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2.3 Care and Placement Plans Guidance


The Care Planning Standard
Regulation 14


This chapter gives guidance on the use of Care Plans and Placement Plans for Individual Children and Young People.


In January 2015, this chapter was updated to clarify that children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) will have an Education, Health and Care Plan, and children with disabilities may also have an Education, Health and Care Plan.


  1. Care Plans
  2. Placement Plans
  3. Other key Plans/Records

1. Care Plans

The Care Plan must be prepared prior to a child’s first placement, or, if it not practicable to do so, within 10 working days of the child’s first placement.

The Care Plan must be regularly reviewed at Looked After Reviews; it must then be redrafted/updated and circulated within 10 working days of the review.

Every Looked After Child must have a Care Plan completed and updated by the Social Worker.

The overall purpose of the plan is to safeguard and promote the interests of the child, prevent drift and focus work with the child and the family.

The Care Plan sets out its overall objectives and timescales (including, by the time of the second Looked After Review, how permanence will be achieved for the child), summarises the needs of the child, identifies the services required to meet those needs and describes the management and support of the plan by the local authority. Care Plans contain descriptions of children's needs and how these needs will be met while they are living away from home.

Before a Court grants a Care Order it must be satisfied that a suitable Care Plan has been drawn up.

2. Placement Plans

Every child placed with us must have a Placement Plan, which sets out the detail of the arrangements for the child.

Where there are Child Protection concerns relating to a child and/or where the child has gone missing from the placement or from any previous placement, the Placement Plan must include information agreed between the local authority and the placement provider about the day-to-day arrangements put in place to keep the child safe.

The internal Placement Plan will be supported with an Integrated Risk Assessment and a detailed Behaviour Management Plan.

The responsibility for completing and updating the Placement Plan rests with the Social Worker who will work with the manager of the home or the Keyworker.

The internal Placement Plan is the responsibility of the home manager who delegates compilation, completion, and updating via the management structure to a delegated Keyworker. Input from the Social Worker is required for the Integrated Risk Assessment.

See Key/Linkworker Guidance.

The Placement Plan should be reviewed in the light of a Looked After Review or any change to the Child's Care Plan.

3. Other Key Plans/Records

3.1 Education

For more detailed procedures and Guidance, see Education Procedure.

An Individual Education Plan (IEP) should be drawn up for all Looked After Children, by the school, it sets out the day to day arrangements for educating the Child e.g. short term targets, strategies to be used, outcomes.

Personal Education Plans (PEPs) must be drawn up, by the child’s social worker, before the child is placed (or within 10 working days in the case of an emergency placement), and be available for the first Looked After Review.

As an element of good care planning, education is crucial to creating opportunities for children in their future lives.

In partnership with the Placing Authority and social worker, Registered Managers should ensure each child has a Personal Education Plan (PEP), which will identify the educational needs of the child and how they should be provided for.

Children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) will also have an Education, Health and Care Plan.

3.2 Health Care

All children who are Looked After should have a Health Care Plan which incorporates a statement of the child's health care needs and how those needs will be addressed. Some placing authorities incorporate Health care Plans into Care Plans, some have separate Health Care Plans.

For more information see Health Care Assessments and Plans Procedure.

Children with disabilities may also have an Education, Health and Care Plan.

3.3 Leaving Care

All Children who are preparing to leave care should have a Pathway Plan setting out the route to the future for young people leaving the Looked After service and will state how their needs will be met in their path to independence. The plan will continue to be implemented and reviewed after they leave the looked after service at least until they are 21; and up to 24 if in education.

Some placing authorities incorporate Pathway Plans into Care Plans, some have separate Pathway Plans; authorities will also have their own policies for when Pathway Plans should be drawn up but most authorities start to draw them up after toward Children’s 16th birthdays.

3.4 Other Key Records

This summarises the other key records that Children ought to have, it does not address specialist records or plans:

Core Assessment Record: A core assessment provides a structured, in-depth assessment of the child's needs where their circumstances are complex. The Core Assessment Record provides a structured framework for social workers to record information gathered from a variety of sources to provide evidence for their professional judgements, and facilitate analysis, decision making and planning. A core assessment should be completed within 35 working days of its commencement. A completed Core Assessment Record is then used to develop the Child's Plan.

Chronology (or Essential Information Record Part 2): The Chronology is started as part of the process of Core Assessment. It records all significant events and changes in the life of a child or young person. The Chronology is an analytical tool designed to help social workers understand the impact, both immediate and cumulative, of events and changes on the child or young person. The Chronology replaces Essential Information Record Part Two for Looked After Children.

Assessment and Action Record (or Assessment and Progress Record): An Assessment and Progress Record (APR) should be updated by the social worker prior to each Looked After Review. Prior to the review the child, where appropriate, carer, parent(s) and social worker should meet to prepare for the review. A decision will need to be made about whether the APR reflects the child/young person's current progress and the APR should be updated as appropriate.

Looked After Review Report: After each Looked After Review, the Chair (Independent Reviewing Officer) should produce and circulate a report within 20 working days of the Review.