Local Keywords

Care and Placement Plan

A Care and Placement Plan is also known as a Care Plan, particularly in relation to Courts.

Every Looked After child must have a Care and Placement 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 and Placement Plan must be regularly reviewed at Looked After Reviews.

The Care and Placement 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.

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

The child's overarching Care and Placement Plan should include:

  • Placement Plan (setting out why the placement was chosen and how the placement will contribute to meeting the child's needs);
  • Permanence Plan (long-term plans for the child's upbringing including timescales);
  • Pathway Plan (where appropriate, for young people leaving care);
  • Health Plan;
  • Personal Education Plan.

Single Assessment Process

Assessments are undertaken of the needs of individual children to determine what services to provide and action to take. They may be carried out:

  • To gather important information about a child and family;
  • To analyse their needs and/or the nature and level of any risk and harm being suffered by the child;
  • To decide whether the child is a Child in Need (Section 17) and/or is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm (Section 47); and
  • To provide support to address those needs to improve the child's outcomes to make them safe.

With effect from 15 April 2013, Working Together to Safeguard Children removed the requirement for separate Initial Assessments and Core Assessments. One Assessment may be undertaken instead.

The maximum timeframe for the assessment to conclude, such that it is possible to reach a decision on next steps, should be no longer than 45 working days from the point of referral. If, in discussion with a child and their family and other professionals, an assessment exceeds 45 working days the social worker should record the reasons for exceeding the time limit.

Assessments should be conducted in accordance with Chapter 1 of Working Together to Safeguard Children, and the Local Protocol for Assessment.