Every family is different, and all families need different amounts of help to be healthy and safe. The council offers different support depending on what a child's needs are, and how well their parents can meet those needs.
The level of support a family gets can change if their problems get better or worse.
This is the lowest level of support. Early help can stop small problems in a family becoming big problems. The council will work with the family to look at what's going well, what's not going well, and what the family can do to improve things.
Child in need
A child in need is one who needs special help from the council to be as healthy and well-developed as other children their age.
Children with disabilities are also classed as children in need.
The council will do a child in need assessment to find out what the child's needs are, and how the council can make sure those needs are met.
A child protection plan is used to protect a child who is at risk of harm.
The plan covers things like:
- what can be done to reduce the risk of the child being harmed
- the child's needs
- the parents' needs
- how the council will help the parents to keep the child safe
- what will happen if the parents do not follow the plan
Public Law Outline (PLO)
Public Law Outline is the last stage before public court proceedings.
At this stage, a child protection plan is in place, but the child is still at risk of harm. The council are thinking about taking the child into care.
The council will have a PLO meeting with the parents. The council will explain what they're worried about, what help they've given so far, and what the parents need to do next. The parents will be able to have their say too.
If the parents still cannot keep the child safe, the council will start public court proceedings.
Public court proceedings
The council will go to the family court and ask the judge to decide whether the child should be taken into care to keep them safe.
See public court proceedings for more information.