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3.2.2 Placement Plans

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to all looked after children, whom are required to have a Placement Plan, this forms part of their overarching Care Plan. It includes the process for the placement planning meeting.

This chapter should be read in conjunction with the Protocol for The Management of Independent Sector Residential and Foster Care Placement Contracts for Looked After Children.

RELEVANT CHAPTERS

Emergency Foster Placement Procedure

Placements in Residential Care Procedure

Placements with Parents Procedure

Placements with Connected Person Under Regulation 24 Procedure

Parent and Child Foster Care Placement Procedure

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in June 2014 in line with the Children's Homes and Looked after Children (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2013. Additional information was added to Section 2, Purpose of the Placement Plan relating to the inclusion of information agreed between the local authority and the placement provider about the arrangements to keep the child safe. In Section 8, Visits to the Child, a Looked After Review should be held where the child has been persistently absent from their placement, or where there are concerns that the child may be at risk of harm.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose of the Placement Plan
  3. Placement Planning Process
  4. Placement Planning Meeting
  5. Child's Health Assessment
  6. Personal Education Plan (PEP)
  7. The Review of the Child's Care Plan
  8. Visits to the Child
  9. Changing the Main Display Address
  10. Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters


1. Introduction

See also Notification to Other Authorities of Children Placed Out of County Procedure, Approval of Placement by Nominated Officer/Director of Children's Services.

1.1 The Placement Plan will be retained within the index facility within MOSAIC.
1.2 In all cases, except emergencies, all sections of the Placement Plan should be drawn up outlining the arrangements for Looking After the Child, before the child is placed or, if not reasonably practicable and in the case of emergencies, as much as possible should be entered on the plan and the remaining sections completed within 5 working days of the start of the placement. This will be completed within the Placement Planning Meeting.
1.3 The Child and Young Persons Placement Plan form can be located under Children's Services Core Forms, on George.
1.4 For young people who are remanded to Youth Detention, please refer to the Child and Young Person's Detention Placement Plan. This can be located under Children's Services Core Forms on George.


2. Purpose of the Placement Plan

2.1 The Placement Plan provides clarity for the child and the child’s carer (whether a parent, a foster carer or registered provider as the person responsible for the child at the accommodation), about how the day to day parenting tasks will be shared between the child’s carer and the responsible authority, including clarity about the financial arrangements for the child’s upbringing.
2.2 The Placement Plan will cover where the authority has, or is notified of, Child Protection concerns relating to the child, or the child has gone missing from the placement or from any previous placement, the day to day arrangements put in place by the appropriate person (placement provider) to keep the child safe. 
2.3

The Placement Plan will ensure the carer receives essential information about the child. It should contain the parental agreement to:

  • The child’s placement in the Looked After Service;
  • Specific Medical Treatments;
  • The delegation of a number of responsibilities (listed within the Child and Young Persons Placement Plan Form) by parents/anyone with Parental Responsibility to the Local Authority including consent to overnight stays;
  • Any delegation of responsibilities to the Foster Carer;
  • Any matters on which the Local Authority/parents/persons with Parental Responsibility consider that the child may make a decision;
  • Contact Arrangements.

There should be clarity and specificity in the placement plan in relation to decision making on behalf of the child. This may be the responsibility of different people such as the Foster Carer, Registered Manager, or the Social Worker.

The placement plan sets out in detail how the placement is intended to contribute to meeting the child’s needs as set out in the Care Plan.


3. Placement Planning Process

The following process provides details for a Foster Care Placement. Please refer to the individual procedures for:

3.1

Following authorisation of the assessment by the Team Manager and Head of Regulated Services, the child's social worker will:

  • Notify the 'Fostering duty desk' to request a placement;
  • Confirm any additional information that is recorded on the child's record that is relevant to the request, but not fully contained within the most recent assessment, for example a psychologist report;
  • Provide a Safety Plan to enable the duty desk to match a child with a carer.

3.2

On receipt of the notification the fostering service duty desk will contact the child's social worker by telephone to discuss the case and the duty desk will require the following information:

  • The child’s history;
  • Any relevant assessments that have been created;
  • The child's core person details;
  • The child's plan;
  • Any other relevant information as advised by the practitioner making the request.
3.3 The role of the fostering service duty desk is to match the needs of the child to a carer(s) that is able to meet the needs.
3.4 The social worker will commence the recording of the Placement Plan.
3.5 In cases where a child is placed in an emergency, the social worker must complete a Placement Plan and include core details about the child’s needs at the time of the placement. A copy of the Placement Plan must be provided to the Carers upon placement and any further information must be completed at the Placement Planning Meeting held within 5 working days of the placement.
3.6

The fostering service duty desk will identify the appropriate carer/placement and:

  • Record evidence of the matching within case notes in the child's record using a heading 'placement matching';
  • Complete the placement record with the start date of the placement and fax/email to finance;
  • Provide any electronic profile of the Foster Carers in advance of the Placement;
  • Will notify Health and LACES upon the making of a placement;
  • For all children send a copy of the Blue Medical book to the carers.
3.7 The fostering service duty person will send a notification to the foster carer(s)' supervising Social Worker of the placement before the start of the placement.
3.8

The Supervising Social Worker will:

  • Read the child's record (The chronology, the most recent assessment that identified the need to accommodate, the child's core person details, the child's plan and any other relevant information as directed by the fostering service duty person);
  • Record the reading of the child's record in case notes in the child's record;
  • If necessary contact the Lead Social Worker of the child to discuss the circumstances and record the discussion within case notes on the child's record within two working days of the discussion;
  • Complete the health and safety checklist and put copy on the child's record and carer's record. Record that it has been completed and any action within the case notes of the child's record within two working days of the completion of the checklist;
  • Assist the child’s Social Worker in completing the safety plan for a child looked after in foster care and put a copy on the child's record and carer's record within two working days of the change in legal status of the child. Record that it has been completed and any action within the case notes of the child's record within two working days of the completion of the assessment.
3.9

If a placement with an external provider has been authorised by the Head of Regulated Services, the Fostering Duty Officer will consult appropriate providers, identify possible placements and liaise with the Social Worker about their suitability and they should arrange for a copy of any brochure or written material that is available for the proposed placement, including Form F to be sent to the Social Worker. At the earliest opportunity the Fostering Duty Desk shall begin to complete the "Budget Approval Form" which comprises three sections. Section A must be completed by the Social Worker for the C/YP and includes details about the Young Person, such as name, age, MOSAIC Number, placement duration and start date and confirmation of Head of Service agreement to place externally. Section B shall be completed by the Duty Desk, identifying which Providers have been contacted and Section C, completed by the Social Worker, outlines details about the placement.

It is important that the service area notifies the Children’s Commissioning Team of their intention to place a child or young person in an independent sector placement, so that Children's Commissioning can ensure contractual arrangements are put in place, contribute through negotiation and market knowledge an assurance of value for money and seek appropriate quality measures from new Providers.

At this stage initial discussions will be held with the providers as to the appropriateness of the referral, time-scales for vacancies and the basic costs of the placement.

In line with the Council's Contracting & Procurement Procedure Rules to ensure fair and open competition it is essential that at least three potential providers are contacted, unless there are very specific circumstances under which the C/YP's placement must be made, and these shall be raised on a case by case basis with the Commissioning Team Manager. There is no preferred Provider list.

Where the proposed placement is out of area, see Notification to Other Authorities of Children Placed Out of County.

The social worker may then arrange visits to the proposed placement, with the child (if old enough) and parents (if appropriate).

The Children’s Commissioning Team will establish whether the selected Provider currently has a contract in place with LCC. Where no contract is in place the Children’s Commissioning Team will complete the necessary quality assurance checks to confirm the providers’ suitability and send out a contract for signature.

Refer to the Protocol for The Management of Independent Sector Residential and Foster Care Placement Contracts for Looked After Children for further information.

As long as no concerns have been raised in relation to a proposed external placement, the social worker may then arrange visits to the proposed placement, with the child (if old enough) and parents (if appropriate) and undertake the following:

  • The Social Worker will complete the Out of County Paper-work;
  • Complete Notification of Placement to relevant authorities;
  • The provider’s admissions procedure will then be followed.


4. Placement Planning Meeting

4.1

For planned placements, the Placement Planning meeting will be held prior to the placement and any additional fields within the placement plan completed by the Lead Social Worker.

For Emergency Placements, the Placement Plan Meeting must be held within 5 working days.

4.2

All Placement Planning Meetings will be chaired by a Practice Supervisor or Advanced Practitioner.

  • The format of the meeting will follow the ‘Child and Young Persons Placement Plan’ (located under Children's Services Core Forms, on George);
  • The meeting will provide full information of any outstanding fields within the Placement Plan and build upon the key information submitted at the point of placement.

4.3

The following will be invited to attend, for specific cases all may not be invited:

  • Supervising Social Worker for the foster carer;
  • Foster carer(s);
  • Child's social worker;
  • Child/young person;
  • Parent(s)/carer(s) of the child/young person;
  • Other involved professionals.

4.4

The Supervising Social Worker and Social Worker will jointly set up the meeting as requested by the Lead Social Worker. They will jointly agree who will complete each task. This will include:

  • Confirming with the child's social worker what arrangements need to be made and within what timescales;
  • Contacting the foster carers to confirm the date/time and venue;
  • Booking the venue if necessary;
  • Sending out invites;
  • Distribute notification letter that the child is looked after to those involved (school, GP, health visitor etc.) and record in case notes that the notification letters have been distributed.
4.5 The meeting will confirm any information that is missing from the placement plan and identify any gaps in the Placement Plan.

4.6

The Supervising Social Worker and the Social Worker for the child will jointly complete the safety plan for a child looked after in foster care and this can be completed at this meeting.

The fostering supervising practitioner will record any relevant information onto the child's record.
4.7 In addition the placement planning meeting will consider the type of introduction process required, for example whether arrangements should be made for the child, parents and the social worker to visit the foster home and/or whether it may be appropriate to have an introductory overnight stay. The planning meeting will also consider any issues with Delegated Authority, however it is recognised for any new placements, the decision to Delegate will require further consideration within the Reviewing process. Children should be able to visit the foster home and talk in private with the carer. If this is not possible, arrangements may be made for the carers to visit the child and parents; or for information about the foster carers to be sent to the child and/or the parents, for example about routines in the foster home, bedtimes, meals, visitors, pocket money, school, privacy and the overall expectations in relation to the child’s behaviour within the home.
4.8 In cases where a child has been placed in an Emergency a meeting with the carers or provider may not be possible prior to the placement; however the meeting should take place within 5 working days of the placement being made.

4.9

The child's social worker:

  • Will enter the information into the child's record within one working day of the meeting. Make any changes to the child's plan. The needs of the corporate parent should be added to the Care Plan once it has been created;
  • Distribute the child's plan.


5. Child's Health Assessment

5.1 This will be completed within 20 days (where the child is Looked After) prior to the change in the child's legal status. Where appropriate the parent/carer of the child should be encouraged, and if necessary assisted, to attend the health assessment appointment.
5.2 The details will be recorded in the child's record in the health section - medicals sub section, select 'add medical' and select 'pre-placement medical.
5.3

The child's social worker will:

  • Send the request for a Health Assessment to the Designated Nurse for LAC who will administer the process;
  • Confirm with the parent/carer of the child the date of when this is to take place;
  • Record any needs, service provision as identified in the health assessment within the child's plan within two working days of the receipt of the health assessment.


6. Personal Education Plan (PEP)

See Education of Looked After Children/Personal Education Plans (PEPs) Procedure.

6.1 The Personal Education Plan should be initiated as part of the Care Plan before the child becomes Looked After (or within 10 working days in the case of an emergency placement), and be available for the first Looked After Review meeting.
6.2

The child's social worker will:

  • Ensure that a social care practitioner attends the meeting with the teacher and child;
  • Record the needs that are identified in the PEP into the child's care plan prior to the first review being held, or if the review is held within the 20 days record the needs within 10 days following the date of the first review;
  • Enter relevant data onto the completed and review date of the PEP onto the child's record.
6.3

The social care worker will arrange the PEP meeting, the social care worker will:

  • Set up the meeting within at least three working days of the placement commencing;
  • Check the child's core person's details for the relevant education information;
  • Contact the school to set up a date/time when the meeting is to be held;
  • Enter the date and time of the meeting into the social care worker's e-diary.


7. The Review of the Child's Care Plan

7.1 The first review will be held within 20 calendar days of the date that the child's legal status changed to become looked after.
7.2

A Looked After Review should be convened where:

  • The child is, or has been, persistently absent from the placement;
  • The placement provider, parents or area authority are concerned that the child is at risk of harm; or
  • The child so requests, unless the Independent Reviewing Officer considers that the review is not justified.

See also The Review of the Child's Plan for Looked After Children.


8. Visits to the Child

The statutory requirement is for the child's social worker to visit the child within 7 calendar days of the placement occurring and every 6 weeks within the first year, thereafter every six weeks (three months if the placement is intended to last until the child is 18). These timescales are the minimum standards required, wherever possible addition visits to the child should be the optimum standard for Lincolnshire. See Visits to Children Procedure.

The first visit to the child will take place within 7 calendar days of the date of the change in legal status which is the start of the placement.


9. Changing the Main Display Address

The Lead Social Worker will change the main display address to that of the placement address after 28 calendar days of the date of the legal status of accommodated. The change will be made within two working days of the 28th day.


10. Temporary Approval as Foster Carers of Approved Prospective Adopters

A person who is approved as a prospective adopter may be given temporary approval as a local authority foster carer for a named Looked After child, where the local authority consider that this is in the child’s best interests.

Before giving such approval, the responsible authority must:

  • Assess the suitability of that person to care for the child as a foster carer; and
  • Consider whether, in all the circumstances and taking into account the services to be provided by the responsible authority, the proposed arrangements will safeguard and promote the child’s welfare and meet the child’s needs as set out in the Care Plan.

The temporary approval period expires when:

  • The  placement is terminated by the local authority;
  • The approval as a prospective adopter is terminated;
  • The prospective adopter is approved as a foster carer;
  • The prospective adopter gives 28 days’ written notice that they no longer wish to be temporarily approved as a foster parent in relation to the child; or
  • The child is placed for adoption with the prospective adopter.

End