Child in Need Assessment

The focus of the assessment is to ascertain whether the young person is a child in need of services under S17 or S20 (Children Act 1989). A definition of S17 and S20 is included below.

Definition of S17 Child In Need

A child shall be taken to be in need if –

  • They are unlikely to achieve or maintain or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him of services by a local authority.
  • Their health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for him of such services; or
  • They are disabled,

And “family” in relation to such a child, includes any person who has parental responsibility for the child and any other person with whom he has been living.

Definition of Section 20

Provision of accommodation for children general

(1) Every local authority shall provide accommodation for any child in need within their area who appears to them to require accommodation as a result of:

  • There being no person who has parental responsibility for him;
  • His being lost or having been abandoned; or
  • The person who has been caring for him being prevented (whether or not permanently, and for whatever reason) from providing him with suitable accommodation or care.

There should be one of three outcomes from a

  • CIN – section 17
  • CIN – section 20
  • No further action

Questions for consideration when undertaking an assessment:

  • Where was the young person living last?
  • Why did this arrangement break down?
  • Where has the young person lived and who with during their childhood?
  • Have there been any other placement breakdowns in the young person’s childhood?
  • Does the young person have any identified learning difficulties or other special needs?
  • Has the young person been involved in offending behaviour or anti social behaviour?
  • Does the young person have any other difficulties, e.g. substance misuse?
  • Is there a full family tree detailing all extended family details?
  • Have you explored all of the extended family and friends options?
  • Where is the young person at this time and how long can they remain there?
  • Are the current circumstances likely to impact on the young person’s likelihood of achieving or maintaining a reasonable standard of health or development without services being provided by the Local Authority
  • Has the young person’s health or development been significantly impacted or would it be further impacted without the provision of services.
  • How has the young persons health and development been affected and what services would reduce the impact of this.
  • Is there anyone exercising parental responsibility for the young person?
  • Has the young person been abandoned?
  • Has the person who has been caring for the young person been prevented from doing so?
  • Why / how has the person who has been caring for the young person been prevented from doing so?
  • What risk factors have been identified?
  • Are there any protective factors in place?
  • What is the young person requesting?
  • Is the young person co-operating with the assessment?
  • How close is the young person to 18 years of age?
  • Does the young person require support post 18 years?
  • What transition arrangements are required?

Decision

Follow the completion of Child in Need assessment and a section 20 is met, Children Services will be responsible for the funding and provision of accommodation, although Children Social Care Services can request assistance from Housing Options Service in identifying appropriate accommodation.

Following the completion of Child in Need assessment and a section 17 is met, Children Services will refer to Housing Options who will provide and fund the provision of accommodation and complete assessment under the Homeless provision of part 7 Housing Act 1996

Where section 17 is not met Children services will refer back to Housing Options service, who will complete assessment under the Homeless provision of part 7 Housing Act 196.