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5.10 Social Worker Visits


  1. Normal Frequency
  2. Conditions
  3. Who Should be Seen
  4. Purpose
  5. Recording

1. Normal Frequency

Social workers have a statutory obligation to visit a child at the following intervals, subject to the conditions below:

  • Within one week of the placement;
  • Then at intervals of no more than six weeks during the first year of the placement;
  • In subsequent years, the child should be visited every six weeks if the placement is intended to last until the child is 18.

This applies to all placements, even where a child has moved from one placement to another. 

Some visits should be unannounced.

2. Conditions

  1. Where the placement is with relatives or friends who have not yet been approved as foster carers, the social worker must visit the child weekly;
  2. Where the placement is for a series of short-term placements, the child's social worker must visit the child within the first 7 placement days (being days when the child is placed) and thereafter every six months;
  3. Visits should be made more frequently if circumstances require and whenever reasonably requested by the child or the staff.

3. Who Should be Seen

Wherever possible, the child must be seen alone (unless the child of sufficient age and maturity and refuses). If this is not possible, a further visit must be made at short notice in order that the child can be seen alone and observed with the staff.

The social worker should also meet the manager of the home and staff, on occasions.

4. Purpose

The purpose of the visit is to ensure the placement continues to promote the child's welfare and in particular:

  1. To give the child the opportunity to express his or her wishes, feelings and views;
  2. To advise, assist and befriend the child;
  3. To observe the child with the staff/foster carer/parent;
  4. To monitor the standard of care offered by the placement;
  5. To monitor how the contact arrangements are working;
  6. To provide support to the placement;
  7. To identify any areas where additional support is required;
  8. To evaluate whether the placement is helping to achieve the objectives of the child's Care Plan.

Placement Planning Meetings can be undertaken during social workers visits.

See: Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings Procedure.

5. Recording

Home’s staff should record visits in the Visitors Book, Daily Log and on relevant Children’s Daily Records.

The Social Worker will complete a written report on each visit must be made by the social worker and kept in the child's file stating clearly:

  1. Who was seen;
  2. Whether the child was seen and if not why not;
  3. Whether the child was seen alone;
  4. Any comments made by the child or the staff/carers/parents;
  5. Any matters of concern or difficulties.