Admission and Transition


The Quality and Purpose of Care Standard
Regulation 6

The Care Planning Standard
Regulation 14


For transfers and discharges, see Moving to Another Placement Procedure.

This chapter is for planned placements; for emergency placements see Emergency Placements and Emergency Reviews Procedure.


This chapter was amended in May 2022 to note the importance of a child’s belonging’s being transferred in appropriate luggage and to add a link to the NYAS ‘My Things Matter’ Report – support and respect care-experienced children and their belongings when they move. See Section 3.3, Placement Planning and Section 6, Support, Monitoring and Ending of Placements.


  1. Admissions Criteria
  2. Pre-Referral Responsibilities (of the Placing Authority)
  3. Planned Placements
  4. Information for Children and Notifications
  5. Health Care
  6. Support, Monitoring and Ending of Placements

1. Admissions Criteria

To follow.

2. Pre-Referral Responsibilities (of the Placing Authority)

This summarises the procedures which should normally be followed by the Placing Authority before a child is referred for placement. However, procedures in individual authorities may differ.

2.1 Consultation

At the point when it is determined that a placement may be required, and throughout the subsequent process of identification, planning and placement, the social worker must consult and take account of the views of the following people:

  1. The child;
  2. The child's parents;
  3. The Child's Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO), if the child is moving from another Looked After Placement;
  4. If the child is at Key Stage 4 the Nominated Officer within the placing authority must be consulted prior to the placement;
  5. Anyone who is not a parent but has been caring for or looking after the child;
  6. Other members of the child's family who are significant to the child;
  7. The child's school or education authority;
  8. The Youth Offending Service, if the child is known to them.

2.2 Relevant Plans

The social worker should ensure that the proposed placement is in keeping with the overall Care Plan for the child, which should be set out in writing.

The Care Plan should demonstrate that the child's needs will be met by the proposed placement.

The Care Plan should be completed before the child becomes Looked After, or within 10 working days of the child's placement.

If a placement is approved, the social worker should ensure that a Placement Information Record is drawn up before the placement starts, or within 5 working days of the placement.

The manager of the home will be responsible for drawing up a Placement Plan.

2.3 Approval of the Plan to Place a Child

Before a referral is made the social worker is normally required to seek management authorisation. The social worker may also be required to make the referral via a placement service or budgetary management process.

Any transfer of a child from another Looked After Placement who is at Key Stage 4 (year's 10 or 11) must be approved the Nominated Officer within the placing authority.

2.4 Children placed outside the area where they normally live

The decision to place a child out of area must be approved by the Nominated Officer, unless it is a Placement at a Distance, (i.e. outside the area of the local authority and not within the area of any adjoining local authority), in which case the approval of the Director of Children's Services is required. 

The Nominated Officer/ Director of Children's Services must be satisfied of the following:

  • That the child's wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration;
  • That the placement is the most appropriate placement available for the child and consistent with the Care Plan;
  • That relatives have been consulted where appropriate;
  • That the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) has been consulted (usually the IRO will discuss with the child after the child has visited the proposed placement);
  • That the area authority has been notified, or, for a  Placement at a Distance, the area authority have been consulted and have been provided with a copy of the child's Care Plan.

The social worker must assess the suitability of the placement. This includes referring to the Home's Statement of Purpose and location assessment; consulting the Home's manager to ensure that proper arrangements are in place for the child to have contact with his/her family and significant others, particularly when the child is placed at a distance away from their family home; and considering the arrangements for meeting the child's health and education needs.

For more information, see The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review.

3. Planned Placements

This section covers planned placements, for emergency placements see Emergency Placements and Emergency Reviews Procedure.

3.1 Definition of Planned Placement

A Planned Placement is the placement of a child with the agreement of the Placing Authority and Designated Manager (Admissions). 

3.2 Referral Process

The decision about suitability of placement will be made by the Designated Manager (Admissions) in consultation with the Placing Authority. Before making such a decision, a Referral Form must be completed and taken into consideration (if this is not possible the placement can still be agreed but is deemed to be an Emergency Placement, subject to an Emergency Review within 72 hours of the child's admission):

Though not essential, the following should be undertaken before a decision is reached:

  • Arrangements should be made for the Home's Manager or delegate to meet the child, parent(s) or carers;
  • An Information Pack and/or brochure about the home should be forwarded to the Placing Authority, parent(s) or carers;
  • An Information/Children's Guide should be forwarded to the child;
  • Up to date Chronology should be obtained;
  • A copy of the Care Plan should be obtained or forwarded to the home within 10 working days;
  • Other relevant information about the child. For example, recent Looked After Review reports, Pathway Plan, Personal Education Plan, reports from specialists or therapists.

If it is agreed that a placement is offered to the child, the Designated Manager (Admissions) should arrange for a Service Agreement/Contract to be drafted and forwarded to the Placing Authority for signing.

A copy of the completed/signed Service Agreement/Contract, Referral Form and other documents obtained must be given to the Home's Manager to be placed on the child's file.

3.3 Placement Planning

Once a decision has been reached to place a child, the Home's Manager will co-ordinate the placement with the Placing Authority (usually the child's social worker).

Before or on the day of the placement, it will be necessary for the Home's Manager to obtain the following, which should be taken into account when the child's Placement Plan is completed:

  • A copy of the Referral Form and Placement Risk Assessment;
  • A copy of the child's Care Plan and Placement Information Record. If these documents are not available, the Home's Manager must clarify the key objectives of the Care Plan with the Placing Authority and arrange for a completed Care Plan to be forwarded to the home within 10 working days of the child's placement;
  • A Chronology should be obtained at the time of the placement or forwarded to the home as soon as practicable after the placement starts;
  • The contact arrangements that may be permitted between the child and his parents, siblings, relatives and friends- no contact may be allowed without the approval of the social worker in writing (or set out in the child's Placement Plan);
  • A copy of the child's Health Care Plan or, if this isn't available, details of any healthcare or medical needs/requirements that the home should be aware of e.g. Home Remedies or Medication that the child may require (see Health Care Assessments and Plans Procedure);
  • Any other relevant documents such as a recent Looked After Review reports, Pathway Plan, Personal Education Plan, reports from specialists or therapists. Copies of information relating to any Court Orders that may be required to influence the child's placement e.g. if the child is subject to a Remand.

The documents/information above should be taken into account when completing the child's Placement Plan. The responsibility for the completion of the Placement Plan rests with the Home's Manager.

It is for the Home's Manager/delegate and social worker to agree whether the Placement Plan has been completed sufficiently to sustain the child until the first Looked After Review.

If there is no agreement, a Placement Plan Review must be convened within 7 days of the placement to enable the plan to be completed satisfactorily.

Subsequent Placement Planning Meetings must be convened each week until the plan is completed satisfactorily.

The detailed arrangements for admitting the child will depend on the circumstances of the case; these arrangements should be made by the Home's Manager in consultation with the child's social worker. The child should be encouraged to bring with them favourite and cherished possessions, although expensive items will require careful consideration. Suitable luggage should be used; a child's belongings should never be transported in bin-bags or other inappropriate containers (see NYAS, My Things Matter Report).

A copy of the Children's Guide must be given to the child before or upon admission.

4. Information for Children and Notifications

4.1 Information for Children

Upon admission, or as soon as possible afterwards, children should be provided with key information - as follows:

  • A copy of the Child's Care Plan, Placement Information Record, the Home's Placement Plan and other key plans and arrangements;
  • A copy of the Children's Guide for the home; if not covered in the Children's Guide, the Child should be given information about the following:
    • The layout of the Home and toilet/bathroom facilities;
    • Fire precautions/drill;
    • Representations, Complaints and Compliments Procedure;
    • The name of the designated keyworker;
    • The Daily Routines for the Home, including meal times or arrangements;
    • Details of any House Rules, and whether any sanctions will apply if rules are broken;
    • Arrangements for the child's education.

Within 24 hours of the child's placement, the keyworker or another member of staff should meet the child to check that this information has been given and that the child understands them fully. If there is any doubt, the keyworker should arrange to meet the child for a second time to clarify/confirm any misunderstandings.

4.2 Notifications

The area local authority must be notified without delay of the admission of a child to the Home, unless that authority is also the child's placing authority.

The notification must state:

Notification of the placement must be sent by the Social Worker/Placing Authority, to all those consulted and involved in the decision-making process within 5 working days of the placement starting.

If not consulted during the decision making process, the following people/agencies must be notified:

  1. The team/unit, within the Placing Authority, responsible for arranging Looked After Reviews, so that the child's first/next Looked After Review can be arranged, normally within 20 days of the child's placement;
  2. The Health Trust;
  3. The Local Education Authority;
  4. The Children's Services Department in the area where the child is placed; these notifications must be made in writing advising of the placement decision and the name and address of the person with whom the child is to be placed.

5. Health Care

It will be necessary for the manager of the home to ensure the following:

6. Support, Monitoring and Ending of Placements

The child's social worker must visit the child in the placement within one week of the placement and then at specified intervals; which are set out in Social Worker Visits Procedure.

The social worker must also co-operate with the manager by attending Placement Plan Reviews, as set out in Placement Planning Meetings Procedure.

When a child leaves or transfers from the placement, suitable luggage should be used (see Section 3, Planned Placements).