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Referral and Initial Information Record

The Referral and Initial Information Record gathers together the essential information about a child or young person. It includes information on the child or young person's ethnicity, the composition of their household, who has parental responsibility for the child or young person, as well as details of other agencies currently involved with the child.

The Referral and Initial Information Record records the reason the child or young person has been referred to social services, or the service being requested for the child or young person as well as social services response to the referral or request for services.

The Government's Objectives for Children's Social Services (1999) sets a time scale of one day for social services to make a decision on referrals.

Using the Referral and Initial Information Record

A Referral and Initial Information Record should be completed, within one working day, for all referrals or request for services. Where more than one child is referred a Referral and Initial Information Record is required for each child.

In cases where it is not clear whether the referral or request for service applies to all children in a family attempts should be made to clarify this with the referrer before proceeding. A Referral or Initial Information Record should be completed on each child referred, or where this information is not clear the Referral or Initial Information Record should be completed on the youngest child in the family, pending the gathering of further information about other children in the household.

If during the course of gathering further information it is likely that other children in the family may be children in need, a separate Referral and Initial Information Record should be completed for each child. The date of the referral on these children will be the date the decision is made that they may be children in need. It may therefore vary from the date the referral on the first child was received.

All sections of the Referral and Information Records should be completed, where information is available. Basic information such as the spelling of names and dates of birth should be checked with the parent or main carer.

The ethnicity of the child should always be recorded. It is the child's, or in the case of young children their parent or main carer's, definition of their ethnicity that should be recorded. Ethnicity should never be assumed or attributed. This information will be important in providing appropriate services to the child and family and for planning services for the community.

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By Steve Walker, David Shemmings and Hedy Cleaver
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