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.


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

1. Care Plans

Every Looked After Child must have a Care Plan which is completed and updated by their allocated social worker.

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 first placement.

The overall purpose of the Care Plan is to safeguard and promote the interests of the child, prevent drift and provide focus for work with the child and their family.

Under Regulation 5c, the Registered Person in a Children’s Home must challenge any placing authority who asks them to accept a child / young person in the absence of a current and relevant plan. It is essential to the provision of safe and appropriate care, and to avoid potential future disruption and instability, that the home understands what will be required of them before they accept responsibility for a child’s placement.

The Care Plan contains information on the arrangements for the current and longer term care of the child (including, by the time of the second Looked After Review, how permanence will be achieved). It also summarises the child's current developmental needs and identifies the services required to meet those needs. The Care Plan must include the name and contact details of the child's Independent Reviewing Officer. It should also include information on the arrangements for on-going contact between the child and their family.

The Care Plan will be reviewed at the child's Looked After Review. Any changes or updates agreed must be made within 10 working days of the review.

2. Placement Plans

Every Looked After Child will have a placement plan which sets out in detail how the current placement will contribute to meeting their needs as set out in the Care Plan. Before making a placement in a Children’s Home, it is essential that the placing authority fully understands the services the home offers, and how the provider intends to care for the child. This understanding of the provider's approach should inform the child's Placement Plan, which should be drawn up in conjunction with the provider.

The Placement Plan is concerned both with both how the placement will meet the aims of the Care Plan and contributes to achieving the Permanence Plan, as well as covering how the child's needs will be met on a day to day basis.

Placement Plans must be agreed with the child and their carers, and are likely to be most effective when drawn up at Placement Planning Meeting which involves everyone concerned in the care of the child.

For children placed in Children’s Homes, the Placement Plan should cover the following issues:

  • How the child will be cared for on a day to day basis, including how their welfare will be safeguarded and promoted by the appropriate person;
  • 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 Contact Order (under Section 8 or 34 of the Children Act 1989); the arrangements for notifying any changes in contact arrangements;
  • Arrangements for promoting the child's health (physical, emotional and mental), dental and optical care, including the name and address of registered medical and dental practitioners and opticians; arrangements for giving/withholding consent to medical/dental examination/treatment;
  • 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; the local authority maintaining any Education, Health and Care Plan;
  • Who has the authority to take particular decisions about the child, including reasons for any day to day decision making which is not delegated to the home’s staff;
  • The arrangements for and frequency of visits by the child's social worker; and for advice, support and assistance between visits (including from an Independent Visitor of Advocate);
  • If an Independent Visitor is appointed, the arrangements for them to visit the child, including the frequency of visits;
  • The circumstances in which the placement may be terminated;
  • The name and contact details of the Independent Reviewing Officer, the Independent Visitor if one is appointed, the social worker who will be visiting the child, and the Personal Adviser for an Eligible Young Person;
  • The type of accommodation to be provided and the address;
  • Where the authority has, or is notified of, safeguarding or 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 to be put in place by the appropriate person (Placement Provider) to keep the child safe;
  • Any behaviours which have been of concern to previous carers and which may have contributed to previous breakdown of a placement and details of how the Placement Provider will seek to manage and respond to these;
  • Details in relation to the child's personal history, religious persuasion, gender identity, cultural and linguistic background and ethnicity;
  • The local authority's arrangements for the financial support of the child during the placement.

The Placement Plan may incorporate a detailed Behaviour Management Plan for some children.

Prior to the placement, local authorities should always provide all information concerning the child which is necessary to allow the provider to provide appropriate care and to meet the requirements of the relevant children's homes regulations.

The Looked After Review should consider whether care is being provided in line with the agreed approach and whether this approach continues to be the most appropriate placement for the child. 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.

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. The Personal Education Plan (PEP) will identify the educational needs of the child and how they should be provided for.

3.2 Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

An EHCP is for children and young people between 0 and 25 in education who have additional needs. The plan coordinates the child's educational, health and social needs and sets out any additional support they may need.

3.3 Health Care

All children who are Looked After should have a Health Care Plan incorporating a statement of the child's health care needs and how those needs will be addressed.

For more information see Health Care Assessments and Plans Procedure.

3.4 Leaving Care

The Pathway Plan sets out the ambitions and future plans for young people leaving care and how their needs will be met as they move to independence. The Pathway Plan must be reviewed at least every 6 months for care leavers up to age 25. When the care leaver reaches the age of 21, they will decide whether they wish to continue with the support of a Personal Advisor and have a Pathway Plan, although they can return at any time up to the age of 25 to seek support. The nature of this support will vary at this stage depending upon the complexity of the young person’s circumstances. The Pathway Plan will reflect this, and will need to be reviewed and updated as a minimum at least every 6 months.

3.5 Other key records

This summarises the other key records that children will have, it does not address specialist records or plans:

Single Assessment Record: The single assessment provides an in-depth assessment of the child's needs, using information gathered from a range of sources. The assessment is completed by a social worker who will use evidence gathered during the assessment to facilitate analysis, decision making and planning for the child. The Single Assessment will be regularly updated, and should be fully reviewed if there is a significant change in the child’s needs or circumstances.

Chronology: The Chronology is started as part of the process of Single 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.

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.