FROM: Oliver Mills, Strategic Director of Social Services
TO: CAS&RSU DISTRICT MANAGERS & TEAM MANAGERS
CC: INDEPENDENT REVIEWING OFFICERS
Re: LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN CARE PLANS AND REVIEWS.
Date: 09 February 2006
The Social Services Department is required to work in partnership to deliver an
effective care plan for all Looked After Children. The time scales for establishing
care plans are laid out in the Looked After Children checklists (planned and
unplanned admission). With respect to unplanned admission, the first care plan must
be agreed within 14 days of the child becoming looked after. For planned admission
this should, wherever possible, be completed prior to admission.
Following the implementation of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, the looked
after child’s care plan is subject to scrutiny by an Independent Reviewing Officer (in
accordance with the Review of Children (Amendments) Regulations 2004). Regular
reviews for all looked after children are a statutory requirement and the first review
must take place within 28 days of the child becoming looked after. Any significant
and material change to the child’s care plan must be approved at the next statutory
Looked After review.
If a care plan has been agreed at a Looked After review and actions are progressed
within this plan, this is unlikely to demand further authorisation through a LAC
review unless there is a need to significantly change the care plan.
For example, where the care plan is agreed for ‘preparation to independence’ a move
from foster care/residential is likely to be consistent with that care plan.
Any diminution or departure from the looked after child procedures must be raised
with both the relevant District Manager and the UASC Co-ordinator as a matter of
priority. For example a move of a child into independence where the stated care plan
is ‘time limited assessment’ or ‘long term placement’ would not be consistent with the
child’s care plan.
Any decision related to a change in significant circumstances for a child, especially
related to a placement move of a looked after child needs to be clearly reflected in
written records in the child’s case file.
Any decision made outside of the agreed care plan must be authorised by the relevant
district manager and brought to the attention of the IRO who chaired the last statutory
Looked After review and the case file made available for audit by the Head of Service
at the earliest opportunity.
Strategic Director of Social Services