- / Procedures
- / Children living away from home
- / Looked After Children and Leaving Care
- / Supporting children
- / Transport procedure
Travel arrangements must ideally be planned during the placement planning process or as part of the LAC reviews, with reviews considering the suitability of any arrangements already in place. Such arrangements can then form part of the Placement Information Record and the Care Plan.
Transport arrangements must seek to normalise a child's situation, for example through children getting to activities by using public transport instead of taxis. In the first instance is it expected that a child's placement will provide transport for the child.
How do I book transport?
***Local information required - e.g. process to book and any forms that need completing.***
Delegated authority to foster carers
***What can the foster carers agree to / arrange if anything?***
Age appropriate arrangements
Children under 11 years of age
No child under the age of 11yrs should be transported only by a driver for any purpose.
Children 11+ years of age
Travel arrangements for children over 11yrs should be risk assessed on an individual basis including any safeguarding/vulnerability issues for the child. Consideration should be given to the child's level of development/maturity and capacity to travel independently.
Circumstances in which an escort/ passenger assistant may be supplied
If, following a risk assessment by the social worker, it has been identified that there is a significant risk to either the individual or others travelling in the vehicle an escort may be requested.
This does however need to be assessed on a regular basis to determine whether an escort remains appropriate.
The social worker will be expected to confirm that the travel arrangements for the child has been risk assessed and that all relevant information has been supplied to ensure that the child is safeguarded.
The following may necessitate a request for an escort:
- Disability - e.g. physical need/emotional need
- Vulnerable young person - e.g. history of sexual allegation
- Driver protection - e.g. if young person is vulnerable or has been subject to abuse
- Numbers travelling - e.g. not wanting child to travel alone, or the mix of young people on transport potentially being an issue
- Length of journey - long journeys may require a stop and facilitation for the child to use toilet
- Special needs of a client - e.g. medical/behavioural needs
- Age and level of functioning - e.g. the child is very immature for their physical age.
Escorts should be over 18 years of age and deemed as having the skills/abilities to communicate with and safeguard the child. Consideration of specific gender of escort is dependent on the individual needs of the child.
Home to school transport
Emergency & short-term arrangements
In emergency situations urgent consideration will be needed to agree how to sustain the continuity of that child's education and school place.
Initial consideration should be as to whether the new carer or a family member can assist on a short-term basis, up to the end of a school term, whilst longer term care plans are made which may or may not require changes to schooling or transportation. Disruption to a child's schooling is discouraged in all but exceptional circumstances.
If the carer or family member is unable to assist then transport can be requested.
Long term arrangements
Where a placement is to exceed a school term or is defined as permanent then a more robust plan will need to be put in place to cover on-going arrangements. Again the option of a carer or family member assisting should be the starting consideration. Dependant on the age of the child or young person they may well be able to access a school bus or public transport to get to school. If this is not possible, due to age, vulnerability or distance, then a referral should be made for on-going home to school transport.
Following an assessment of the child/young person's situation, which will include taking into account factors such as their age, length of journey and any additional vulnerabilities, it may be deemed appropriate for the child/young person to be transported by a family support worker, or the member of staff supervising the contact or a foster parent. This is to ensure that the child has appropriate preparation and support regarding the contact arrangements.
This should be clearly recorded within the placement planning process.
If an escort is assessed as being appropriate and is used then it is essential that they are able to communicate with the child and have an understanding of their emotional needs both pre- and post-contact. This can be achieved by the contact supervisor briefing the escort.
The contact supervisor could also use a contact/carer book to ensure that the child's carer is alerted to significant information about the child regarding contact.
For older children, again following an assessment of their individual situation and ability, a decision may be arrived at that allows the child to travel on public transport to the contact destination. If this is agreed then their allocated worker will ensure that the young person has the funding to do this.
Other transport requests (not home to school or contact)
This includes travel arrangements for appointments such as health or counselling, or to leisure activities, etc.
Carers are expected to act as reasonable parents and ensure that all transport arrangements are safe for the child and appropriate to their age and level of functioning.
Transport for all of the above activities should be discussed and agreed at the placement planning meeting to ensure appropriate arrangements are made according to the individual needs of the child. This will clarify the expectations of the carers. There may be practical issues which prevent the carer from undertaking regular transport of the child e.g. due to number of children in placement and the needs of other children in placement.
The placement planning process enables agreement between the social worker, carer and parent/family regarding specific tasks regarding the child and is essential in building up the relationship between the care and the parent/family.
- Child protection
- Youth Offending
- Children with Disabilities