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6.5 Placements With Parents


Contents

1. Scope
2. Planned Placements
  2.1 Consultation Before Placement
  2.2 Assessment and Checks Before Placement
  2.3 The Child’s Views, Wishes and Needs
  2.4 Other Parent’s Views (if not the proposed carer)
  2.5 Timescales
  2.6 Recommending the Plan
  2.7 Approval of the Plan
  2.8 What to Include in the Written Report
  2.9 Short Term Placements
  2.10 Post Placement Arrangements
  2.11 Ending of Placement
3. Unplanned Placements 
4. Placements During Proceedings


1. Scope

1.1 This procedure applies to any placement of a child, on a Care Order or an Interim Care Order, with a parent, person with Parental Responsibility or person who had a Residence Order immediately before a Care Order was made for more than 24 hours. 
1.2 These procedures do not apply to the placement of children with Family and Friends Carers (See Family & Friends Care Procedure).


2. Planned Placements

2.1 Consultation Before Placement

  2.1.1 In exceptional circumstances a child may be placed without the immediate need for the following procedures; please see Section 3, Unplanned Placements.
  2.1.2

Before a child is placed, the following people must be consulted and their views accounted for (The views of these people must be given by them, in writing, or must be recorded in the case file by the social worker):

  • The child;
  • Both parents including a parent who is not the proposed carer of the child;
  • Any other member of the family who is significant to the child;
  • The health service (Consultant Paediatrician);
  • The Education Department;
  • If the child has a disability, any specialist involved in his or her care;
  • The child’s G.P;
  • The G.P. of the person whom it is proposed to place the child with (that person’s consent must be obtained);
  • The child’s Health Visitor (this must done through the appropriate Health Visitor Manager);
  • The Health Visitor (if there is one) of the person with whom it is proposed to place the child;
  • The child’s school;
  • The Police and Youth Justice Team;
  • The Probation Service, if it has contact with the family;
  • Existing carers (foster carer, residential worker etc.);
  • The Fostering Service or manager of the children’s home currently caring for the child.
  2.1.3 The consultation must be formal. The persons being consulted must be written to, requesting their views on the proposed placement. It is important that those who are consulted must reply in writing; their written replies must be placed on the case file.
  2.1.4 If appropriate a letter must also be sent to the child, as part of the consultation process with the child.
  2.1.5 The views of these people must be given by them, in writing, or must be recorded in the case file by the social worker.

2.2 Assessment and Checks Before Placement

  An assessment will be undertaken of the person with whom the child is to be placed using NARRATES to consider whether they can satisfactorily understand and meet the child’s needs. Information will be sought from C&F records and from the statutory agencies in the form of references both verbally and in writing from all relevant agencies. These must include all those listed in the section on immediate placements below and any other significant people involved with the child as to the suitability of the proposed carer and other persons aged 16 or over living in the household. The focus, depth and extent of these enquiries will depend on the particular circumstances but if the proposed carer has had recent involvement with caring for others (children or adults) attempts must be made to consult them and in the case of children a reference from the school must also be sought.
  2.2.1

The suitability of the proposed placement must be assessed through:

  • Obtaining relevant information about the proposed main carer or carers and all members of the household;
  • Inspecting the accommodation; and
  • Checking the proposed carer and all adult members of the household with the DBS, the carer’s GP, and departmental records.

2.3 The Child’s Views, Wishes and Needs

  2.3.1 Where a child is of sufficient age and understanding, his/her views, wishes and feelings will be sought, and given appropriate weight, according to his/her age and understanding, but without giving the child the burden of responsibility for the decision about his/her future.
  2.3.2 A full assessment (using the same NARRATES format that determines the parenting capacity of the proposed carer) will be made of the child’s progress and current needs in each sphere of his/her development. Particular attention will be given to his/her religious, cultural, linguistic, gender and identity needs and how these needs will be addressed in the proposed placement.

2.4 Other Parent’s Views (if not the proposed carer)

  2.4.1 Where a parent(s) is not the proposed carer, he/she will be fully consulted regarding his/her views and wishes regarding the placement and contact arrangements with the child.
  2.4.2 These views will be fully considered when the decision regarding the placement is being made and if it goes ahead, in the planning. When the Placement Plan/Agreement does not accord with those views and wishes the parent will be advised of the Department’s Comments, Compliments and Complaints Procedure and/or advised to seek legal advice.

2.5 Timescales

  This whole process needs to be completed within a reasonable timescale, consistent with planning for the child and the completed work will be submitted to the Chair of the Permanency Panel within a maximum of 45 working days of the initial decision by the Looked After Review or Team Manager to proceed with the assessment.

2.6 Recommending the Plan

  2.6.1 In normal circumstances, the child’s placement with his or her parent must be part of the CLA Plan, upon the recommendation of a Looked After Review.  
  2.6.2 However, if the child has previously suffered Significant Harm when living with the parent, the placement may only be authorised upon the recommendation of a Child Protection Review Conference.
  2.6.3 The Head of Statutory Social Work Services must be invited to attend the Looked After Review or Child Protection Review Conference and then may authorise the placement if it seems appropriate. 
  2.6.4 If The Head of Statutory Social Work Services is unable to attend, the written reports/plans outlined in the next paragraph must be seen and endorsed by him/her prior to the review. The Head of Statutory Social Work Services may then authorise the placement upon the recommendation of the Looked After Review or Child Protection Review Conference.
  2.6.5

The written reports/plans referred to above are as follows:

2.7 Approval of the Plan

  2.7.1 If the Head of Statutory Social Work Services has attended the Looked After Review or Child Protection Review Conference (referred to above), s/he may authorise the placement at that review.
  2.7.2 If the Head of Statutory Social Work Services has not attended the review, s/he may authorise the placement upon the recommendation of the review, having considered the minutes of that meeting. The Head of Statutory Social Work Services must have seen the reports/plans list in Section 2.6, Recommending the Plan above prior to the review; if not, s/he must see them before authorising the placement.
  2.7.3 In particular, the manager will require evidence that the consultation, enquiries and checks required under this procedure have been carried out. 

2.8 What to Include in the Written Report

  2.8.1

The matters that must be covered in the written report or in the CLA Plan/Placement Information Record, placed before the Looked After Review or Child Protection Review Conference, and considered by the Head of Statutory Social Work Services before authorising the placement are as follows.

  • Summary of child’s and family’s history;
  • Summary of how and why the child came to be in care;
  • Summary of plan for the child when he/she originally came into care;
  • Details of proposed placement with parent;
  • Outcome of the assessments, consultations and enquiries made as required by the assessments outlined above; including an assessment of the parents ability to meet the identified needs of the child;
  • Aims and objectives of the proposed placement (there needs to be great clarity about why this placement is being proposed) and long term plan for the child;
  • Any identified areas of risk involved in the placement;
  • Support and services to be provided to the family and child;
  • Details of supervision of placement;
  • Arrangements for education;
  • Contingency plans in case of breakdown.

2.9 Short Term Placements

  2.9.1

Where the relevant Plan or Plans provide for a series of short term placements of a child with a parent, the requirements as to consultation, enquiries and checks can be carried out once only rather than every time a placement is made, provided that:

  • All the placements take place within a twelve months period;
  • No single placement is for a period of more than four weeks; and
  • The total duration of the placements does not exceed 90 days.
  2.9.2 If a series of short-term placements is part of a longer-term rehabilitation plan, further consultation and approval must be obtained before the rehabilitation plan is extended or the child is returned to the parent’s full-time care.

2.10 Post Placement Arrangements

  2.10.1 Once the child is placed, the social worker must undertake the notifications and other arrangements set out in Decision to Look After and Care Planning Procedure.

2.11 Ending of Placement

  2.11.1 Wherever possible, the decision to end a placement must be made at a Looked After Review and the ending must take place in a planned way.
  2.11.2 In emergencies, the social worker must discuss the case with his/her manager, who will make the decision. Legal advice must always be sought, preferably by way of a Legal Planning Meeting and the Care Order must give adequate power to enable the child to be removed by the social worker, but the use of other orders e.g. a Recovery Order might be appropriate in some circumstances.
  2.11.3 All those notified of the placement starting must be notified, in writing, when it ends; preferably notifications must be made prior to the ending, or as soon as practicable thereafter. 
  2.11.4 Notification must be in writing. Standard letters may be sent to other professionals and organisations but an individually composed letter must be sent to the parents and child.
  2.11.5 At the end of all placements, or transfer from one placement to another, the social worker must collaborate with the carer to write an end of placement report. If the child continues to be Looked After, it will be necessary to draw up (or update) the child’s CLA Plan and arrange a new placement for the child with a new Placement Information Record.


3. Unplanned Placements

3.1

The Head of Statutory Social Work Services can approve an unplanned placement without the necessary consultation and checks having been made provided that:

  • There are exceptional circumstances which justify an unplanned placement;
  • There has been an interview with the proposed carer who agrees to the placement;
  • The accommodation has been inspected; and
  • Information has been obtained as to the other people in the household.
3.2 The reasons for a decision to place a child on this basis must be fully recorded, signed by the designated manager and placed on the child’s file.
3.3 In these circumstances, the CLA Plan must be updated at the time or within a maximum of seven days of the placement, if the Head of Statutory Social Work Services authorises it.
3.4 A Placement Information Record must also be completed before or on the day of the placement and approved by the Head of Statutory Social Work Services. 
3.5 A Placement Information Record must be completed prior to the placement, but the Head of Statutory Social Work Services may authorise that this be completed up to 7 days after the placement starts.
3.6 The full assessment as set out in Section 2, Planned Placements above for planned placements must then be undertaken and presented to the Head of Statutory Social Work Services for approval within six weeks.


4. Placements During Proceedings

4.1 The Head of Statutory Social Work Services may approve a placement during the course of Care Proceedings, in which case the full assessment as set out in Section 2, Planned Placements above for planned placements must then be completed within six weeks.

End