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Child in need

A ‘child in need’ is a child who is thought to need extra help from children’s services if they are to achieve or maintain ‘a reasonable standard of health or development’. This is defined in law (Section 17 of the Children Act 1989) and includes all disabled children.

Children’s services have a duty to protect and promote the welfare of all children ‘in need’ in their area. They will decide whether or not a child is ‘in need’ by carrying out a child in need assessment.

If the assessment concludes that a child does need extra help, children’s services will normally draw up a child in need plan with the family. This spells out what help will be provided to the child and family, and who by. The plan should also make clear when a review will be done.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Child in need

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