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Children in Need is a Social Care Framework to help the most vulnerable children and their families to provide the right support by the right orginisations. This could include theraputic services, additonal support within the home and Respite Care.

Each Children in Need plan will begin with an assessment of the family and their current needs.


Section 17(1) of the Children Act 1989 – under the heading provision of services for children
and their families outlines the following:- It is the general duty of Norfolk County Council@

(a) To safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need;
and

(b) So far as is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of such children by
their families

By providing a range of services appropriate to those children’s needs. It is also vital to note that Section 17(4A) also includes the following:-

Before determining what (if any) services to provide for a particular child in need in the
exercise of functions conferred on them by this section, Norfolk County Council shall, so far
as is reasonably practicable and consistent with the child’s welfare

(a) Ascertain the child’s wishes and feelings regarding the provision of those services;
and
(b) Give due consideration (having regard to his age and understanding) to such wishes
and feelings of the child as they have been able to ascertain
The definition of a ‘Child in Need’ can be found in Section 17(10) of the Children Act 1989

which provides that a child is to be taken as ‘in need if;

(a) He is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or
maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for
him of services by a local authority....; or
(b) His health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired,
without the provision for him of such services; or
(c) He is disabled

Under this section of the Children Act 1989 it should be noted that if a child is ‘disabled’ he
or she is automatically a child ‘in need’

Guidance on Section 17 assessments


Any assessment must:

  • seek to gather information about a child, young person and/or their family
  • analyse their needs decide whether the child/young person is a child ‘in need’
  • provide support to address those needs to improve the child/young person’s
    outcomes 
  • should be focused on outcomes deliver improved welfare for the child

For more information on the Section 17 Assessments and Framework please click here