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5.1.17 Pre Birth Planning for Care Leavers and Looked After Young People


This protocol applies to all workers that are working with looked after and care leaver young women who are pregnant. It also relates to prospective fathers who are looked after or a care leaver. Fathers should always be included in any assessments even if they are no longer in a relationship.


For Section 47 Enquiries in general see the procedure on Section 47 Enquiries.

Where there are concerns regarding substance misuse, the following procedures must also be followed - Sheffield Safeguarding Children's Board, Pregnant Women and Babies where there is Substance Misuse (MAPLAG) Procedure.


In May 2018 this chapter was reviewed, and minor amendments were made in line with local practice and terminology.


  1. Introduction
  2. Principles
  3. Process

1. Introduction

This protocol does not replace current procedures and processes in relation to unborn children. However, it provides a variation in respect of the possible need for early intervention with our most vulnerable young people.

Some looked after young people and care leavers will make a positive decision to have a child and go on to become good parents. Some will experience difficulties. For the majority of young parents in Britain they do have the support of family and friends. For looked after young people and care leavers this isn’t always the case.

Because of the experiences that they have had themselves these groups of young people can be particularly fearful of any assessment processes. When it is deemed that a pre-birth assessment is needed it is crucial that the two workers from social care are working closely together to ensure that there is consistency. Additional thought needs to be given about support to the young person if the baby cannot remain in the parents care.


The principles that underpin this protocol are:

  • To ensure that the young person is appropriately supported through the pregnancy and into parenthood;
  • Continuity of service provision to the child/young person in facilitating a joint assessment process underpinned by a one service ethos, when a pre-birth assessment is deemed necessary;
  • To set standards of good practice;
  • To ensure consistency in management decision making, systems and processes;
  • The need to acknowledge that prospective fathers are given the same level of assessment etc. to enable them to parent together or individually.

3. Process

3.1 Looked After Children

The social worker allocated to the looked after child will undertake an updated assessment at the point of being informed of the pregnancy and completed prior to the planning meeting.

If it is felt that the young person is going to need additional support then a referral to the appropriate multi-agency support team (MAST) needs to be made. If it is felt that the threshold is met for Child In Need or child protection then a referral will be made to the Safeguarding Hub with the updated assessment.

3.2 Care Leavers

As soon as the personal advisor becomes aware that the young person is pregnant they will complete a needs assessment.

Once this is complete, if it is felt that the young person would benefit from support from the multi-agency support team (MAST) then a referral will be made to the appropriate area. If it is felt that the threshold is met for either Child in Need or child protection then a referral should be made to the appropriate area social care team.

3.3 Child in Need Meetings

If the threshold for social care intervention has been agreed, then a Child in Need meeting will be held. The social worker in the area team is responsible for arranging and chairing this meeting. It is expected that either the social worker or the Personal Advisor will attend this meeting. From this point onwards it is expected that the Integrated Care Pathway (ICP) will be followed. It would be expected that the worker for the looked after child or care leaver works closely with the social worker or personal advisor. The timescales for meetings need to be in line with practice standards.