Terminology can often be used freely without due thought for those who are less familiar. Here are a few you may come across.

What is...?

  • Strategy Discussion - this is a multi-agency meeting including social care, education, police, health and any other agencies working with the child. It is usually held to discuss an allegation or referral where a child has been injured or has been/is at risk of significant harm. The purpose is t gather further information from agencies in order to make an informed decision about whether a S47 enquiry is needed. 

  • Section 20 - section 20 of the Children's Act 1989 is where parents agree for their child to be accommodated by the local authority (can be a family member or foster carer) whilst they work on resolving any issues they have which has prevented them meeting the basic needs of their child. The positive aspect of this from a parent's perspective is that they maintain parental responsibility and it does not go through the court. The challenge for children's social care is that a parent can take their child back at any time, this can force court proceedings if the parent is not ready to care for their child.

  • Private Fostering - this is where the child (under 16 or under 18 if they have a disability) is looked after by someone other than their birth parent or a close relative in a private arrangement for 28 consecutive days or more. A close relative is defined as a grandparent, sibling, aunt/uncle who is a sibling of one of the parents). Schools have a legal obligation to refer to children's social care if they suspect or know of a private fostering arrangement.

  •  A Written Agreement - this is an agreement compiled by the social worker and signed by the parent following concerns that have been explored following a referral to social care. It is not legally binding but can be used to escalate to a child protection conference if the parent(s) do not adhere to the agreement. 

  •  LAC review - if a child is under the care of the local authority (Looked After Child) there will be a meeting held every 6 months to review the care plan. School are often invited to this or asked to provide an update on the child's education. The meeting is chaired by an independent reviewing officer (IRO) and the child is encouraged to attend part of the meeting if appropriate.

  • Core Group - this is a meeting held in between case conferences to look at the progress made against the plan and make amendments where necessary. It is also an opportunity to discuss any new concerns which have been raised and what next steps are needed to protect the child.

  • S47 - section 47 is a child protection enquiry usually following a disclosure/referral of significant harm or allegation of current or historical sexual abuse. Depending on whether a crime has been committed (from a police perspective) it can be a 'single agency' where is it an investigation and assessment from children's social care OR a 'joint agency' investigation which includes police.

  • S17 - A section 17 is where the social worker completes a child and family assessment to assess whether there is need for further support from a social worker through a child in need plan, child protection plan or early help.