Placements in the Looked After Service
This guidance should be read in conjunction with procedures in Placements in the Looked After Services (Children's Homes, Foster Care and Commissioned Placements) Procedure.
AMENDMENTThe section on Remands was updated in July 2013 in line with the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
1. General Guidance
The procedure for introducing children into the home or foster placement both Planned Placements and Unplanned/Emergency Placements should be included in the Statement of Purpose for the service/home.
The needs of the child concerned and the likely effects of his/her admission upon existing young persons are taken into account and recorded in decisions on admission to the placement.
It is essential that wherever possible children are able to move into any placement in a planned and sensitive manner. Upon placement each child will receive a copy of the 'child guide'.
It must be recognised that whether or not a child has been Accommodated previously a move of placement indicates change, and therefore the child or young person may feel anxious, apprehensive and in a state of crisis.
It is imperative that all children placed in a manner which takes account of their needs and which enables them to settle as quickly as possible. Expectations of the child, what he/she can expect of staff/foster carers, prior to placement, immediately on admission are reiterated to ensure the child's understanding.
In cases where the placement is a Planned Placement good practice would necessitate some preparatory work to be undertaken prior to admission. This should include, where appropriate,
- A visit/pre-placement meeting for the child or young person prior to admission by the key-worker/foster carer;
- Introductory visits to the identified home for the child;
- The gathering of information regarding the child's circumstances, backgrounds and needs.
Whether the admission is a Planned Placement or Unplanned/Emergency Placement, the child must be accompanied by a Social Worker. Where appropriate the child/young person's family should also be encouraged to be involved in the process. The function of admission in an unplanned/emergency is shown in the Statement of Purpose.
All children are encouraged to bring with them items which are important to them. When this involves pets consideration will be given to the appropriateness of this in terms of health and safety and safe caring.
If moving to independent or semi-independent living, the home ensures the relevant contribution to the assessment of the young persons needs and to the resulting Pathway Plan. See Transition and Leaving Care Procedure.
Each placement must ensure there are secure cupboard/drawers for the safe storage of personal items. In terms of valuable possessions consideration should be given to maintaining safety. For residential placements it may be agreed that items can be stored in the homes safe. All children should be encouraged and given the opportunity to personalise their room.
Prior to admission, or in the case of Unplanned/Emergency Placement, as soon as possible, the child should be given knowledge of the following:
- Expectation of the placement and what he/she can expect of the staff/Foster Carers;
- The complaints procedure;
- Pocket money, amount and day of issue;
- Placement rules and day to day routines;
- Fire procedures;
- Sanctions, rewards, information regarding restraint/additional measures of control;
- Safety and security of possessions/rooms;
- The children's Rights Service/Officer;
- For all placements, an Emergency Placement Planning Meeting must be convened within 72 Hours (See Placement Planning Meetings Procedure);
- For foster services the post placement meeting.
When a child first arrives, let the child see that preparations have been made for their arrival, e.g. bedroom ready, peers aware, documentation (admission pack) ready. For a residential placement, the Link Worker should have been identified and on duty if possible.
We should ensure that the young person receives a warm welcome from the staff/foster carers whatever the circumstances of admission.
Despite the fact that the young person may have been shown around during an introductory visit, they should be shown a round again, as it would have been difficult for them to absorb everything during their first visit.
For residential placements:
- Link/Key Workers should make contact with the young person's parents to introduce themselves as the Link Worker and answer any questions parents may have;
- Link/Key workers should also make contact with the young person's Social Worker to introduce them and arrange for a post placement meeting. This meeting should take place within 72 hours of the young person's admission.
Residential Placements: Admissions pack and essential documentation
Each residential placement has to complete the necessary admission paperwork. The key worker, or appropriate other should complete this in the presence of the young person as soon as possible after being admitted.
This 'pack' when completed should be placed into the young persons file, any issues arising should be addressed as appropriate.
When admitting a child or young person into Local Authority accommodation the Social Worker who accompanies the child/young person should provide the relevant Looking After Children documentation. Without the presentation of these completed forms admission may not take place.
Planned admissions: when the placement is planned 'pre-admission' the social worker should provide
- Care Plan;
- Placement Information Record and Chronology;
- Risk assessment;
- Contract details;
- Copies of any orders.
Unplanned/Emergency admissions are admissions of children without agreement that the placement is suitable having considered the needs of the referred child and all other children in the home.
Unplanned/Emergency Placements can include children who are the subjects to:
Emergency Protection Order or a Police Protection Order
Detention under Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
Remand to Local Authority Accommodation
Emergency admission to a residential home will only be made in exceptional circumstances. During the working day all such referrals will be processed by the single point referral system. "Out of hours" any emergency referrals will be considered by the emergency response team in partnership with the residential on call manager.
Requests from parents/foster carers for the immediate removal of a child/young person from home, outside of the above listed criteria, should be directed for consideration of planned admissions.
In the cases of planned and emergency admissions a meeting to begin the process of planning the care of the child should take place within 3 working days of the admission. A date and venue for this meeting will be confirmed with the child's social worker by the child's key-worker or by the Residential Unit Manager. The child's social worker, or relevant Team Manager, will then arrange the meeting in order to begin/continue the Single Assessment, and fulfil the care planning requirements of the Children Act.
2. Remanded Children
See Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation Procedure.
Guidance relating to children remanded to or detained within local authority accommodation
Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
In relation to children remanded to local authority, the Care Planning Regulations were, with effect from 19 April 2013, amended by the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2013.Section 38 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
All young people resident should be offered the opportunity of a "positive" experience in residential care.
Additional requirements may be imposed on a young person, who is directed by the Court to reside in Local Accommodation.
Each young person will have an individual programme, which takes full account of the nature and seriousness of the offence, with which they are charged.
The use of physical restraint and the restriction of liberty will correspond to the Guidelines detailed in:
- Guidance on the Use of Physical restraint in residential Homes for Children;
- Guidance in the Restriction of liberty in residential Homes for Children, i.e:
- The prevention of significant injury to self or others;
- The prevention of serious damage to property.
Section 38 PACE
When a young person is detained under Section 38, it may often result from contact by the police with the Emergency Duty Team.
The following considerations will be applicable to such young people who:
- May be required to be confined to the Building, N.B. (maximum period 24 hours);
- Will be escorted to the Court;
- May be in need of close supervision.
The extent of these requirements should be discussed and decided on prior to admission to the Children's Home, in the light of the nature and seriousness of the offence, and the ability of the staff group and home to provide for these needs.
The suitability for admission to the Home should be decided on, in relation to the nature and seriousness of the offence, particularly those of a violent or sexual nature, taking into consideration of the current resident mix and the impact of this new resident.
Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012
Where a child is Looked After only by reason of being remanded to Local Authority Accommodation, the Care Plan and Placement Plan must be prepared within 5 working days of the child being remanded.
The Care Plan does not need to include the plan for permanence/long-term plan for the child's upbringing.Otherwise, the care planning arrangements are the same as for all other Looked After children – see Decision to Look After a Child Procedure.
The Care Plan will outline the restrictions to be placed on the young person at the Remand meeting. These should be based on:
- The written directions of the Court;
- A programme to positively manage the young person's time;
- Unsupervised time may be restricted, in the light of the nature and seriousness of the offence;
- The level of physical intervention and in what circumstances it may be considered.
All programmes must take into account the age, understanding and competence of the young person.
Positive practice in relation to dealing with group violence
Group violence and aggression is a frightening situation and a calm, unemotional response is most likely to control the situation.
Damage to Property is less important than injury to any person, staff or child.
Attempts should be made to control the situation by:
- Staying in the situation without intervention;
- Removing staff from the situation;
- Physical intervention if it can be carried out safely.
If it is clear that the situation has escalated beyond the control of staff present, they should call the Senior-on-call for assistance or advice, or contact the police immediately in a dire emergency.
The police, when appropriate, would be contacted by the Senior-on-call where there was a clear role for them to take i.e. an assault on a member of staff, or another young person.
After any situation of group violence, the staff as a group should discuss and a report on their incident should be sent by the Home Manager to the Residential Services Manager:
- What were the factors leading up to the incident?
- Could anything have been done at this stage?
- What sparked off the incident?
- Could anything have been done to avoid it?
A group that is punished or feels itself to be punished as a group, rather than individuals, is more likely to react and respond as a group.
Staff should also consider whether the actions taken could be seen as rewarding violence or aggression and the implementations for future practice.
There is no single solution to group violence and staff should support each other, particularly workers involved in such violent incidents.