Looked After Children

The Looked After Children and Young People (LAC & YP) Team in Lewisham constitutes an integral part of the Safeguarding Team.

However, its work, although mindful of the principles of child protection, deals with the most disadvantaged group of the general child population and has to address health issues unique to this group.


What do we do?

Statutory Health Assessments for looked after children - Initial health assessment when a child first comes into care followed by annual reviews for those over 5 years or every 6 months for children under 5 years

Health Promotion - Provided at health assessments, drop ins or group settings on many health related issues such as healthy eating, dental health, alcohol, sexual health, healthy lifestyles, drugs,  relationships, mental health, smoking cessation.

Adoption and Fostering – Medical Adviser’s attendance at Adoption Panels and Agency Decision Maker (ADM) meetings to give medical advice on children and prospective adopters; medical advice on prospective foster carers to Fostering Panel.

Training - Health professionals in Lewisham and neighbouring boroughs, foster carers, social workers, students (medical, nursing, mental health and social work) - raising awareness of the health needs of LAC &YP.

Liaison with other professionals - Children’s Social Care, foster carers, school nurses, health visitors and other Lewisham health professionals, including Lewisham Paediatricians, General Practitioners and CAMHS, sexual health practitioners, and LAC health teams from other areas.


What services are available?

  • Health assessments including adoption medical clinics  – Mondays to Fridays: initials and reviews undertaken by Community Paediatricians and GP trainees; reviews by LAC nurse, school nurses, health visitors
  • Primary immunisations (by LAC nurse)
  • Dietary advice, Growth monitoring,
  • Sexual health & Contraceptive service (by LAC nurse)
  • Hearing & Vision screening


Where are we based?

Kaleidoscope Centre for Children and Young People
32 Rushey Green
Catford


Who is it for?

The Looked After Children health team provides health services for children who are looked after and placed by Lewisham Children’s Social Care (CSC). A small number of children we see are looked after by other Local Authorities.


How do I get an appointment?

Referrals are received from CSC and appointments offered from the LAC health team for health assessments (including adoption medicals); other health input is provided as needed such as advice and support, immunisations, referrals, further investigations and developmental follow-up.


Who are the key staff?

The Looked after Children Team comprises of:

  • Designated Doctor and newly introduced role of Named Nurse who have both a clinical and a strategic role to all looked after children placed by Lewisham CSC. They work in partnership with other health and local authority staff and maintain professional links with their counterparts in neighbouring trusts. They provide advice to the trust on questions of planning, strategy and quality standards in relation to health services for looked after children. They are easily accessible for other health professionals, social workers, carers and young people either by phone, email or face to face.
  • The role of Designated Nurse for LAC has been unified with the child protection remit and has moved entirely into commissioning.
  • Medical Adviser to the Lewisham Adoption and Permanence Team as well as the Fostering Panel. Lewisham continues to have a very busy adoption panel, which is regularly attended by the Medical Adviser.  In view of the high quality reports provided to the panel and the high level of expertise within the panel membership Lewisham’s rate of successful adoption placements is considerably higher than the national figure (i.e. adoption disruptions are very rare). 
  • Other community paediatricians are involved in undertaking initial and review health assessments. 
  • Paediatricians in training – specialist registrars develop skills in performing health assessments and understanding the health needs for LAC.                                       
  • The ongoing involvement of GP trainees is likely to improve the skills and knowledge of the local GP workforce about LAC and the relations with the LAC health team. 
  • Safeguarding Administrators are responsible for data input, maintaining data bases, typing reports, minute taking and following up of planned health assessments which includes arranging out of borough health assessments and liaising with children’s social care and out of borough teams to facilitate the process.
  • Secretarial support to the community paediatricians.
  • School nurses perform health assessments in looked after children attending schools in Lewisham.
  • Health visitors undertake health assessments in looked after children below school age, who are placed in Lewisham or are registered with a Lewisham GP.


What else do I need to know?

Referrals for health assessments are received from CSC and appointments are made:

  • For the doctors by the LAC admin team
  • The LAC Nurse, school nurses and health visitors will ring the carers to arrange
  • For out of borough placements LAC admin will arrange the health assessment with the most appropriate local health professional

When attending for a health assessment please bring the red book with you and any other health information you may have such as date of last eye test or dental check.


How can you contact the LAC team?

  • Designated Doctor – Dr Christiane Nitsch: via LAC admin team or cnitsch@nhs.net
  • Designated Nurse: tbc
  • Medical Adviser – Dr Sue Leather: via LAC admin team or sleather@nhs.net
  • Named Nurse – Jean Foster: tbc
  • Safeguarding/LAC admin team  020 7138 1394  /020 7138 2290 or lh.childprotection@nhs.net  

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