Conwy’s Team Around the Family can offer an intervention with a Family Support Worker to look at issues such as parenting, relationship issues and behavioural issues.
Conwy’s Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) also play a significant role in supporting children to maintain contact where appropriate with family members (see the annual report for further case examples). The IROs have carried out a number of workshops across the authority over the last twelve months. These have provided information regarding the role of the IRO, their responsibilities, the updated legislation, the ‘powers’ of the IRO in ensuring the child’s needs are being met, and their ability to raise issues with senior management and CAFCASS (The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) if required and if they feel that the needs of the child via the Care and Support Plan are not being met.
Case Study: Role of the IRO in ensuring the child’s identity needs are being met – contact with siblings
Five children removed from their parents due to long term neglect. The children were placed in four separate foster placements, this was due to the children’s needs and ages; the eldest child has a significant physical and learning disability and was placed in an appropriate long term foster placement, two sisters who are very close in age were placed together in foster placement with the view of searching and securing adoptive placement, and the youngest two children placed in individual placements with the plan for adoption. During the course of court hearings and delay in finding appropriate adopters for the two sisters, the plan for them has been for them to remain in long term foster care.
During a LAC Review for the two sisters who are placed together, it was discussed that potential adopters had withdrawn from the process, possibly due to the children’s behaviour, and it was felt that searching/securing new potential adopters would be a difficult task, approximately 18 months had been spent on searching for potential adopters in the past for these children.
The IRO requested and recommended that the social worker convene a Legal Planning Meeting in respect of these two children to have a plan for permanency for them, with the view that the children were getting older and the likelihood of finding a match with potential adopters was becoming very slim. Also to discuss and consider the children’s contact with their parents; they had not had any contact with parents since the Placement Order had been granted.
A LAC Review was brought forward to discuss the decisions and recommendations from the Legal Planning Meeting. The children were now to remain in long term foster care.
During a review for one of the younger siblings who is in an adoptive placement, there was a discussion in relation to his contact with family members following completion of the adoption process. The social worker stated that the plan would be for him to have contact with two of his siblings (one with significant disability and one who will also be adopted, but not including the two children in long term foster care).
The social worker was challenged about this plan and asked to rethink the whole contact plan.
The social worker, with support from team manager, did this and has now arranged a meeting with the prospective adopters of both the two young children and also the foster carers who have committed themselves to providing a long term placement for the sisters to discuss their thoughts and the practicality of ensuring sibling contact takes place, this may be annual face to face contact or indirect contact.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
Within Conwy we have a dedicated Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Team. The team are committed to promoting the rights of the service user. This following practice example shows the work that has been undertaken in the authority:
The Service User was placed in a care home due to him being at risk of being sectioned under the Mental Health Act. He was persuaded to enter a nursing care home as a result of self-neglect within his home environment. Service user is a farmer by occupation and values greatly his independence. From the outset the service user has stated that once well enough it is his wish to return home. The care home approached the Local Authority (Supervisory Body) by way of a referral for an objective Deprivation of Liberty Authorisation to be made.
Assessments concluded the service user lacking mental capacity in the key area of understanding the need for him to be under continuous control and supervision in safeguarding his health and well-being. The BIA concluded that service user was objecting to the continued place he found himself in the nursing care home. A Best Interest meeting was convened with all stakeholders – Social Worker, Health Board, Lasting Power of Attorney holder and 39D Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) and nursing care home staff. A decision was made for the LPA and the IMCA to talk with service user of how a return home could be instigated.
The process has enabled the service user to challenge his placement via the Court of Protection. Under article 5 of the 1998 Human Rights Act everyone has the right to Liberty and Security. Article 8 Rights (the right to respect for privacy and a family life) may also be engaged in this case scenario.
Partnership working to protect Young Adults
The following case example demonstrates some of the work that has taken place within the Vulnerable People’s Service in helping a young adult recognise an unsafe relationship and protect themselves.
A young client was potentially involved in sexually harmful behaviour. This resulted in Safeguarding Social Work in the Conwy Access Team, Vulnerable Adults team, North Wales Police, Sexual Health Clinic working together to recognise and reduce behaviours by including the young person in the risk plan process.
The service user was provided with a mobile phone by LA to make contact, she provided information for professionals to make contact via social media. Social Worker with PCSO support went through the dangers of particular social media sites and offered support to delete accounts where client recognised where the service user may be exploited. Arrangements were made for police to conduct welfare check, if service user hadn’t made contact or if a call hadn’t been made. If the service user could not be located, they would be reported as a missing person. There were regular safeguarding meetings to ensure risk protection plan was working for client to make contact if the service user wanted to stay out overnight, leaving information of whom the service user was staying with and where.
Supporting performance data for this quality standard
People reporting that they feel part of their community
Only 47% of adult responders felt that they were a part of their community. The additional comments provide an insight into citizens who, often due to health issues, feel that they cannot get out and about, resulting in social isolation and a lack of involvement in local activities.
By contrast, adults with a learning disability felt much more positively about their place in the community, with 93% agreeing with the statement.
61% of carers feel part of the community, with additional comments suggesting that the caring role is a preventative factor in them becoming involved in activities in the local area. This is an added issue for people who have moved into the area as they do not find the time to build social networks and therefore don’t feel as though they belong.
82% of children feel that they belong in the area where they live. Only one commented that they would like to move back to England because their family is there.
Parents reporting that they felt involved in any decisions made about their child’s care and support
Of the 7 respondents, 1 agreed that they had been actively involved in decision-making, representing 14%. 57% felt that they were involved only some of the time.
Carers reporting they feel supported to continue their caring role
68% felt supported to continue in their caring role, with many providing additional comments about their circumstances, which are varied in terms of experience and quality of life. It is clear that support for carers is needed and greatly appreciated when it is delivered. One respondent commented that all she requires is someone to sit with her and listen to music as a form of respite from her daily duties. The cost of services is a source of stress and concern.
Carers reporting they felt involved in designing the care and support plan for the person they care for
79% of carers agreed with this statement.
- The percentage of children supported to remain living with their family is 74.01%
- The percentage of looked after children who returned home from care during the year is 7.33%
- The percentage of looked after children on 31st March who have had three or more placements during the year is 12.92%