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6.2.4 Care Planning


Contents

  1. The Child Plan
  2. Timescales for Completion of Child Plan
  3. Approval of the Care Plan / Child Plan
  4. Circulation of Child Plan
  5. Other Required Plans, Documentation and Actions


1. The Child Plan

In all circumstances where a decision is made to look after a child, the child must have a Child Plan completed by the social worker and signed by the relevant team manager, the contents of which include:

  • The child's Placement Plan (setting out why the placement was chosen and how the placement will contribute to meeting the child's needs);
  • The child's Permanence Plan (setting out the long term plans for the child's upbringing including timescales);
  • The Pathway Plan (where appropriate, for young people leaving care);
  • The child's Health Plan;
  • The child's Personal Education Plan;
  • The contingency plan;
  • The date of the child's first LAC Review (within 20 working days);
  • The name of the Independent Reviewing Officer.

Where there is no recent Statutory Assessment in relation to the child, the Child Plan must provide for a Statutory Assessment to be completed.

The child's social worker is responsible for drawing up and updating the Child Plan in consultation with:

  1. The child;
  2. The child's parents and those with Parental Responsibility;
  3. Anyone who is not a parent but has been caring for or looking after the child;
  4. Other members of the child's family network who are significant to the child;
  5. The child's school or the education service;
  6. The relevant health trust;
  7. The Youth Offending Service, if the child is known to them;
  8. Any other agency involved with the child's care.

The social worker should ensure that the child, those with Parental Responsibility and the carer understand the Child Plan and their role in contributing to its implementation.

One of the key functions of the Child Plan is to ensure that each child has a Permanence Plan by the time of the second Looked After Review. The Child Plan is subject to scrutiny at each Looked After Review - see Looked After Child Reviews Procedure.

The Child Plan should include the arrangements made to meet the child's needs in relation to his or her:

  • Emotional and behavioural development;
  • The child's identity in relation to religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background;
  • Family and social relationships; arrangements for contact with sibling(s) accommodated by the authority or another local authority; details of any Section 8 Order, in relation to a Looked After Child; details of any order in relation to contact with a child in care; arrangements for contact with parents/anyone with Parental Responsibility/ any other Connected Person; arrangements for the appointment of an Independent Visitor for a Looked After Child;
  • Social presentation;
  • Self-care skills.


2. Timescales for Completion of Child Plan

A Child Plan must be prepared prior to a child's first placement, or, if it is not practicable to do so, within 10 working days of the child's first placement.


3. Approval of the Care Plan / Child Plan

Any final Care Plan taken before the Court within Care Proceedings must be endorsed and signed by a responsible service manager.

All other Child Plans must be endorsed and signed by the social worker's team manager.


4. Circulation of Child Plan

The Child Plan must be circulated to the following people:

  • The child, if of significant age and understanding;
  • The parent(s);
  • Providers/Carers - if no Child Plan has been drawn up prior to the child's placement, the social worker must ensure that the providers/carers understand the key objectives of the plan, and how the placement will help achieve these objectives;
  • The Fostering Service, where the child is in foster care. N.B. The Child Plan should be filed in the confidential section of the foster carer's file and returned to the child's social worker when the placement ends;
  • The child's Independent Reviewing Officer.


5. Other Required Plans, Documentation and Actions

5.1 Placement Plan (recorded on the Placement Information Record on ICS)

The child must have a Placement Plan at the time of the placement (this includes the parent's consent to the placement (if applicable) and the child's medical treatment). It should be completed as far as possible before the child is placed or, if not reasonably practicable, within 5 working days of the start of the placement.

The information to be included in the Placement Plan will include:

  1. How on a day-to-day basis the child will be cared for and the child's welfare will be safeguarded and promoted by the appropriate person;
  2. Any arrangements for contact between the child and parents/anyone with Parental Responsibility/any other connected person, including, if appropriate, reasons why contact is not reasonably practicable or not consistent with the child's welfare; details of any Contact Order / Child Arrangements Order; the arrangements for notifying any changes in contact arrangements;
  3. Arrangements for the child's health (physical, emotional and mental) and dental care, including the name and address of registered medical and dental practitioners; arrangements for giving/withholding consent to medical/dental examination/treatment;
  4. Arrangements for the child's education and training, including the name and address of the child's school/other educational institution/provider and designated teacher; the Local Authority maintaining any statement of Special Educational Needs;
  5. The arrangements for and frequency of visits by the child's social worker; and for advice, support and assistance between visits;
  6. If an Independent Visitor is appointed, the arrangements for them to visit the child;
  7. The circumstances in which the placement may be terminated;
  8. The name and contact details of the Independent Reviewing Officer, the Independent Visitor if one is appointed, the social worker who will be visiting the child, and the Personal Adviser for an Eligible Young Person.

The Placement Plan will be recorded on the Placement Information Record on the child's electronic database.

Copies of the Placement Information Record must be provided to the child (if of sufficient age and understanding), the parents and must be handed to the residential staff/carers before the child is placed. 

At the time of the placement, the residential staff/carers should also be given any additional information about details of the child's day to day needs which are not covered by the Placement Information Record but are important to ensure that the staff/carers are in the best possible position to help the child settle in the new placement, for example any particular fears at night-time or the child's favourite toys.

5.2 Chronology

Whenever a new placement is made or the child moves placement, the child's Chronology should be updated.

5.3 Arrangement of first Looked After Review

The child's social worker must notify the Independent Review Unit of the placement within two working days of the child becoming looked after, so that the necessary arrangements for the allocation of an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) (within 5 working days of the child becoming looked after wherever possible) and the child's first Looked After Review can be made. See the Looked After Child Reviews Procedure for the procedures relating to reviews, including the responsibility for invitations to reviews.

5.4 Health Care

Before or at the time of the placement, the social worker should request the parent to transfer the child's personal child health record. Where this is lost or not available, the social worker should ask for a replacement to be issued and ask the Designated Nurse for LAC to assist with providing any information to complete the record.

The social worker should also contact the Designated Nurse for LAC to arrange a Health Care Assessment before the placement or, if not reasonably practicable before the first LAC Review (i.e. within 20 working days of the placement) so that the completion of a Health Child Plan is in time for the child's first LAC Review. See Health Care Assessments and Plans Procedure.

In addition, the social worker should inform the carer of any medication the child is taking, and ensure that a supply of medication is provided in a clearly labelled bottle with the child's name, required dosage and the time the medication is to be given.

5.5 Personal Education Plan (PEP)

The social worker should also liaise with the Aspire Team so that a Personal Education Plan (PEP) can be completed as part of the Child Plan before the child becomes looked after (or within 10 working days in the case of an emergency placement) and be available in time for the first Looked After Review. See Education of Looked After Children Procedure.

5.6 Provision of information

The child and parents must also be provided with information about the complaints process and the availability of advocates.

5.7 Changes in Legal Status

Any changes in a child's legal status as a result of court proceedings must be recorded on the child's electronic record.

End