The Family Support Panel is a weekly meeting, which considers cases with the three aims of:
- Retention. The provision of services, which retain children within or in contact with their own natural families;
- Rehabilitation. To return and rehabilitate children to their own families where it is safe and within in their best interests;
- Permanence. When it is not possible to meet the needs of the child through retention or rehabilitation, children will be placed with permanent substitute families.
2. Criteria for Referral
A referral may be made to the Family Support Panel when:
- The child or young person can only be supported in their home and community through an extensive package of support services;
- The necessary support cannot be provided through the local network of service provision both provided by Children's Social Care Services and partner agencies;
- The child has already been provided with 24 hour care either in an emergency or when they remain in placement at the time of the Family Support Panel.
3. Referral Process
The Family Support Panel meets every week on a Tuesday afternoon, and referrals must be received by 4.30 on the Friday preceding the meeting. The referral must be approved by a Service Manager and must be accompanied by the following documents:
- A Single Assessment which should include an assessment of risk levels and the steps that are being taken to manage this;
- A Child in Need Plan a Care Plan and if the child is already Looked After, the most recent minutes of their Looked After Review;
- Minutes of the local Family Support Meeting;
- Basic Information Record and a Referral for Service form.
These documents should be sent to the Service Manager (Family Support).
4. Outcomes of the Family Support Panel
The purpose of the meeting is to consider all options to maintain the child at home safely and it may be possible to identify additional resources that are not available locally.
Only if the Family Support Panel is satisfied that no other form of help will meet to the needs of the child, will a recommendation for 24 hour care be made.
When this happens the child's placement needs will be discussed at the next Placement Coordination Meeting and the Placement Coordination Team will assume responsibility for the identification of placement for the child.