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A guide for parents and carers
When a child stays or is likely to stay in a healthcare setting for more than 12 weeks, their healthcare team has to tell the Local Authority Children’s Social Care team where the child usually lives. This has to be done by law (the Children’s Act 1989, section 85).
Where your child is housed (as an inpatient) is shared to ensure your child’s safety and welfare. Children’s Social Care must consider this information, providing an additional ‘safety net’ for children living away from their home and main carers.
We understand that living away from home can be particularly difficult for children and young people and the limited and sometimes controlled contact with family and carers may affect their ability to talk about how they are feeling.
A healthcare professional; usually a nurse on the ward, will talk to you (parent/carer) about telling the Local Authority where your child is living. This is done by a referral. They will ask you where you live to make sure we refer to the correct Local Authority. The referral will require the hospital to share information with the Local Authority such as:
A social worker will contact you, and arrange to come and see you as well as your child to complete an assessment. They will make enquiries to check whether your child’s welfare is safeguarded and promoted while they are in hospital. To do this they will need to see your child alone (if they are of an appropriate age). They will speak with staff caring for your child. They will also be told when your child is discharged from hospital.
If you have any further questions, please speak to your child’s named Nurse or Ward Manager.