Social Worker Visits


  1. Normal Frequency
  2. Who Should Be Seen
  3. Purpose
  4. Recording

1. Normal Frequency

Social workers have a statutory obligation to visit child at the following intervals, subject to the conditions below:

  • Within one week of the placement;
  • Then at intervals of no more than six weeks during the first year of the placement;
  • In subsequent years, the child should be visited every six weeks (if the placement is intended to last until the child is 18).

This applies to all placements, even where a child has moved from one placement to another. These are minimum requirements and may take place more frequently or in line with the child's Care Plan. The social worker should endeavour to visit whenever reasonably requested to do so by the child. Visits during the first weeks of placement are particularly important to ensure arrangements are in place and to develop the relationship between the child and the social worker.

Some visits should be unannounced.

2. Who Should Be Seen

Wherever possible, the child must be seen in private and alone (unless the child of sufficient age and maturity and refuses). If this is not possible, a further visit must be made at short notice in order that the child can be seen alone and observed with the staff.

The social worker should also meet the Manager of the home and staff, on occasions.

The social worker should be aware of who else lives in the home and they should know about changes in structure and composition as well as the relationships within the home.

For children who are not able to verbally communicate their views, the social worker should ensure that observations of the child are made in the home and also in other settings, for example, school.

Issues raised by staff can be discussed when a child is not present for example when they are at school.

Social workers should provide feedback to staff regarding their visit.

3. Purpose

The purpose of the visit is to ensure the placement continues to promote the child's welfare and in particular:

  1. To give the child the opportunity to express his or her wishes, feelings and views and offer reassurance if the child feels isolated or vulnerable while away from family and friends;
  2. To advise, assist and befriend the child;
  3. To monitor the standard of care offered by the placement;
  4. To monitor how the contact arrangements are working;
  5. To provide support to the placement;
  6. To identify any areas where additional support is required;
  7. To evaluate whether the placement is helping to achieve the objectives and actions of the Care Plan.

Placement Planning Meetings can be undertaken during social workers visits.

See Care and Placement Planning Procedure.

4. Recording

Home's staff should record visits in the Daily Log and on children's Daily Records. The social worker should discuss with the child, subject to the age and understanding what information should be shared with who and why.

A written report on each visit must be made by the social worker and kept in the child's file stating clearly:

  1. Who was seen;
  2. Whether the child was seen and if not why not;
  3. Whether the child was seen alone;
  4. Any comments made by the child or the staff/parents;
  5. Any developments or progress;
  6. Any matters of concern or difficulties.