My child has turned a corner – can we now stop the Social Work supervision?
Alison MacPhee considers compulsory supervision orders over children.
I’ve been asked the question in the headline a few times in my career. Sometimes at a children’s hearing the child is made subject to a compulsory supervision order. This requires the Social Work Department to put in place supports and a care plan to try to improve the child’s situation. That would usually involve a number of discussions with various parties, parents teachers and others identifying what needs to be done and clarifying the roles parties might play in the work with the child. These orders have an expiry date known as a relevant period that is usually no more than a year. What is perhaps less well known is that these orders can be reviewed earlier than one year.
Sometimes – but by no means always – a child displaying behavioural problems – finds the entry into the Children’s Hearing system a bit of a shock. And some do manage to address their issues quite quickly. If things seem to have changed it is possible to have the order reviewed at any time as long as the order has been in place for at least 3 months. A parent can ask for a review, as indeed can the child just before the 3 months is up which is good news but the panel cannot hear the review until the 3 months has ended
What then happens is a review hearing is fixed. At that hearing various people will be able to contribute and reports from parties on the child’s behaviour will be considered.
At the hearing the panel may decide that the order is no longer required and end it. Or the panel could continue it on the same or different terms depending what they think about what information has been brought to their attention. If the order is continued or varied then it will have a new expiry date.
In this part of the system there is a lot of flexibility. If any of your family members are affected by a compulsory supervision order and you feel it is no longer necessary – don’t hesitate to give me a ring.
And remember – legal aid is often available if you need help