Children travelling abroad with complex needs

Contents  

  1. Introduction           
  2. Definitions                     
  3. Responsibilities                  
  4. Risk Assessments           
  5. Children Travelling Abroad with Complex Medical Needs – Workflow process 

 

1.  Introduction 

What is this guidance? This guidance provides all agencies with a clearly defined procedure, addressing the management of situations where parents wish to take children with complex medical needs abroad, and where travel abroad may place the child at significant risk.

Why do we need this guidance? This guidance provides all agencies with clear instructions about how to manage situations, when travelling abroad may put a child at significant risk, and where safeguarding concerns may or may not pre-exist.

What is the purpose of this guidance? All agencies need to understand their responsibilities in the management of situations where parents wish to take children with complex medical needs abroad, and where travel abroad may place the child at significant risk.

Who is this guidance aimed at? This guidance is aimed at practitioners working with families whereby there is a child or children with complex needs, either regularly or occasionally, and there is an intention to travel abroad. These practitioners will come from a wide range of agencies both statutory and non-statutory.  

The key contact for comments about this policy is:LSCP.Info@leeds.gov.uk 

 

2.  Definitions 

When this guidance speaks of children with complex medical needs there is no agreed definition among policymakers or practitioners. This term, however, includes children who are disabled, children with special educational needs and children with ‘lifelimiting’ or ‘life-threatening’ conditions. 

 

3.  Responsibilities 

All agencies must work in accordance with the Leeds Safeguarding Multi-Agency Policies and Procedures, and local guidelines, in relation to any safeguarding concerns they have. 

LSCB (Policies and Procedures Subgroup) takes responsibility for this guidance and approves its use.  

When information about the intention of the family to travel abroad, including the child/ren with complex needs, is brought to the attention of any particular competent agency it is the responsibility of that agency to identify and inform the lead clinician for the child. The lead clinician must then assess the risk involved.

 

4.  Risk Assessments 

All agencies involved in a child’s care must consider the implications of any forthcoming travel and discuss this with the family and other key practitioners.  A risk assessment for the proposed journey must be made and clearly documented in the child’s records, stating the views and wishes of the family.

If the outcome of the risk assessment clearly identifies that there is a significant risk of harm to the child/ren as a result of the proposed journey abroad, and the family will not cancel the plans for travel with the child/ren, then immediate contact with the Front Door Safeguarding Hub must be made to Children Social Work Services indicating that the journey places the child/ren at the risk of significant harm.

 

5. Children Travelling Abroad with Complex Medical Needs – Workflow Process 

If you are working with a family with child/ren who have complex health needs who wish to travel abroad with the child/ren then you must undertake the following steps:

a) All practitioners involved in the management of the complex needs of the child/ren must consider the implications of the forthcoming travel and discuss the same with the family and other key practitioners, by phone or a meeting. These discussions should be reflected in the child’s records.

b) A risk assessment of the proposed journey is made in conjunction with the child’s clinician (or appropriate health care professional) which demonstrates consideration to the following:

  • Length of time out of the country
  • Country that is to be visited and availability of appropriate health care services should they be required
  • Preparation by the family in relation to the journey – this should include their understanding of how to access health care abroad; the need for health insurance; equipment / medication needed for the duration of the journey and any additional feeding supplies
  • Mode of transport and how the child is going to be managed during the journey
  • Prior arrangement with the local health care in their destination
  • Families understanding of risk and views.

The decision making involved in the risk assessment must be clearly documented,

Where the outcome of the risk assessment does not identify any risk to the safety and welfare of the child/ren, no further action is required.

Where the outcome of the risk assessment clearly identifies that there is a significant risk of harm posed to the child/ren with the proposed journey abroad, and the family are choosing not to make appropriate plans for travel with the child/ren, the practitioner carrying out the risk assessment MUST; immediately contact Children Social Care Services indicating that the journey places the child/ren at risk of significant harm, identifying what the risks to the child is and any previous actions taken i.e. liaison with other practitioners and an over view of the risk assessment.