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7.2.19 Written Agreements

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Written agreements are used in Newcastle Council and are a useful tool to develop and maintain partnership with parents and children, according to age and understanding. They are not legal contracts and are used in conjunction with the plan to help to clarify aims and objectives and roles and responsibilities in carrying out specific and identified tasks. An agreement involves engaging with the child and family to ensure that their views are listened to. 

NOTE: Where a written agreement relates to the use of Section 20 Children Act 1989, you must refer to the Threshold Criteria for Looked After Children Procedure, Section 20 Accommodation (link added March 2016).

See also: ADCS/Cafcass Practice Guidance for the Use of Section 20 (link added August 2016).


Contents

  1. Written Agreements
  2. Placements with Parents
  3. Placements with Foster Carers


1. Written Agreements

Written agreements should:

  • Be clear and concise statements of what the Directorate and parents have agreed to do in order to carry out the plan;
  • The process of negotiating with the child and family is the responsibility of all professionals involved, coordinated by the lead social worker;
  • Include the child’s name, date of birth, who has been a party to the agreement, and the details of the agreement;
  • Should be signed by all parties;
  • Make clear what the consequences would be if the agreement is not complied with; the arrangements for re-negotiation or review; and what will happen if anyone is unhappy with the agreement;
  • Be signed and dated by all parties.

Information about the Complaints and Representations Procedure should be given to the child and family / carers.

The agreement, together with the plan and details of the role of the parent in the day-to-day life of the child, must be produced (see LAC Form Placement Agreement).

It must be signed by all concerned, including the child if of an age and understanding, and retained on the child’s file and at placement (foster care or residential) and if applicable by the parents.


2. Placements with Parents

When a child is placed with his or her parents (see Placements with a Child in Care with Parents Procedure):

  • The agreement must be made before the placement takes place and the agreement given to the person with whom the child is placed.

The agreement should include:

  • The plan;
  • Arrangements for support, visiting and review of the placement;
  • Arrangements for contact;
  • Arrangements for termination of the placement if necessary;
  • The need of the person with whom the child is placed to notify the Local Authority of any changes, e.g. address, composition of the household;
  • The need for the Local Authority to be informed of any event, such as injury or serious occurrence in relation to the child;
  • The need for confidentiality of information regarding the child;
  • The circumstances in which approval must be sought for the child to stay, for any period of time in any other household;
  • The reasons for requesting a change in the agreement and the process for this.


3. Placements with Foster Carers

When a child is placed with foster carers (see Placement with Foster Carers):

  • Agreements with foster carers must be produced at the time of placement or within 14 days and must include:
    • A statement of all information to enable the carers to look after a child, including the plan and its objectives; the child’s individual needs and background, including cultural, religious and language; health and educational needs;
    • Arrangements for financial support;
    • Arrangements for delegating of consent to medical treatment of the child;
    • The circumstances in which approval must be sought for the child to stay, for any period of time in any other household;
    • Social worker visiting and review arrangements (see Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children);
    • Arrangements for contact with family and significant others (see Contact between Looked After Children and their Families Procedure);
    • Co-operation by the foster carers with any arrangements deemed necessary by the Local Authority.

End