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2.2 Case Records and Retention Policy for Children Looked After

This chapter was added to the manual in October 2016. All records must be retained indefinitely pending the the Jay Review.


Contents

  1. The Case Record
  2. Retention and Confidentiality of Records


1. The Case Record

An electronic case record must be established and maintained for each child. In Somerset we use 'LCS', sometimes referred to as Protocol.

The record must include:

  • The child’s Care Plan, including any changes made to the Care Plan and any subsequent plans;
  • Reports of Health Assessments;
  • Any other document created or considered as part of any assessment of the child’s needs, or of any review of his/her case;
  • Any court order relating to the child;
  • Details of any arrangements for the responsible authority’s functions to be discharged by an independent fostering provider or provider of social work services.

These should be regarded as the minimum requirements for the case record. The Statutory Guidance recommends that records should also include:

  • Details of arrangements for contact;
  • Copies of reports provided during court proceedings such as guardian’s reports and specialist assessments;
  • Additional information about educational progress;
  • Copies of all the documents used to seek information, provide information or record views given to the authority in the course of planning and reviewing the child’s case and review reports;
  • Records of visits; and
  • Other correspondence, which relates to the child.

It is also recommended that any contribution that the child may wish to make, such as written material, photographs, school certificates and similar items, should be included. Care must be taken to ensure that the child retains either copies or originals of information which will form part of his/her own progress file to keep with him/her. Any papers temporarily placed in the record which are the property of the child should be clearly marked as such.

The electronic record should be maintained in such a way that it is easy to trace the process of decision-making and in particular the views of the child and parents and saved in the documents tab of their electronic record.

CP and CLA markers on LCS need to be actioned within 24 hours of a child starting an episode of care or being the subject of a Child Protection Plan. An update is required when the child ceases to be looked after and/or comes off of a Child Protection Plan.

The child’s record should be separate from other records, such as those relating to a foster carer or children’s home, which are not solely concerned with the individual child. Where some information on one of these other records is relevant to the child, a duplicate entry should appear in the child’s record.

Records should not be amalgamated even in the case of siblings, although a degree of cross-reference and duplicate entry will be necessary.


2. Retention and Confidentiality of Records

This policy is under review awaiting the outcome of the Independent Inquiry in-to Child Sexual Abuse (Jay Inquiry).

Please do not delete any records until national guidance has been issued to clarify the requirements for retention of records.

End