What if the parent of a child in care has not been invited to their child’s looked after review. Or given a copy of the review’s decisions
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Parents should be invited to the looked after child review. This is so they can:
- Share their views and raise questions and concerns
- Be involved in discussion and decisions about their child
- Hear information about their child’s progress and placement.
In exceptional circumstances a parent can be excluded from the meeting. This should only happen if the independent reviewing officer and social worker thinks it is not in the child’s interests for the parent to be there.
This is all set out in government statutory guidance called the IRO Handbook, at paragraph 3.17.
If this happens the social worker and independent reviewing office must:
- Give the parent written reasons for refusing to allow them to come to the review
- Ask the parent to provide their views in another way. For example, by letter, video clip or voice note. Or in a separate meeting with the independent reviewing officer before the review takes place.
Parents who are not happy with a decision not to be invited meeting should see. How can a parent or carer of a child in care under a court order complain about their child’s independent reviewing officer or about a review?
What if a parent hasn’t been given a copy of the decision made at their child’s looked after review?
After a looked after review meeting, the independent reviewing officer should:
- Prepare a written record of the review decisions or recommendations within five working days
- Prepare a full record of the meeting within 15 working days
- Pass on the full record 5 working days to everyone who attended the meeting.
If the parent did not attend or attended only part of the meeting, then:
- A decision will need to be made about whether they should receive the full record of the meeting, and
The social worker and the independent reviewing officer should discuss whether it is in the child’s interests for the parent to have the complete record, or part of it (see paragraphs 3.67 to 3.69 of IRO Handbook, this is government statutory guidance. It should be followed unless there is a good reason not to).
How can a parent or carer of a child in care under a court order complain about their child’s independent reviewing officer or about a review?
‘One of the key functions of the IRO is to resolve problems arising out of the care planning process’.
This means the independent reviewing officer has a key role to play where there are concerns or disagreements about a child’s care plan. Or about their placement.
But there may be time when a parent is unhappy with decisions made during the looked after review process. This might be to do with how the review meeting was conducted. Or could be about a decision made at the review. In this situation, parents can consider making a complaint to children’s services. See our Complaints page for easy to follow information about who can make a complaint to children’s services. And what the process involves.