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1.7 Recording Principles (including the Use of Genograms)


  1. Keeping a good quality record about work with a Child in Need and his or her family is an important part of the accountability of professionals to those who use their services. It helps to focus work, and it is essential to working effectively across agency and professional boundaries. Clear, contemporaneous and accurate records for each child ensure that there is a documented account of an agency's or professionals' involvement with a child and/or family or care giver. They help with continuity when individual workers are unavailable or change, and they provide an essential tool for managers to monitor work or for peer review. The child’s or adult’s record is an essential source of evidence for investigations and enquiries, and may also be required to be disclosed in court proceedings. Where a child has been the subject of a Section 47 Enquiry which did not result in the substantiation of referral concerns, his or her record should be retained in accordance with agency retention policies. These policies should ensure that records are stored safely and can be retrieved promptly and efficiently;
  2. To serve these purposes, records relating to work with the child and his or her family should use clear, straight forward language, be concise, and be accurate not only in fact, but also in differentiating between opinion, judgement and hypothesis;
  3. Well kept records about work with the child and his or her family provide an essential underpinning to good professional practice. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children requires information to be brought together from a number of sources, and careful professional judgements to be made on the basis of this information. These records should be clear, accessible and comprehensive with judgements made and decisions and interventions carefully recorded. Where decisions have been taken jointly across agencies, or endorsed by a manager, this should be made clear;
  4. To support good practice, all agencies should ensure that the recording of involvement by practitioners/workers with children and young people, and adults who have Parental Responsibility and care for them, includes specific detail of stated wishes and feelings of the child and young person and adult with Parental Responsibility and in addition to this the nature and frequency of contact that is had with the child and young person and adult with Parental Responsibility by the worker making the record of contact. This requirement should be reflected in any internal recording guidance produced by an individual agency.

Genograms

  1. All agencies must ensure that all their records contain detailed information regarding the family composition, ideally in the format of a genogram. Obviously some agencies are national bodies and therefore will have national recording systems (National Probation Provider, NSPCC etc.); whilst some agencies are regional and for them there will also be organisational requirements in respect of recording systems e.g. police. For both these types of organisations, influence should be brought to bear on national/regional policies to ensure best practice in the compilation, maintenance and active/pro-active usage of genograms.

    At a local level, all staff should ensure that detailed information regarding family composition is gathered and included in the agency records and Solihull LSCP has agreed the circumstances in which a chronology will be constructed - see At a local level, all staff should ensure that detailed information regarding family composition is gathered and included in the agency records and Solihull LSCP has agreed the circumstances in which a chronology will be constructed - see paragraph 8;
  2. Genograms themselves (and particularly the process of engaging with the family in order to construct a genogram) are a most useful tool in understanding complex family relationships, whether they be biological relationships or not. Moreover, a genogram can assist in plotting significant contact/safeguarding issues across blood/reconstituted family members. Guidance on the construction of genograms can be accessed in Appendix 15 on page 77 of the Serious Case Review Practice Guidance;
  3. It is now the expectation of the LSCP that all case records will contain a genogram when the case reaches the following thresholds:

    Probation: all individuals assessed as PPRC and MAPPA nominals, as well as cases in which a safeguarding issue has been raised; including contributing to the development of a genogram as part of a Section 47 Enquiry.

    YOS: all individuals assessed as PPRC and MAPPA nominals, as well as cases in which a safeguarding issue has been raised; including contributing to the development of a genogram as part of a Section 47 Enquiry. 

    Children's Social Work Services: from the point of a Social Work Assessment onwards including ensuring the completion of a genogram as part of a Section 47 Enquiry. This genogram should include information held by all relevant agencies.

    Health: where a safeguarding concern has been identified or when a child protection concern is being considered as well as contributing to the development of a genogram as part of a Section 47 Enquiry

    Police: to contribute to the development of a genogram as part of a Section 47 Enquiry and in cases where a MAPPA nominal is solely managed by the Police

    All other agencies: to contribute to the development of a genogram as part of a Section 47 Enquiry and where it is considered that an in depth understanding of family relationships will promote greater understanding of the child's daily life experiences especially when a child protection concern is being considered.
  4. It is the expectation of the LSCP that all social work reports to Initial Child Protection Conferences will include a copy of the genogram constructed during the Section 47 Enquiry and reports to Child Protection Review Conferences will contain, as necessary, an updated genogram reflecting any changes to the child's or family relationships.

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