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6.1 Placements in Foster Care


  1. Scope
  2. Consultation
  3. Placement Request - Office Hours
  4. Out of Hours Placements
  5. Identification and Approval of Placement
  6. Placement Planning
  7. Notification of Placement
  8. Support and Monitoring of Placements
  9. Ending of Placements
  10. Permanent Foster Placements

1. Scope

1.1 This chapter applies to any placement of a Looked After child with foster carers living on the Isle of Man.

2. Consultation


At the point that 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:

  • The child;
  • The child's parents;
  • Anyone who is not a parent but has been caring for or looking after the child;
  • Other members of the child's family who are significant to the child or who have a Contact Order in their favour in relation to the child;
  • The child's school or the education service;
  • The Youth Justice Team, if the child is known to them;
  • Any other relevant person, e.g. nursery, health care professional, Children’s Guardian;
  • The views of these people should be given by them, in writing, or should be recorded by the social worker.

3. Placement Request – Office Hours

3.1 Where a decision has been made that a child requires a foster placement, the child's social worker will request a placement by contacting the Fostering Service.
3.2 In making this request, the social worker will be asked to provide information about the child, the type of placement sought, the CLA Plan, the date by which the placement is required, the likely length of time for which the placement is required and the expected level of contact between the child and parents. The social worker should also outline any risks associated with the placement, for example as a result of the child’s challenging behaviour.
3.3 The duty worker at the Fostering Service will identify a foster placement that appears to be appropriate to meet the child's needs and once such a placement is identified, the social worker will be advised accordingly – see Section 4, Out of Hours Placements.

4. Out of Hours Placements

4.1 For out of hour's placements, the Out of Hours Duty Team will be contacted in order that arrangements can be made with foster carers who are available to receive emergency placements.

5. Identification and Approval of Placement

5.1 Other than placements that are required on an emergency basis, information on prospective carers will be passed to the child’s social worker in order to agree the match and to share with the child in preparation for the placement.
5.2 When a potential placement has been identified, the child's social worker will liaise with the foster carer's supervising social worker to agree arrangements for the placement. At this stage, the social worker will also discuss the child with the prospective foster carer and, in particular, share any risks associated with the placement with the foster carers and the supervising social worker.
5.3 The proposed placement will then be presented to the social worker's manager for approval.
5.4 When the proposed foster placement has the relevant approval, the placement planning process can start - see Section 6, Placement Planning
5.5 The social worker may then arrange an introductory visit to the proposed placement, with the child (if old enough) and parents (if appropriate).

6. Placement Planning

6.1 Before the child is placed, the child's social worker will arrange a Placement Planning Meeting after liaising with the foster carer and the foster carer's supervising social worker. The meeting will usually be held in the new placement. See also Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings Procedure.

Participants will include:

  • The parent;
  • The child (if appropriate);
  • The foster carer;
  • The supervising social worker;
  • Any other relevant professionals, e.g. a representative from the child's school;
  • Anyone else considered appropriate or who will have a role in the placement.
6.3 The purpose of the first Placement Planning Meeting is to finalise the Placement Information Record. This will involve a discussion of the child's needs, including health and education needs and how these are to be met.
6.4 The meeting also provides an opportunity to ensure that the foster carers have a copy of any relevant court order and that full information is shared with them about the child's needs and any behaviour management issues.
6.5 Except in immediate placements, the Placement Planning Meeting should be held before the placement. Where this is not possible, it should be held at the latest within 72 hours of the placement.
6.6 The child's social worker will complete and arrange for the circulation of the CLA Plan and Placement Information Record to the child, parents and foster carers before or at the latest, within 72 hours of the placement.
6.7 At the time of the placement, the foster carers should also be given any additional information about details of the child's day to day needs which are not covered by the Placement Information Record but are important to ensure that the carers are in the best possible position to help the child settle in the new placement, for example any particular fears at night-time or the child's favourite toys. This should also include a Medical Consent card.
6.8 The child's social worker must provide the child and the parent with written information about coming into care, including information on using the Comments, Compliments and Complaints Procedure.
6.9 In addition, the social worker should ensure that any other information about the placement that is available for the child is obtained and given to him/her.
6.10 In all cases, the child should be accompanied to the placement by the social worker and helped to settle in. Suitable luggage should be used and a child's belongings should never be transported in bin-bags or other inappropriate containers.

7. Notification of Placement

7.1 The child's social worker will immediately update the child's electronic records with the details of the placement.
7.2 Notification of the placement will also be sent within 24 hours to the Designated Nurse for Looked After Children, the education service, and the child's GP.
7.3 The child's social worker will notify all family members consulted and involved in the decision-making process of the placement.
7.4 The child's social worker must also notify the allocated Independent Reviewing Officer or, if it is the first placement, the Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Unit of the placement. This notification will trigger the appointment of an Independent Reviewing Officer if it is the first placement, and the setting up of arrangements for a Looked After Review.
7.5 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.
7.6 The child's social worker should also notify - in writing all those involved in the day to day arrangements for the child, including nursery/school and any health professional or youth justice worker actively involved with the child.
7.7 It will be necessary for the foster carer or the child's social worker to ensure the child is registered with a GP, Dentist and Optician, either retaining practices known to him or her (which is preferable) or in the community where they are placed.
7.8 In relation to a first Looked After placement it will also be necessary for the social worker to liaise with the Designated Nurse for LAC. The social worker must also contact the relevant school for, where the child does not have a school place, the relevant education officer.
7.9 For any new placement, every effort should be made to enable the child to remain at the same school unless there are reasons which would be detrimental to his or her well-being.

8. Support and Monitoring of Placements

8.1 The child's social worker must visit the child in the placement within one week of the placement and then, at a minimum, every six weeks during the first year, thereafter every three months - see Social Worker Visits Procedure.
8.2 The foster carer will also receive support and supervision from their supervising social worker.
8.3 Where there are concerns in relation to the progress of the placement, consideration should be given to seeking additional resources to assist the carers.
8.4 Where there are any changes to the type of placement or to the child's legal status during the placement, the child's social worker must update the child's electronic records.

9. Ending of Placements

9.1 When the placement ends, the child's social worker must update the child's electronic records and immediately notify the finance section so that payments to the carers will cease. The social worker will also inform those notified when the placement was made.
9.2 All written information on the child, which the foster carer holds, should be transferred to the supervising social worker for transfer to the child's social worker.
9.3 In appropriate cases, the foster carer should be asked to complete an end of placement report.
9.4 Where the placement ends in an unplanned way, it is expected that a Disruption Meeting will be held - see Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings Procedure.

10. Permanent Foster Placements

10.1 Where a child's proposed placement with a foster carer is to achieve permanence or the plan is for the existing placement to become permanent and the foster carers are not already approved as long term foster carers, it will be necessary for the Fostering Service to conduct an assessment to obtain such approval for a change of category.
10.2 For foster carers who are relatives or friends, the social worker should liaise with the supervising social worker for the carers to agree who should undertake the assessment.
10.3 In relation to all placements, an assessment of the suitability of the match of the long-term foster carers to the children in question should be conducted as part of the full assessment.