Children’s Social Care

Referrals and Assessments

Referrals

A referral is defined as a request for services to be provided by Childrens Social Care and is in respect of a child who is not currently in need.

Assessments

Local authorities undertake assessments of the needs of individual children to determine what services to provide and actions to take. An assessment should be completed within 45 working days of a referral.

Children’s Social Care

In 2020:

  • there were 2795 referrals in the year
  • 31.3% of referrals came from the police, 17.7% came from schools, 15.6% came from local authority services and 14.9% came from health services
  • 2589 children had a referral
  • 17.3% children had a referral within 12 months of a previous referral
  • 34.9% referrals resulted in an assessment and the child was assessed not to be in need at completion
  • 3.4% referrals resulted in no further action
  • 3023 assessments were completed by Children’s Social Care in the year
  • 91% assessments were completed within the statutory time of 45 days (the duration of an assessment is calculated as the time in working days between the assessment start date and the assessment end date)

Learn more about reporting concerns for a child.

Children in need

A child in need is a child who is unlikely to reach or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development, or their health or development will be significantly impaired without the provision of children's social care services, or the child is disabled (Children Act 1989).

In 2020:

  • 1675 children started an episode of need in the year
  • 1329 children ended their episode of need in the year
  • 2999 children had an episode of need at any point during the year
  • at 31 March 2020, there were 1757 children in need
  • 16.2% of children in need at 31 March 2020 had a recorded disability - the most prevalent disabilities were Learning (77.9%), Communication (66%) and Autism/Asperger Syndrome (44.9%)
  • the most prevalent causes of need for children were Abuse or neglect (44.2%), Family dysfunction (17.4%) and Child’s disability or illness (13.2%)
Duration of episode of need %
3 months or less 34.1
More than 3 months but less than or equal to 6 months 8.7
More than 6 months but less than 1 year 12.2
1 year but less than 2 years 11.8
2 years and over 33.2
child protection

Child protection plans

A child becomes the subject of a child protection plan if they are assessed as being at risk of harm, at an initial child protection conference.

In 2020:

  • there were 337 child protection plans at any point in the year
  • 333 children were on a child protection plan at any point in the year (if a child is the subject of more than one child protection plan during the year, each plan is counted)
  • 218 children started a child protection plan
  • 190 children ended their child protection plan
  • 86% of children had a child protection plan for up to one year
  • as of 31 March 2020, there were 147 children on a child protection plan

(The duration of a child protection plan at 31 March is calculated as the time between the child protection plan start date and 31 March of the reporting year).

Looked After Children

Children in public care, who are placed with foster carers, in residential homes or with other relatives. Children become looked after when their parents are unable to provide ongoing care in either a temporary or permanent capacity.

At March 31 2020:

  • there were 222 children who were looked after
  • 59% children were male, 41% were female
  • 4% children were aged under 1 year, 9% were aged 1 to 4 years, 10% were aged 5 to 9 years, 37% were aged 10 to 15 years, 40% were aged 16 years or over
  • 57% children were White, 22% were Black or Black British, 9% were Mixed, 6% were Asian or Asian British
  • 15% children were unaccompanied asylum-seeking children
  • the most prevalent categories of need for looked after children were Abuse or neglect (52%), Family dysfunction (20%) and Absent parenting (15%)
  • 69% were placed 20 miles or less from home, 16% were placed more than 20 miles from home (remaining 15% not known or distance not recorded)
  • 67% children were placed in foster care, 13% were placed in the community, 13% were placed in children homes and semi-independent living accommodation and 4% were placed with parents or other person with parental responsibility
  • 52% children were placed inside Bexley, 48% were placed outside the borough

In 2020:

  • 135 children stopped being looked after
  • the most prevalent reasons that children left care were ‘moved into independent living (with supportive accommodation)’ (32%) ‘left care to live with parents, relatives or other person with no parental responsibility’ (16%), and ‘returned home to live with parents or other person with parental responsibility which was part of the care planning process’ (11%)
  • 122 children moved to be looked after by us
  • 57% children who moved to our care were male, 43% were female
  • 18% children who were looked after by us had a missing incident during the year

Learn more about Looked after children and how Children’s Social Care helps them.

Read our Looked After children’s Strategy (PDF).

Care leavers

Care leavers

Aged 17 to 18

When a young person turns 18, they are no longer a ‘looked after child’, but are now a ‘care leaver’. However, they can decide to continue living with their former foster carer until the age of 21 - this is called ‘Staying Put’.

In 2020:

  • there were 71 Care Leavers aged 17 to 18
  • 100% were in suitable accommodation
  • 76% were in education, employment or training, 23% were not

Aged 19 to 21

In 2020:

  • there were 173 Care Leavers aged 19 to 21
  • 92% were in suitable accommodation
  • 61% were in education, employment or training, 34% were not
  • 90% were still in contact with the local authority, 5% were not

In 2020:

  • 29 young people aged 18 ceased to be looked after and were eligible for care leavers support, however, 79% of these young people continued living with former foster carers
  • 30 young people aged 19 to 20 ceased to be looked after and were eligible for care leavers support, however, 40% of these young people continued living with former foster carers

Learn more about the Local Offer for young adults leaving our care (PDF).

Fostering

Foster care involves providing care and support for a child by an individual family who have been approved by Bexley Council for either a short-term or long-term period when they cannot live with their parents or previous care arrangement. 

In 2020:

  • there were 115 approved households for fostering
  • there were 90 households with two carers and 25 households with one carer
  • there were 230 approved foster places
  • 15 groups were placed, and 40 siblings were placed

Learn more about fostering a child.

Adoption 2017 to 2020
(3-year average)

There were 29 adoptions in Bexley

There were 233 days on average between a child entering care and moving in with an adoptive family, compared to the national average of 367 days

This made Bexley the 2nd lowest borough in average waiting time out of 152 authorities

Learn more about adopting a child.

education

Education for Children in Need and Children Looked After

In 2019/20 (academic year):

Children in need:

  • 185 children were in primary schools
  • 165 children were in secondary schools
  • 59.9% children were identified as having Special Educational Needs (SEN)
  • 16.9% children were receiving SEN support
  • 43% children had a statement of SEN or an Educational Health Care plan (EHCP)
  • 41.9% children were eligible for free school meals

Children on a protection plan:

  • 44 children were in primary schools
  • 24 children were in secondary schools
  • 44% children were identified as having SEN
  • 30.7% children had SEN support
  • 13.3% children had a SEN statement or ECHP
  • 73.3% children were eligible for free school meals

Looked after children:

  • 25 children were in primary schools
  • 44 children were in secondary schools
  • 68.4% children were identified as having SEN
  • 30.5% children had SEN support
  • 37.9% children had a SEN statement or ECHP

Children's Social Care within the Council

In 2020:

  • there were 193 children and family social workers
  • 89.6% were female, 10.4% were male
  • 53.8% social workers were White, 36.7% were Black, 5.3% were Asian, 3.6% were Mixed, 0.6% were from another ethnic group and 12.4% were not known

Learn more about our social workers.

Sources