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Planning for looked after children

Care Plans

Every child and young person who is looked after will have a Care Plan. The provision of services and other help for them and their family will be set out in the plan.

The Care Plan will say what the council and other agencies will do to meet the child’s needs including:

  • health
  • education
  • identity
  • family relationships
  • hobbies

and sets out the plan for the child's future. It will describe the child’s contact arrangements with family and friends. Where appropriate, it will include how parents or guardians will help to look after them.

Writing the Care Plan (and Placement Agreement) should be either:

  • before the child becomes looked after
  • or within ten days if the placement is an emergency.

Consultation of the writing of the Care Plan will include:

  • the child
  • their parents or guardians
  • anyone caring for the child

They will receive a copy of the plan.

Care Plans should be clear and easy to understand. The social worker should make sure that everyone knows what it means for the child and their family.

A Pathway plan is a plan for a young person 16 or over. This is like a care plan but also looks at what support the young person needs and wants to help on their journey to being a young adult. Care leavers who are 18 and over will also have a Pathway Plan. This will agree how the council will continue to support them.

Placement Agreements

The Placement Agreement sets out what happens day to day in the place where the child is living. This could be a foster home, children’s home or with a relative who is a foster carer. It includes information about the child’s everyday living arrangements routines including:

  • specific details of arrangements for education
  • health
  • meeting cultural or religious needs,
  • likes and dislikes

It also describes any contact arrangements with parents or others. the management of these arrangements, including travel.

The completion of the Placement Agreement should be within ten days of the child becoming looked after.

The Department for Education has regulations and guidelines for care planning.

Health plans

All looked after children will have a health assessment when they first become looked after. They will meet a children’s doctor who is an expert in supporting looked after children. The doctor will make a plan with them and their carers to meet their health needs. The child’s parents will provide information about the family health history, where possible.

Review health assessments take place every year for looked after children aged 5 and over. They take place every six months for children aged 0-4 years. A looked after children’s doctor or a nurse might conduct the review. Carers of looked after children will register the child with a GP. They will ensure the child attends the dentist and optician on a regular basis.

Reviewing plans

All looked after children will have an Independent Reviewing Officer. Their job is to make sure that plans are in place and followed for looked after children. They do this by talking to:

  • children
  • their carers
  • and people involved in their care.

They also chair regular review meetings. Review meetings take place at least every 6 months. They take place more often when children first become looked after.

The Department for Education has regulations and guidelines for care planning.