Movement restriction conditions in the children's hearing system: guidance

Information for social workers who have a statutory responsibility to present information to children’s panel members.


6.0 Given some of the complexities and challenges likely to be encountered by the Lead Professional and implementation authority in shaping a coherent and realistic Child's Plan when a young person is made subject to an MRC, Appendix A outlines several key elements which ought to be encompassed and highlights how these might be captured in simple and accessible language. Appendix B provides a basic checklist of key questions to consider during the period when an MRC is being considered. The Lead Professional may also find it beneficial to filter the key elements of a Child's Plan into an informal weekly plan for the young person and his parent(s)/carer(s). A weekly plan might break down the details of the Child's Plan into an easily digested and easily scrutinised format which can in turn inform the process of monitoring progress.

6.1 The Child's Plan must contain specific details about the address to which the young person will be restricted and the Lead Professional should think creatively about options from the outset [9] . It may be the case that a young person spends time in the community between two addresses ( e.g. at his biological mother's home on week days and at his paternal grandparents' home during weekends). Constructing a Child's Plan that enables this care arrangement to continue while a young person is subject to an MRC is entirely feasible.

6.2 When a young person is made subject to an MRC, the Child's Plan must articulate what contingency plans have been identified in the event that he cannot remain (whether temporarily or permanently) at the address to which he has been restricted. Specifically, the Lead Professional must make clear what alternative accommodation will be sourced, the manner in which it will be sourced and the individuals who will be informed about such a development should it occur [10] . A Review Children's Hearing would be required if a permanent change to a young person's living arrangements was being proposed. However situations may well arise where temporary respite is all that is required to restore balance after a short-lived period of crisis. Different implementation authorities will have different arrangements in place for the provision of respite or emergency accommodation to vulnerable young people.

6.3 Aside from accommodation, a young person subject to an MRC and his parent(s)/carer(s) must also have access to other forms of support in the event of a crisis. This support should be available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. It will fall to individual implementation authorities to make appropriate provision in this area and there is room for flexibility. The requirement for a "telephone contact facility" [11] may be satisfied by the Out of Hours Duty Service that all implementation authorities operate but they may equally seek to work in partnership with other providers to fulfil this requirement. The task of the Lead Professional will be to ensure that irrespective of the timing of a crisis, whether during or outwith office hours, clear instructions are in place and recorded in the Child's Plan about who is required to do what and when in response.

6.4 Simply because a young person is already accommodated away from home does not mean that an MRC could not be included in their order if it were assessed to be appropriate. If a young person were in a foster or kinship care placement or in a residential unit, this would require the Lead Professional to explore options with the relevant carer(s) or unit manager to establish whether the introduction of monitoring equipment at their respective addresses would be acceptable. It would be expected that discussion with the parent(s)/carer(s) of the young person would also occur to explore their views in relation to the imposition of such a restriction.

6.5 While the maximum length of time that a young person may be subject to a curfew at one address is 12 hours per day [12] , there is no requirement that this maximum level of restriction is used. It may be the case that a young person's problematic behaviour tends to occur later in the evening or at weekends. In such a situation a Monday to Thursday curfew from 11pm - 7am coupled with a Friday to Sunday curfew from 7pm - 7am might constitute a more proportionate response.


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