South East Children in Care Shared Agreements – Our Promise

First posted 17.2.21 Updated 20.5.21

Children in Care who are placed Out of Area (OOA) sometimes have inconsistent experience of accessing health, and specifically mental health support as part of their care. COVID-19 Lockdown has further intensified these difficulties for some children.

In addition to the importance of listening to Designated Nurses for children in care; there is particular system dependency on the view and experience of Directors of Children’s Services (DCSs) who have overall statutory responsibility for Children in Care and the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) is also crucial. IROs have responsibility for overseeing the statutory Care Planning for Children in Care and for reviewing the progress of the care plan for each child, including the sufficiency of service delivery and adaptation of the Care Plan in response to children’s changing needs and risks.

The following sets out a commitment by NIROMP’s South East IRO Network in collaboration with Leaders across the South East; a promise as Corporate Parents to every child in care. We are striving to ensure:

  • That you will always be our priority and we want to work with you to ensure that your emotional health, your education and your welfare are always well supported, building on your skills and talents;
  • If you move to live in a new area, we will let the Local Authority and the CCG know that you’ve arrived and explain what you might need;
  • If your emotional health or mental wellbeing deteriorates and you need some support and treatment, you will be able to access help in the area you live in;
  • If the service that assesses your mental health thinks that you need some support and treatment, it will get on with delivering that to you as soon as possible;
  • As Leaders in Local Authorities, CCGs and mental health services, we have agreed our individual roles and responsibilities towards you – we will stick to these agreements;
  • The service that supports you, or offers you treatment, will reclaim funding from the CCG where you lived when you first came into care, but this won’t delay the support or treatment that you need;
  • We will prioritise your need, even if the place you’re staying is for the short-term if your arrival there was unplanned;
  • We will work together as Leaders to make sure that your needs and strengths inform our planning and our design of local emotional and mental health services – we promise to work with you in the design of these services.

The following agreements set out a commitment by Leaders across the South East to Children in Care; by making a promise – a shared ambition as Corporate Parents to every child in care:

South East Community of Practice – Children in Care webinar

The South East is leading the way in thinking as systems leaders for both the emotional health and social welfare needs of our Children in Care, for whom we’re all Corporate Parents. A recent webinar (April 2021) captures the dialogue in a NIROMP South East Community of Practice event with NHS partners and wider colleagues for the benefit of all professionals working with Children in Care.

In the webinar – which you can watch below, we focus on the Children in Care Clinical and Practice Guide. This provides a practical overview of best evidenced practice in recognising, understanding, supporting and monitoring change in the emotional wellbeing and mental health needs of our Children in Care. We hear from:

  • Dr Gavin Lockhart, Clinical Lead for NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • Lee Atkins from Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC)
  • Beverley Barnett-Jones  from Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

You can download the presentations from the event here: