Placement Plans


This chapter was amended in December 2020 when a new Section 5, Additional Information if the Young Person (16/17 yrs olds) is Placed under "Other Arrangements" was added.

1. Introduction

Every Child Looked After MUST have a Placement Plan, completed by the child's social worker with support from other professionals from Children's Residential Services and Fostering Services. The Placement Plan sets out the day to day arrangements for the care of a child. The Placement Plan is recorded in ICS within the child's electronic file.

A Placement Plan must be drawn up by the social worker before the child is placed, or, if not reasonably practicable, for example an emergency placement, within five working days of the start of the placement; and this then forms part of the overarching Care Plan along with the Health Plan, Personal Education Plan and if appropriate the Pathway Plan.

The Care Plan and Placement Plan

When a suitable placement has been identified for the child the placement plan will set out in detail how the placement is intended to contribute to meeting the child's needs as set out in the care plan. The placement plan is concerned both with what may need to happen in the placement to achieve the permanence plan – for example promoting positive contact to support a return to home or helping the child move to an adoptive family – and with the way in which a child's needs will be met on a day to day basis and it is therefore integral to the care plan. It is essential that the placement plan is developed in partnership with the child (where appropriate), the child's carer and the parent as well as the social worker to ensure that the contribution required of all parties for the success of the placement is clearly recorded.

2. Information to be Included in a Placement Plan

  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, including any relevant risks which may be identified for the child;
  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 Child Arrangements and Contact Orders (under Section 8 or 34 of the Children Act 1989), and 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, and 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, and whether the Local Authority is maintaining any Education, Health and Care Plans;
  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 Children's Independent Reviewing Officer, the Independent Visitor if one is appointed, the social worker who will be visiting the child and the Personal Advisor for an Eligible Young Person;
  9. All matters delegated to the foster carer or residential staff such as outings, school trips, out of school activities, friendships, visits, and sleepovers and holidays without requiring a Disclosure and Barring Service check, and leisure activities and other issues such as haircuts. This must be agreed within the child's review meeting and thereafter addressed and monitored through the care planning and review process and recorded on a delegated responsibility form. This form can be found on ICS and should be signed by parents, carers and social worker.

3. Additional Information to be included where the Child is Placed with Parents

  1. Details of the support and services to be provided to the parents during the placement;
  2. The obligation on the parents to notify the Local Authority of any relevant change in circumstances including any intention to change address, any changes in the household in which the child lives and any serious incident involving the child;
  3. The obligation on the parents to ensure that any information relating to the child or the child's family or any other person given in confidence to the parents in connection with the placement is kept confidential, and that such information is not disclosed to any person without the consent of the Authority;
  4. The circumstances in which it is necessary to obtain the prior approval of the Authority for the child to live in a household other than that of the parents;
  5. The circumstances in which the placement of the child with the parents pending completion of the assessment of suitability will be terminated, if the decision following completion of the assessment is not to confirm the placement.

4. Additional Information to be included where the Child is Placed with Foster Carers, in a Children's Home or in other Arrangements

  1. The type of accommodation to be provided, the address and, where the child is placed in 'other arrangements', the name of the person who will be responsible for the child at that accommodation;
  2. The child's personal history, religious persuasion, cultural and linguistic background and racial origin;
  3. Where the child is not in care, the respective responsibilities of the Local Authority and parents/anyone with Parental Responsibility; any delegation of responsibility by parents/anyone with Parental Responsibility to the Local Authority for the child's day-to-day care; the expected duration of the arrangements and the steps to bring the arrangements to an end, including arrangements for the child to return to live with parents/anyone with Parental Responsibility; where the child is aged 16 or over and agrees to being provided with accommodation under Section 20 Children Act 1989, that fact;
  4. The circumstances in which it is necessary to obtain in advance the Authority's approval for the child to take part in school trips or overnight stays;
  5. The Authority's arrangements for the financial support of the child during the placement;
  6. Where the child is placed with foster carers, the obligation on the carers to comply with the terms of the foster care agreement;
  7. Where the child is placed out of borough the reason for this and associated risks and the analysis of the decision making process for such placements;
  8. Delegated authority consents.

5. Additional Information if the Young Person (16/17 yrs olds) is Placed under "Other Arrangements"

  1. Other arrangements applies to unregulated settings;
  2. Regulation 12(3)(c) requires that, where a young person is placed in 'other arrangements', then the local authority must make a placement plan involving the young person and the person responsible for supporting him/her in the accommodation. This should be the person who will have the most day to day contact with the young person, for example their 'key worker' or supported lodgings host/carer. Any support plan setting out how the supported accommodation service will support the young person should be integral to the placement plan and avoid duplication;
  3. The placement planning process should involve an exchange of all the necessary information included as part of the young person's pathway plan, so that the accommodation provider has a full understanding of the young person's needs and their role in responding to these;
  4. Where children are placed in 'other arrangements', it will be essential that the provider appreciates the arrangements that the local authority proposes to put in place to make sure that the child is adequately supported;
  5. The placement plan must be explicit about the respective roles and responsibilities of the placement provider and the child's social worker, their IRO and of other staff employed or commissioned by the authority to contribute to the plan for the child's care.

The plan must include:

  • The respective safeguarding responsibilities of the provider and local authority;
  • The frequency of visits the child can expect from their responsible authority;
  • Frequency of care planning meetings and reviews.

See also:

Appendix 1 : Delegated responsibilities example

Appendix 2: OFTSED Guidance Care Vs Support matrix for considering placements under "other arrangements" must be explicit about the respective roles and responsibilities of the responsible authority.

6. Other Key Issues

The child/young person's Social Worker should complete the Placement Plan and Delegated Authority, in consultation with the parents, carers, the child/young person and other key agencies.

All questions must be completed and contain appropriate details(unless information is unavailable) and the agreements signed by the Carer, Social Worker, child/young person, parent/person(s) with Parental Responsibility and other Children's Social Care professionals as appropriate.

All Placement Plans must be approved by the relevant Team Manager and Service Manager at the point of placement and authorised in ICS no later than 5 days after the placement and then following any other subsequent reviews and amendments.

7. Placement Planning Meetings and Keeping the Placement Plan up to date

Placement Plans for children Looked After should be kept up to date in order to reflect the day to day arrangements for the child and to meet their needs as set out in a Care Plan or Pathway Plan. The Placement Plan will be reviewed as part of the care planning process and as part of the child's Looked After Review.

The child's social worker and foster carer/supervising social worker (in relation to children placed in foster care) or manager of the home (in relation to a child placed in residential care) may also request modifications to the Placement Plan as circumstances require, so long as this has been agreed between the social worker and carer as well as with the child, parents, the IRO and others affected.

8. Timing of Placement Planning Meetings and Care Planning Meetings

Placement Planning Meetings

Should be held at the following intervals:

  1. Prior to the child moving into placement;
  2. Within 5 working days of the child's placement in foster care or residential care if a Placement Plan was not completed fully prior to the placement - for example emergency placement.

Care Planning Meetings

Should be held at the following intervals:

  1. Every 4 to 6 weeks to monitor the Care Plan and supporting arrangements;
  2. After serious incidents or in the light of significant changes in the child's circumstances that suggest it is necessary to review the arrangements set out in the Care Plan (inc Placement Plan);
  3. At other times agreed between the social worker and provider/carer;
  4. Where the Statement of Purpose for a Children's Home or Fostering Service determines that such meetings should occur.

9. Chairing Placement Planning Meetings

Meetings may be chaired by a range of professionals as determined by certain circumstances.

  1. In children's homes, the manager of the home, or a person delegated to act on the manager's behalf such as the Senior RCCO, may chair Placement Planning Meetings;
  2. The child's social worker may chair the meeting;
  3. The Social Work Team Manager;
  4. The Fostering Team Manager or a person delegated to act on behalf of the manager or Registered Manager of the Residential Children's Home;
  5. Head of Service.

10. Who Should Attend Placement/Care Planning Meetings?

The people who should contribute are:

  1. The child's social worker;
  2. The child (if appropriate);
  3. The child's parents;
  4. The foster carer or residential key worker;
  5. The foster carer's supervising social worker or a representative from the children's home;
  6. Any other relevant professionals, e.g. a representative from the child's school;
  7. Anyone else considered appropriate or who will have a role in the placement;
  8. Other significant people should be invited to contribute, including any providers/carers who have been looking after the child immediately prior to the placement.

11. Conducting Placement Planning Meetings and Care planning Meetings

At any meeting where the child's placement is to be considered and/or reviewed, the chairperson should obtain or be updated on the following:

  1. The child's Placement Plan;
  2. Any work which has been undertaken by key professionals involved in supporting the child's placement;
  3. The child's Care Plan and/or Pathway Plan.
The chairperson should also ensure that the child, parent(s) and others who have been asked to contribute, understand the purpose of the meeting, how it will be conducted and are given the opportunity to contribute.

12. During the Meeting, the Chairperson should ensure the following

  1. That consideration is given to the continuing appropriateness of the placement within the context of the child's Care Plan and/or Pathway Plan and the need for the Placement Plan to be amended as appropriate;
  2. That the child's Placement Plan is updated if appropriate, and new or updated copies are circulated to those who were invited or contributed, with particular regard to ensuring that the child's placement has the most up to date Placement Plan which has been authorised and agreed;
  3. The decision to place a child in a long-term foster placement with a particular foster carer should be discussed and recorded as part of the review process and once ratified by the Agency decision maker. This decision should then be recorded in the placement plan and agreed and signed by the foster care. This should be shared with the child's parents or those holding parental responsibility.

If children are not settling into their placement, or if there are significant concerns about the suitability of the placement or any identified risks are posed to the child, for example risk of exclusion, negative or risk taking behaviours or issues about health then these should be addressed within the child's care plan with any additional risk assessment and safety plans.

There should also be particular regard given to the following factors if there are significant concerns:

  1. Whether it is possible to sustain the placement until the next Looked After Review by, for example, providing additional support to the placement;

  2. Whether to consider a change of placement or whether the child may be returned home;

  3. Whether to bring forward the date of the next Looked After Review.

13. Recording Outcomes

The chairperson must ensure the following is recorded at the end of the Placement/Care Planning Meeting:

  1. The sections that require updating or amending of the child's Care Plan and who is responsible for providing the updates to the social worker;
  2. The reasons for the changes;
  3. The discussions with and agreements from the IRO to any changes.
Copies of such meetings should be entered onto ICS using the Care Planning Meeting Template and the Care Planning Meeting Minutes and Outcomes should be shared with parents, carers and professionals involved with the child. The fact that the information has been shared with the child's parents, carers and professionals should be recorded on a report shared case note in ICS.