Child in Need (CIN)

The purpose of a Child In Need (CIN) meeting is for the family, including the child where age appropriate, and professionals to meet together to share information, identify need, and identify the most effective inter-agency services to meet the assessed needs.


Plans and interventions must be based on a holistic assessment of the child and family's needs and to be effective the parents, and where appropriate the child/young person, must understand and accept as far as possible the findings of the assessment. Plans will initially be based on the outcomes of an assessment and time must be allowed for the practitioner and family to negotiate agreement around the findings as a starting point to the interventions.


It is expected that the Social Worker, as the allocated worker/lead professional role, will take notes of the meeting, record discussions and decisions. On occasions a Social Worker may not be in attendance and in such circumstances, the chair will identify a note taker from attendees to record the discussions and decisions. A copy of the plan will be circulated to family members and professionals within 10 days.

A CIN meeting will consist of the smallest number of people required to support effective planning. It will involve all relevant professionals working with the family, and family members themselves. In general the core membership will include:


  • Family members (including the child/young person where age appropriate) and if required, a family member, friend or advocate to provide support

  • Representatives from Specialist Children's Services

  • Representatives from Health Services

  • Representatives from Education - both ELS and schools

  • Other professional who have significant involvement with the family


It will be the responsibility of the chair to ensure that the meeting provides an environment that is designed and intended to be helpful and supportive and to build on strengths in the family rather than further expose deficits. Everyone attending must, with the agreement of the parents have had sight of the assessment that is informing the meeting.


All those invited to attend a CIN Meeting should prioritise their attendance and come prepared to share information and to offer support where required.


It will be important to consider inviting someone who may have expertise or knowledge in a particular area of identified need and who can advise on appropriate support and services that may be available, e.g. housing, domestic abuse, sexually abusive behaviour, drug & alcohol misuse, mental health, learning disability, etc.


Consideration should also be given to inviting representatives from services not currently involved with the family who may be able to offer interventions or support that may meet the child or family's identified needs.


Where a parent or carer has been identified as having specific learning difficulties or mental health needs they should be consulted about whether or not they would like to be supported by an advocate and advocacy services should be provided if they identify that they would like this support. In some cases a referral should be made to ensure the child/family has every opportunity to access support.

Where English is not the first language of one or more of the family members attending then interpreting services must be offered and made available.


A child's plan will be drawn up which will clearly specify:


  • The strengths, risks and needs that have been identified and the desired outcomes for the child

  • The resources needed to meet identified needs and to address risks

  • Who will be responsible for implementing each part of the plan

  • Expected timescales

  • Contingency plans, if required.


The method of monitoring and evaluating the work being undertaken, i.e. measuring the effectiveness of interventions and support for the family. This must always include asking the family if they are finding the interventions helpful.

Any disagreements with the plan need to be recorded with reasons for disagreement.


CIN Review Meetings

The purpose of the CIN Review meeting is to evaluate how the CIN Plan has progressed and to assess whether outcomes have been achieved sufficiently to end involvement, reduce the level of input, or identify any changes in need that require addressing in a new CIN Plan.


A decision may be made that necessary progress has not been achieved and that a higher level of intervention is required as a means of promoting the child's welfare, i.e. child protection conference, accommodation of child/young person, and/or initiating care proceedings.


The frequency of CIN Review meetings will depend on the level of support and services that have been identified to meet need. However, in principle, the first review should be held 3 months after the initial CIN meeting (unless there has been a significant change in circumstances that raises concerns) and further reviews should generally take place at 6 monthly intervals thereafter. Children who have been identified as at some level of risk and/or needing a high level of support and services may need to be reviewed more often than those who require a minimum level of intervention. The CIN Plan will need to identify the level of monitoring and timescales necessary for reviewing the Plan.