Child in Need

Last updated: 2018-04-27 10:49:29
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1. Introduction

A child is defined as being in need if:

  • They are unlikely to achieve or maintain, or have the opportunity of achieving, or maintaining a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for them of services by a local authority.
  • Their health or development is likely to be significantly impaired or further impaired without the provision of such services.
  • They are disabled (Sec.17/10 Children Act 1989).

Under the legal framework a Child in Need is identified in one of three categories:

  • Child In Need of Protection - will be on a Child Protection Plan
  • Looked After Child – will be in the care of the local authority
  • Section 17 Children in Need – does not meet the threshold for either of the above, but requires support / intervention to reduce the risk of needs getting worse.

Early Intervention is very important to reduce the risk of children needing a higher level of statutory intervention.


The Child in Need JSNA is linked with the following other topic areas:


Last updated: 27/04/18

2. Key Issues

The rate of CIN in our Borough is very high compared to England and NE Region averages, and compared to the Tees Valley average. It may be that there are particular social and economic challenges in Hartlepool which impact on levels of CIN.

Data indicates that children tend to remain in need for longer in our area than in many other Council areas (14th highest out of all LAs across the country); it may be that this reflects a need for more effective services and arrangements for CIN.

The age profile of our CIN population is concentrated in ages 5 to 15 with the highest number of CIN in the 10 to 15 age range.

Data from social care assessments which attempt to categorise the key factors for a child being in need (from a nationally determined set of factors) suggests that the three most frequent factors are the same both locally and nationally – i.e domestic violence; mental health issues, substance misuse and neglect.

Evidence collated and presented to the Hartlepool Education Commission suggests that neglect has a detrimental impact on brain development of children in their early years.

In Hartlepool there are small numbers of children at risk from exploitation and missing.


Last updated: 26/04/18

3. Recommendations


1. Creation of integrated teams with Health, specifically trained in mental health, domestic abuse, substance misuse as part of an early intervention approach.


2. Review and develop commissioned services to ensure links are embedded into locality teams.


3. Re-commission Council’s Domestic Violence contract with focus on needs of children and young people.


4. Whole workforce training in relation to reducing impact of domestic violence on children and young people as part of an early identification and intervention model via the Better Childhood in Hartlepool approach.


5. Improve the mental health of vulnerable children and young people through enhanced integration and redevelopment of services and the emotional wellbeing offer via the Local Transformation Plan.


6. Develop and support an integrated family support and early intervention programme for 0-2 year olds that stimulates early child development via the Hartlepool Education Commission work.


Last updated: 27/04/18

4. Who is at Risk and Why?

The term ‘child in need’ is applied to a child or young person  whose general wellbeing is likely to suffer as a result of the circumstances they face without the assistance of the local authority and partners.  A child or young person could be a ‘child in need’ for a range of reasons, such as:

  • Severe disability – the child or young person may have a disability which places considerable stress on their family and consequently they will require support to care for them
  • Caring responsibilities – a parent or guardian may have a disability or illness which means the child or young person has to provide inappropriate levels of care for them
  • Abuse – they may be experiencing some form of abuse, such as emotional abuse, physical abuse or sexual abuse
  • Neglect – parents or guardians may be unable to provide adequate care for a child as a result of circumstances they face e.g. alcohol or substance abuse
  • Domestic abuse – they may live in a family where domestic abuse is taking place.
  • Socially unacceptable behaviour – a child or young person by be exhibiting antisocial or criminal behaviour within the family of the wider community
  • Deprivation – a child or young person may be living in severely deprived circumstances where living conditions (e.g. home environment, diet) are like to impact on their wellbeing.

There are groups of children and young people who are at greater risk of experiencing some of the above circumstances that would lead to them becoming a Child in Need these include the following groups:

  • Children and young people from deprived backgrounds are at greater risk of experiencing poorer health, development and educational outcomes than their peers
  • Children in families with parents experiencing a crisis (e.g. bereavement, family breakdown, financial difficulties) resulting in parents having reduced capacity to care for them
  • Children of parents which learning disabilities may be a risk as their parents may not have the ability to provide adequate care without some support
  • Children or young people with a disability are considered as in need and receive an assessment to determine whether they are eligible for support based on the severity of their needs and their wider family circumstances.
  • Unaccompanied asylum seeking children and trafficked children
  • Children that have been privately fostered
  • Children who have been involved in/or are at risk of child exploitation
  • Children who have a history of running/missing from home



Within Hartlepool the percentage of male children in need has steadily risen over the past 4 years to a high of 55% in 2016.  Over the same period the percentage of female children in need has fallen to a low of 43% in 2016.


The age profile of our CIN population is concentrated in ages 5 to 15 with the highest number of CIN in the 10 to 15 age range.  The percentage of under 5s has decreased over the past 4 years.  The percentage of 16 and over has increased steadily over the same period.


The majority of children in need are of a white British background (91%).  There is a very small ethnic minority cohort.

Socio Economic

Within Hartlepool, the most deprived areas have been identified using the lower super output area.  The concentration of CIN population within these deprived areas are in the De Bruce, Manor House and Victoria wards, with the De Bruce ward having 95% of children in need living in the most deprived area of the ward.

Ward data

The CIN population is spread across all wards in the town but the highest concentration are in the Manor House, Victoria, De Bruce and Burn Valley wards.

Factors affecting assessments (e.g. parental substance misuse)

Data from social care assessments suggests that the three most frequent factors are domestic violence; mental health issues, and neglect.  Substance misuse is also a factor in Hartlepool for a child to be in need which is a more frequent factor than nationally.


Last updated: 27/04/18

5. What is the Level of Need in the Population?


Graph 1

There has been a decrease in the number of children in need with the rate per 10,000 population decreasing from 596.6 in 2015 to 531.0 in 2016.  This is still significantly higher than the national figure of 337.7.

Graph 2

The primary need at assessment for children in need in Hartlepool is abuse/neglect (43.9%) which is also the case nationally (50.6%).  We have started to collect more detailed information around the abuse/neglect category which will allow greater analysis of the underlying factors within this category.

Graph 3

Within Hartlepool, boys are more likely to be children in need.  In 2016 55.1% were in need compared to 43.4% that are girls.  The same can be said nationally where 52.7% are boys and 45.3% are girls.

Graph 4

There has been an increase in the number of children in need that have Autism/Aspergers, from 36.2% in 2015 to 45.8% in 2016.  This is well above the national figure of 31.7%.

Graph 5

In Hartlepool, the majority of children in need fall in the 10-15 age band (30.6%) closely followed by the 5-9 age band (26.8%).  This is replicated nationally were 30.7% fall into the 10-15 age band and 24.9% fall into the 5-9 age band.

Graph 6

In Hartlepool, the primary need for children in need across all age bands is abuse or neglect closely followed by family dysfunction.

Graph 7

In Hartlepool, the majority of children are in need for 2 years or more (39.2%).  Likewise, nationally, the majority are in need for 2 years or more (30.9%) followed by those that are in need for 3 months or less (25.6%).

Graph 8

Just over half of the children in need in Hartlepool have no identified SEN (50.3%) compared to 53.3% nationally.  29.8% have SEN support and 19.9% have a statement of SEN or and EHC plan.  Nationally 26% have SEN support and 20.7% have a statement or EHC plan.

2016 Attainment Results

Foundation Stage: of those children that were children in need, 30.2% achieved ‘Good Level of Development’ by the end of the foundation stage compared to 68.4% of all pupils in Hartlepool and 69.3% of all pupils nationally. This highlights that by the end of the Foundation Stage the attainment gap between children in need and their peers is 38.2% and children in need are required to make greater than average progress in order to narrow the gap.

Phonics Screening Year 1: of those children that were in need, 61% met the expected standard compared to 85% for all Hartlepool pupils and 81% for all pupils nationally.

Key Stage 1: of those children that were in need, 51.5% achieved the expected standard in Reading compared to 73% for all Hartlepool pupils and 74% for all pupils nationally; 42.4% in Writing compared to 65% for all Hartlepool pupils and 65% for all pupils nationally; and 36.4% in Maths compared to 71% for all Hartlepool pupils and 73% for all pupils nationally.

Key Stage 2: those children that were in need, 36% achieved the expected standard in Writing compared to 76.1% for all pupils in Hartlepool schools and 44% of children in need nationally; 43% in Maths compared to 71.6% for all pupils in Hartlepool schools and 40% of children in need nationally; 43% in Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar compared to 74% for all pupils in Hartlepool schools and 42% of children in need nationally; 33% in Reading compared to 65.6% for all pupils in Hartlepool schools and 38% of children in need nationally.

Key Stage 4: of those children that were in need, 17.2% achieved 5+ A*-C including English and Maths compared to 47.6% for all Hartlepool pupils and 14.9% for children in need nationally.  The attainment 8 score for children in need in Hartlepool was 22.5 compared to 46.9 for all pupils in Hartlepool schools and 22.6 for children in need nationally.  The progress 8 score for children in need in Hartlepool was -1.55 compared to -0.34 for all pupils in Hartlepool schools and -1.45 for children in need nationally.


Last updated: 03/05/18

6. What Services are Currently Provided?

Last updated: 27/04/18

7. What is the Projected Level of Need?

There are no robust projections for the numbers of Children in Need, however a number of factors would indicate that a rise in the number of children and young people requiring support from Children’s Social Care and partners is likely:

  • The number of children and young people is expected to increase over the next decade so there are likely to be greater numbers of children living in difficult circumstances or with severe needs.
  • Nationally, numbers of children with severe disabilities and complex needs have been increasing with higher survival rates of babies and children with congenital anomalies, trauma or illness; a trend towards more high-risk pregnancies; and also more rigorous diagnosis. This could mean that the prevalence of disability within the population could increase leading to higher numbers of children with disability.
  • The economic climate has led to rises in unemployment, which could increase stress within some families that will need support from social care and partners.
  • Based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation Hartlepool is one of the most deprived areas in the country.  In 2007 the IMD score was 34.10 with a rank of 23.  In the published data from 2016 the IMD score was 33.18 with a rank of 17 where 1 is the most deprived in the country.


Last updated: 27/04/18

8. What Needs Might Be Unmet?

  • A high proportion of children and young people live in families where there is domestic abuse, substance misuse and neglect which impacts on their emotional wellbeing;
  • Multi agency workforce require relevant and appropriate training in relation to domestic abuse and its impact on children and young people as part of the prevention and early intervention model;
  • Current delivery models/commissioned services are not fully meeting the emotional wellbeing needs of children and young people, especially vulnerable groups;
  • Children in their earliest years are not making sufficient progress in their cognitive and linguistic development.
  • Undertake research across Hartlepool schools to identify and share best practice to ensure improved education outcomes for our children in need.


Last updated: 27/04/18

9. What Evidence is There For Effective Intervention?

The Allen Review of Early Intervention recommended that there should be a greater focus on early intervention for vulnerable children during the first few years of their life, where it will have the greatest benefit. The Review identified a number of examples of good practice around parenting support, development of emotional and life skills for children and targeted support to increase learning/literacy skills. The Review strongly endorses an increase in support for families with vulnerable infants and young children, as this is the key age group in which potential issues can be prevented from escalating and is the most cost-effective means of supporting them. Examples of evidence-based, cost-effective programmes identified by the Review include:

  • The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) - This programme focuses on first-time vulnerable (often teenage) mothers. A trained health visitor is given additional skills in order to provide expectant mothers with the deep support to form strong attachments with their child and to avoid damaging parenting techniques. The intervention also provides practical support, getting mothers back into work and giving them the insight and the skills to delay subsequent pregnancies. This increases household income and boosts parental aspirations.
  • Triple P (Positive Parenting Programme) – aims to support parents of children and teenagers by building their parenting skills.
  • Incredible Years – a programme aimed at supporting parents of children with behavioural problems. It aims to do this through improving adult’s communication with children and building children’s’ emotional and social skills. Sure Start projects in North Wales have been delivering the programme to parents, teachers and children for several years.
  • Parent-child interaction therapy – aims to improve the quality of the relationship between parents and their children and change interaction patterns.


Last updated: 27/04/18

10. What Do People Say?

Under development

Last updated: 27/04/18

11. What Additional Needs Assessment is Required?

  • Undertake a deep dive analysis on children and young people identified as CIN for 2 years or more
  • Understanding health outcomes for Children in Need
Last updated: 27/04/18

Key contact: Jane Young

Job title: Head of Service, South Locality (Prevention, Safeguarding and Specialist Services)


Phone number: 01429 523957



Local strategies:


National strategies and plans:

Department for Children, Schools and Families (2010) Working Together to Safeguard Children

Allen G (2011) Early Intervention: the Next Steps, Cabinet Office