What is a Child Looked After Review Meeting?
A child looked after review is a meeting to talk about what has been happening for a child and what plans are being made for them while they are being cared for by someone other than their parents.
The child looked after review meeting will be chaired by an independent person employed by Achieving for Children called an independent reviewing officer.
The first review meeting must happen within four weeks of living away from your parents. There will be a second review meeting after three months and then every six months after that.
We have created a child's words and pictures to explain a child looked after review (opens a pdf)
We have written a leaflet that explains being looked after in more detail for older children and young people (opens a pdf)
Here is a video to help you imagine what a child looked after review meeting is like. There are subtitles in English, Polish, Turkish, Arabic and Korean. Just click on the CC button on the bottom toolbar on the video to select the language you need.
Who can go to my Review Meeting?
- Your advocate to help you speak in the meetings if you wish to have one.
- Your parents and anyone else with parental responsibility for you.
- Your social worker
- Your foster carer or residential worker
- Other people who know you.
We will keep the number of people at your review to a minimum so that everyone has the chance to contribute and listen, especially you. Your independent reviewing officer will listen to you about the people you wish to be at your meeting. They can exclude your parents or others from going to your review but must always give well-explained reasons why and make sure they can contribute in other ways.
What happens before a Child Looked After Review Meeting?
We identify who will be your independent reviewing officer as soon as we are told that you need one. The independent reviewing officer will speak to your social worker and agree a date for the first review meeting. Your social worker will advise who needs to be invited and we send invites with details of the meeting.
You will receive a letter from your independent reviewing officer with their photo on it. For children from Kingston and Richmond these are our independent reviewing officers letters, if you want to know a bit more about them.
You will receive a link to a consultation called My Say. This is a really good way to share information about what you think the review meeting needs to concentrate on. When you complete your My Say consultation it is sent electronically to your independent reviewing officer.
They will use what you have said to think about how they should chair your meeting; things you would like to be discussed at your review and what decisions you would like to be made. You are encouraged to complete a My Say consultation a few weeks before every review and the links are here if you want to complete one now
Parents are sent consultation forms so that they can record their views before the meeting, which they can email back to the independent reviewing officer at firstname.lastname@example.org. These are here if a parent wants to fill one in.
Your social worker should have written a report before the review meeting and shared this with you.
What happens at a Child Looked After Review Meeting?
Review meetings are held where you are living but there might be times when it takes place somewhere else, maybe an office or your school, but we will ask what you think.
Your independent reviewing officer will meet you before your review meeting to gather your wishes. At the meeting we talk about the support you get and the progress you are making. We think about your happiness, health, school, friends, family, what you want to do in the future and where you will live. Your independent reviewing officer will support you to run your own review meeting if you would like.
After the review meeting, your independent reviewing officer will write a letter to remind you of the things that were discussed and agreed. A copy of the letter is sent to everyone else within 20 working days of your meeting.
What does my Independent Reviewing Officer do?
The primary task of your independent reviewing officer is to check that the plans being made for your care fully reflect your needs. Your independent reviewing officer checks that the actions and outcomes in your plan are consistent with the local authorities legal responsibilities towards you as corporate parents, meaning that they look after you in the way a responsible and conscientious parent would.
The responsibilities of your independent reviewing officer include:
- Checking your care plan is based on a detailed and informed assessment
- Checking your care plan is up-to-date, effective and provides a real and genuine response to your needs
- Identifying any gaps in the assessment process or provision of service
- offering a safeguard to prevent any drift in care planning and the delivery of services
- monitoring the activity of the local authority acting as a good corporate parent in taking all reasonable steps to ensure that your care plan has given proper consideration and weight to your current views, wishes and feelings and that you fully understand the implications of any changes to your care plan
- making sure that you understand how to an advocate could help and your entitlement to an advocate
What if my child has a disability and spends most of their time in residential care or is accessing a lot of respite care?
Some disabled children receive support through short breaks or residential care. Local authorities should undertake an informed assessment of your child’s needs, taking into account parents capacity, wider family and environmental factors to be clear about the legal basis on which these services are provided. A disabled child is looked after if they are in care, accommodated under section 20 of the children act 1989 (voluntarily accommodated), or are accessing short breaks/respite care when any single respite care period lasts for more than 17 days or the total in one year exceeds 75 days.
The role of the independent reviewing officer for a child in a series of short breaks may be more limited than for a child who is looked after longer term. When working with disabled children it is important that our independent reviewing officers are sensitive to the close and active involvement of parents. Given this sensitivity, parents as well as children, can highly value their contribution and independent perspective, especially in helping to resolve any difficulties with the placement. Independent reviewing officers have a responsibility to alert the local authority if the placement is not meeting the child's needs.
What if I have travelled to the United Kingdom on my own?
Children who travel outside of their country of origin to seek asylum in the United Kingdom can be separated from their parents and relatives. These children become looked after. There is extra information about the support we offer to our unaccompanied asylum seeking children by following this link (opens internal page)