those agencies and individuals invited to attend are the ones that the parents and/or the child consider are able to help, support or assist them and/or those who can best promote the well being of the child;
  6. Once an assessment indicates that a Child in Need plan is required the Assessment Team manager will meet with the relevant Family Support Team manager to agree the point at which case responsibility will be handed over. The Family Support Team manager will identify a suitable worker for the case and this worker will liaise with the assessment team worker to discuss the assessment findings, arrange the initial core group meeting and undertake a joint visit where possible before the initial core group meeting;
  7. The assessing social worker should discuss potential attendees for the Child in Need Core Group Meeting with the parents/carers and/or the child prior to arrangements being made for the meeting;
  8. It will be important that appropriate venues suitable for the child and his or her family are used for the meeting. Consideration must be given to transport, timing and any child care issues;
  9. Child in Need Core Group Meetings will be chaired by the assessing social worker or his/her Team Manager;
  10. At the end of the meeting, the Child in Need Plan will be drawn up by the Chair. The Plan will be copied to those involved, including the child and parent/s, who will need to sign their agreement.

2. Child in Need Plans

  1. The Child in Need Plan will be informed by the Child and Family Assessment and will require the continuing involvement of a social worker;
  2. Most Child in Need Plans will envisage the cessation of services involving the Children, Education and Families' Directorate within twelve months. However, exceptionally, it may be that in order to prevent a crisis from being reached, some children and families may require longer-term support;
  3. Such exceptions may include:
    1. Disabled children;
    2. Children whose parents/carers are disabled;
    3. Children of asylum seekers.

In all cases, consideration should be given to implementing a contingency plan where objectives are not being achieved after twelve months.

The Child in Need Plan must identify the  allocated social worker and the name of who is responsible for which action and the time-scale involved.

A copy of the Child in Need Plan should be provided to the parents, child (if old enough) and the agencies or other professionals involved in the provision of services under the Plan.

Where it becomes necessary to make adjustments to the plan and services provided, any changes to the plan must be made in consultation with the parents and the child (where appropriate) and key professionals from other agencies. If there are significant changes in the family circumstances, a formal review should take place.

3. Reviews

  1. Review of Child in Need Plans will take place through regular core group meetings, for which the timescales are as follows:
    1. Reviews of the Child in Need Plan will take place at least every 4 months after the initial core group (or more frequently if required) for the duration of the plan;
    2. Reviews of the Child in Need Plan will take place at least every 4 months after the initial core group (or more frequently if required) for the duration of the plan;
    3. In the case of disabled children the frequency of review will depend on the type of service provided, at the team manager's discretion, and may be at 6 monthly or annual intervals in some cases (e.g. direct payments provision may require annual review), Annual review is the minimum requirement.
  2. The review will be led by the social worker, who should invite or seek the views of the child, parents and any service providers;
  3. The Review will take place within a core group meeting, unless the manager agrees otherwise. The social worker or his/her manager will usually chair the meeting; in the Disabled Children Service variations on this may be agreed by the team manager;
  4. The purpose of the Review is to ensure that the services provided are contributing to the achievement of the objectives within the time-scales set;
  5. The outcome of a Review will determine:
  6. Whether the child is no longer a Child in Need requiring services, resulting in a recommendation to the manager that the case be stepped down to community based services or closed;
  7. Whether the child continues to be a Child in Need requiring the same level of services, resulting in the continuing provision of services and amendment, as necessary, of the Plan;
  8. Whether the child appears to be a Child in Need requiring increased services to safeguard and promote his or her welfare, resulting in the possible need for a Strategy Discussion and possible Child Protection Assessment;
  9. If a third 4 month review takes place  the core group must be clear why the continuation of a Child in Need plan is required and why the case is not escalated to Child Protection or pre-proceedings or de-escalated and closed to Children's Social Care.

The outcome of the Review should be recorded in the Child Plan Review and Record of Core Group episode and a copy of the record sent to the child (if old enough), parent(s) and all other participants in the Review process.

The social worker should circulate a copy of the record of the meeting and the updated plan to the child, parents, and other agencies/professionals involved in providing the services set out in the Child in Need Plan, including any new services to be provided.