Child in Need Plans and Reviews


This chapter does not apply to children who are the subject of a child protection plan. Where the child is subject to a Child Protection Plan, this will be drawn up in outline at the initial child protection conference and in detail at the core group meeting(s). It will be reviewed by a child protection review conference. Please see the North and South of Tyne Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures in relation to the implementation of the Child Protection Plan.

For children who are in receipt of Short Breaks, also see the Short Breaks Procedure.

See also: Children and Young People Aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Procedure.


This chapter was updated in November 2021. Minor amendments were made in line with local practice.

1. Child in Need Planning Meetings

Child in Need Planning Meetings will follow an Child and Family Assessment where the assessment has concluded that further work or a package support is required to meet the child's needs under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (see Appendix A: Child in Need Procedure Flowchart and Guidance).

The Planning Meeting provides 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.

All Child in Need Planning Meetings should be attended by the child (depending on age and understanding), parents/carers and those agencies whose potential/actual contribution is recommended as an outcome of an assessment.

The relevant social worker should discuss potential attendees for the Planning Meeting with the child and the parents/carers prior to arrangements being made for the meeting.

It will be important that an appropriate venue 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. Where a child is attending a meeting and is of school age the meeting should be held outside of school time, wherever possible.

The first Planning Meeting will usually be chaired by the social worker's line manager.

The social worker is responsible for convening the meeting and arranging invitations.

A note of the meeting will be taken by the Chair. This record will be copied to those involved, including the child and parent/s, who will need to sign their agreement.

2. Child in Need Plans

A Child’s Plan will be developed in a Child in Need Planning Meeting.

Most Child Plans will envisage that Children's Services intervention will end within six to twelve months. However, some children and families may require longer term support, for example children with disabilities.

The Child’s Plan must identify the Social Worker as the Lead Professional, any resources or services that will be needed to achieve the planned outcomes within the agreed timescales and who is responsible for which action and the time-scale involved.

In particular, the Child’s Plan should:

  • Be created together with the parents, carers, child and key members of the support network;
  • Detail clearly the bottom lines, which are the minimum that must happen and cannot be compromised for the safety plan to work;
  • Have a clear Timeline that lays out how many weeks it is expected to complete the work to case closure. The timeline should detail the tasks of every member of the care team, any meetings and visits and changes to arrangements such as supervision or family time arrangements;
  • Clearly state who is involved with the plan, starting with the parents or carers and include everyone who is part of the plan (network members and professionals and the social worker), it should detail the specific tasks of each person, details of what needs to happen and how often each person will see the child. The network lead from the family network should be identified within the plan;
  • The Plan Rules will address each concerning behaviour in turn. Moving from what is working well on to stressors and triggers for 'red flag' or emergency events and consider who will do what when problems arise.

How the family will demonstrate the plan should be clear and detailed within the plan and if a plan for a safety object agreed this should also be detailed within the plan.

The named Social Worker/Lead professional is responsible for the distribution of the Child’s Plan. A copy of the Child’s Plan should be provided to the parents, child (if old enough) and key members of the network.

The Lead Professional/Social worker will be responsible for implementing the plan including making referrals to appropriate agencies for services as described in the plan.

Where it becomes necessary to make minor adjustments to the plan and support provided, any changes to the plan must be made in consultation with the parents, the child (where appropriate) and key members of the network.

3. Reviews of Child in Need Plans

Reviews will be conducted at intervals of three months following the initial planning meeting and every six months thereafter. Care team meetings should be held at an agreed frequency between reviews, every 4-6 weeks, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If there are significant changes in the family circumstances, an early review should take place.

Any child protection or safeguarding issues which arise during the course of a Child in Need Plan must be responded to in line with North and South of Tyne Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures.

The 3 month Review will usually be chaired by the social worker who should invite or seek the views of the child, parents and any service providers within the meeting.

The Review will generally take place within a meeting, unless the manager agrees otherwise. The social worker will usually chair the review meeting. The 6 month review will be chaired by a Team Manager. The Social Worker will be expected to prepare a review report prior to the meeting. The purpose of the child in need review is to ensure that the supports provided are contributing to the achievement of the objectives within the plan and timeline.

Where it is proposed that a complex package of support being provided under a Child in Need Plan should continue beyond 12 months either a comprehensible CIN review report or review or a new child and family assessment should be undertaken to review the child's needs and how they can be met. This should be considered at a 12 month review meeting chaired by the Team Manager The timeline will be reviewed and updated in the review.

The outcome of a Review will be:

  1. That the child is no longer a child in need requiring Children's Social Care Services intervention, which will result in a recommendation to the team manager that the case be closed although the child may continue to receive services from a single agency or under a multi-agency plan not involving Children's Social Care;
  2. That the child continues to be a Child in Need requiring the same level of services, resulting in the continuing provision of services and minor amendment, as necessary, of the Child’s Plan;
  3. That the child appears to be at risk of significant harm, resulting in the need for a strategy discussion/meeting and possible Section 47 enquiry.

Where the outcome of the Review is an amendment to the Child in Need Plan, the social worker should circulate a copy of the amended Plan to the child, parents, and other agencies/professionals involved in providing the services set out in the amended Plan, including any new services to be provided.