Moving to Another Placement

REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS

The Care Planning Standard
Regulation 14

Regulation 5 – Engaging with the Wider System to Ensure Each Child’s Needs are Met

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter covers when a child or young person is making a planned move (i.e. one that is agreed within their Care Plan) and applies whether they are returning home or moving to another placement.

RELATED CHAPTERS

Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings Procedure

Preparation for Leaving Care Procedure

AMENDMENT

In April 2020, this guidance was reviewed throughout and updated as required. Section 2, Arrangements for the Transfer or Discharge has been updated to include a note on the actions placing authorities are required to undertake if a young person is moving from the home into an unregulated placement.


Contents

  1. Decision Making and Notice Period
  2. Arrangements for the Transfer to Another Home
  3. Notifications
  4. Aftercare/Contact


1. Decision Making and Notice Period

Children must remain in the home unless it no longer meets their assessed needs as set out in the Care Plan, or the home has been unable to deliver the services required to meet the child’s needs. Except in an urgent situation (for example because of an immediate risk of serious harm to the child or to protect others from serious injury), any change of placement, should only take place following a Looked After Review chaired by the child’s Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO).

Where it appears that a child or young person would benefit from a transfer to another home / placement, the home’s manager should discuss this with the child’s social worker who will in turn raise it with the Independent Reviewing Officer. A planned placement move can only take place once approval from the placing authority has been received in writing.

Before any change of placement or move to another home is made the following people must be consulted and their views recorded:

  • The child;
  • The child’s social worker;
  • The Independent Reviewing Officer.

The child’s social worker should notify/consult the child’s parents / carers.

(NOTE: If, in an emergency situation, the registered person has to move a child out of the home to other accommodation, the accommodation must be suitable and meet the child’s needs. The child’s social worker or line manager should be informed and, where the child is accommodated under S.20 (Children Act 1989), the parent must also be informed immediately by them. A Looked After Review should be convened as soon as possible after the emergency move has taken place). For more information on the procedure to be following when a child is moved in an emergency please see Emergency Placement and Emergency Reviews Procedure.

Specific requirements at Key Stage 4

A senior officer in the local authority must approve of any change of placement affecting a child in Key Stage 4, except in an emergency/where the placement is terminated because of an immediate risk of serious harm to the child or to protect others from serious injury.

Before approving the decision the local authority must ensure that:

  • The child's wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration;
  • The wishes and feelings of the parent(s) have been ascertained;
  • The educational provision will promote educational achievement and is consistent with the PEP;
  • The Independent Reviewing Officer has been consulted;
  • The Designated Teacher at the child's school has been consulted.

Other than in Key Stage 4, where the local authority proposes making any change to the child's placement that would have the effect of disrupting the arrangements made for education and training, they must ensure that other arrangements are made for education or training that meet the child's needs and are consistent with the PEP.

There is an expectation that a young person’s education in Key Stage 4 should not be disrupted other than as a consequence of an emergency placement.

For a temporary move out of the home, it must be remembered that the child will remain under their current Care Plan and staff should make sure the child understands that expectations in relation to house rules, education etc. still apply.

Any decision to terminate a young person's placement and request that they are moved to another home must be approved by a senior manager.

Normally, young people will remain in the existing home for a minimum of 28 days after the decision to move has been reached to enable proper planning to take place. During this period staff must help the child to prepare for the move. In cases where children are returning home or moving to independent living this includes supporting the child / young person to develop emotional and mental resilience to cope without the home’s support.


2. Arrangements for the Transfer to Another Home

Assuming the decision to move the child has been approved at the Looked After Review, the manager of the existing home should liaise with the manager in the new home and take all reasonable steps to ensure the young person's transfer is managed sensitively and that the move is a positive experience.

The young person and parents should be consulted and kept informed of all key decisions and arrangements in relation to the transfer. If possible, the young person and parents should undertake visits to the new home/Placement and should be provided with information such as the Statement of Purpose or Children’s Guide.

The existing manager should liaise with the following people to ensure that the child’s plans and records (see below) are completed or brought up to date before the young person moves:

  • The social worker;
  • The key worker
  • Parents or those with Parental Responsibility;
  • The young person;
  • The manager of the new home;
  • Virtual School Head;
  • Other relevant people/agencies, e.g. Personal Adviser, Advocate.

The Plans or records that must be brought up to date or completed by the social worker or others, and made available for the new manager / carer, are:

Prior to the move, the existing and new home managers/ carers must liaise with each other to ensure that all appropriate arrangements are made, for example:

  1. The young person's Placement Plan - the manager of the new home / carer is responsible for this but the existing home manager should contribute/offer advice on any plans/strategies that have been used. Ideally the Placement Plan must be completed before or upon admission or, where this is not possible, within 5 working days of the start of the placement. The existing home manager must produce an End of Placement report within 3 days of the child leaving the home;
  2. The existing home manager/key worker should ensure that the young person's file is brought up to date. Any hard copy documents should be passed to the new home manager / carer;
  3. If it appears necessary, the new home manager / carer / social worker should arrange a Planning Meeting, preferably before the move/transfer but within 5 working days of the placement. (Note that essential information for providing safe care to the child must be available to the home at the start of the placement). See Placement Planning Meetings Procedure;
  4. If there is a risk that the young person may go missing, the new home manager should arrange for a Risk Assessment to be completed;
  5. The new manager / carer should liaise with the child’s social worker to ensure arrangements are in place for the young person to be registered with a GP, Dentist and Optician (see Health Notifications and Access to Services Procedure) and should liaise with the existing home manager to obtain information/arrangements for any medication or other healthcare arrangements;
  6. The new home manager should check to ensure that the young person has had a Health Care Assessment in line with set out in Health Care Assessments and Plans Procedure, and liaise with the social worker as necessary if this is required;
  7. The new home manager should ensure the young person is provided with:
    • A copy of the Children's Guide;
    • A copy of the Placing Authority's Complaints Procedure;
    • Details of how to access an independent advocacy service;
    • All personal items and belongings (excluding withheld items).

For all transfers to another home or other placement, the existing home manager should ensure the following arrangements are made:

  1. That the young person takes all their clothing and personal belongings or arrangements are made for them to be passed to the new home manager. The existing home manager must ensure that the young person's belongings/clothing are packed in a luggage case / holdall or similar;
  2. Where children have been in our care for an extended period, memento albums and photographs from the home should be prepared for them so they have a record of their period of life at the home;
  3. The existing and new home manager must ensure that others listed in Section 3, Notifications are notified of the transfer.

Important Note: where the young person will be moving to 'unregulated' accommodation (i.e. accommodation that is not regulated/inspected by OFSTED), or has a vacation placement if they are at college, the local authority must:

  1. Arrange a review of the Pathway Plan 28 days (or as soon as practicable thereafter) from the time the accommodation is provided; and
  2. Determine at what intervals (not exceeding 3 months) subsequent reviews will be carried out.


3. Notifications

The registered person must notify, without delay, the local authority for the area in which the home is located of every admission of a child into the home and every discharge of a child from the home.

The notification must state:

  1. The child’s name and date of birth;
  2. Whether the child is provided with accommodation under section 20 or 21 of the Children Act 1989(1);
  3. Whether the child is subject to a care or supervision order under section 31 of the Children Act 1989(2);
  4. he contact details for:
    1. The child’s placing authority; and
    2. The independent reviewing officer appointed for the child’s case; and
  5. Whether the child has an EHC plan and, if so, details of the local authority with responsibility for the EHC plan or for maintaining the statement of special educational needs.

The social worker should also notify the young person's parents and significant relatives or friends, and should liaise with the new home manager to arrange contact with the young person. NOTE: No contact may be permitted between the young person and their parents, relatives or friends unless agreed with the social worker and set out in the young person's Care Plan.


4. Aftercare/Contact

We are committed to enabling young people who have left our care to stay in contact with key trusted adults if they wish.

Staff in Children’s Homes can do this in a range of ways such as welcoming young people when they come back to visit the home or seeing them in their new home or community. Sometimes this is undertaken on a formal basis, such as time limited outreach support, and at other times more informally.

This contact needs to be undertaken safely and so should be agreed and recorded by the line manager of the staff concerned, and, depending on the age of the young person concerned:

  • Agreed with the social worker and/or leaving care worker;
  • Set out in the young person's Placement Plan/Care Plan or Pathway Plan.

Where there are safeguarding concerns, the staff should work strictly to a safeguarding plan or report emerging concerns and potential risks immediately to the social worker, with a view to reviewing and amending the Placement Plan/Care Plan or Pathway Plan.