Improving Services for Children, Young People and Families
West Lothian Council provides a wide range of services offering support and advice to children and young people as well as their parents, carers and families.
These services cover all ages from pre-birth to young adults and all circumstances, including:
- behaviour or relationship challenges
- drug, alcohol or substance misuse
- parenting problems from toddlers to teenagers
- issues at school
- offending or anti-social behaviour
- child protection concerns
If you feel you need support or advice on any matter relating to children or young people, you should initially contact your local Social Work Centre (see details on this page).
Social work emergency out of hours contact number - 01506 281028 or 281029.
Reviewing Officers Team
The Reviewing Officers Team carries out reviews on children and young people who are accommodated away from home (usually with foster carers or in residential units and schools).
These reviews take place as per Government regulations at 6-weekly, 3-monthly and 6-monthly intervals after a child is accommodated.
The child or young person, their parent(s), the care provider and associated professionals are invited to attend the review. These meetings are minuted and a care plan is agreed.
A Reviewing Officer supports everyone to work together to form clear plans and will facilitate meetings at agreed times throughout the time a child is either considered to be 'at risk' because of child protection needs or 'looked after' due to wellbeing needs.
In addition, young people who have been accommodated and have a right to an aftercare service are also reviewed. The Reviewing Officers Team also chairs all Initial and Review Child Protection Case Conferences held in West Lothian.
What does 'looked after' mean?
Looked after children and young people include those who live at home with a legal order in place, children who are cared for by other members of their family as part of an agreed plan (Kinship Care), live in a substitute family setting such as a fostering family, or live in a group care setting such as a Residential School or House.
As a young person grows and develops there is also a Throughcare and Aftercare Service up to the age of 26 years available. All these aspects of support and care are part of service provision as outlined within West Lothian's Corporate Parenting Strategy
What does 'at risk' mean?
Being at risk of significant harm can be complicated as it is not just about events that have already happened but also figuring out how likely it is that there may be harmful experiences for a child or young person in the future. This is why it is important there is balance in decision making and that there is more than one person or agency involved in making these decisions.
A Reviewing Officer does not make the decision but supports the team around the child to reach a consensus as to the risk. A Protection Plan or Child's Plan can be put in place if a child is experiencing unmet need or risk. This requires to be regularly reviewed to ensure the assessment and intervention is appropriate as children grow and develop and/or circumstances change.
- Meet with parents/carers prior to every Child Protection Case Conference to ensure they understand the process and report content.
- Ensure that both parents/carers and children and young people are facilitated and encouraged to participate during Reviews/Case Conferences. A child's experience of their situation should always be sought even in circumstances where the child is not in direct attendance.
- Ensure that actions on Care Plans have been met and seek explanation if this is not the case
- Agree modifications of Care Plans
- Contribute to Quality Assurance processes by monitoring standards in respect of both the quality and effectiveness of the review/case conference process for children and families and any care provision.
- Contribute to quality assurance by monitoring and maintaining standards in respect of both quality and effectiveness of the Reviewing Service
Further information on the work of the Reviewing Officers can be obtained from Louise Henry, Team Manager - Reviewing Officers and Children's Rights Service on 01506 282858
Childcare Information Service (CHIS)
West Lothian Council operates the Childcare Information Service which provides information regarding the types of childcare available in the area, e.g. childminders, private nurseries, out of school care, wraparound care, playgroups and parent and toddler groups.
This service can also help if you are considering a career in childminding.
Please contact CHIS on 01506 280044.