Placement Planning Meetings
RELATED CHAPTERSGuidance is contained in Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) Guidance.
1. Purpose of Placement Planning Meetings
Placement Planning Meetings should be undertaken in relation to all Looked After Children.
Normally, Placement Planning Meetings provide an opportunity to consider whether the Placement Information Record for a Looked After Child continue to be appropriate.
In exceptional circumstances, an Emergency Placement Planning Meeting must be convened; the exceptional circumstances are:
- In the event of an Emergency Placement of a child in a foster home, children's home or secure accommodation;
- After serious Incidents;
- If a child has returned from being absent/missing for 3 days or more, or has been absent/missing on three occasions Protocol for Children and Young People Missing from Home and Care (Regional Child Protection Procedures);
- If there have been other serious events or occurrences which suggests the child's placement may be unsuitable.
2. Frequency of Placement Planning Meetings
Placement Planning Meetings should normally be convened at the following intervals:
- Within 3 working days of the placement starting;
- During a Looked After Review;
- At other intervals agreed between the social worker and provider/carer.
3. Convening, Chairing and Attendance
3.1 Convening Placement Planning Meetings
Placement Planning Meetings in relation to children placed in Children's Homes should be convened by the Home's Manager. Placement Planning Meetings in relation to all other Looked After Children should be convened by the social worker.
Meetings should preferably be conducted where the child is placed as this allows parents the opportunity to view where their child resides and also provides a safe environment if the child wishes to come out of the meeting at any time.
3.2 Chairing Placement Planning Meetings
Emergency Placement Planning Meetings in relation to children placed in Children's Homes should be chaired by the Home's Manager or his/her delegate.
Placement Planning Meetings in relation to all other Looked After Children should be chaired by the social worker or his/her manager, if it seems appropriate.
The following people should attend or contribute to Placement Planning Meetings:
- The child's social worker;
- The Child;
- The Child's parents;
- A representative from the placement/home; who may be the foster carer(s), a Link/Key Worker and/or Supervising Social Worker (if the child is placed in foster care).
4. Conducting the Meeting
Normally, the purpose of the meeting is to consider the appropriateness of the placement and to update the arrangements set out in the Placement Information Record and of the Care Plan, if necessary.
Where an Emergency Placement Planning Meeting (see Section 1, Purpose of Placement Planning Meetings) has been convened, other matters must be considered as followed:
- Whether the placement is suitable for the child, having considered the needs and interests of all the other children in the placement.
If there are concerns about the suitability of the placement, consideration should be given to the following:
- Whether it is possible to sustain the placement until the next Looked After Review by, for example, providing additional support to the placement;
- Bringing forward the date of the next Looked After Review;
- Ending the placement and seeking a more suitable alternative.
- If the placement appears to be appropriate, the child's Care Plan and Placement Information Record must be fully completed to reflect the arrangements for the child whilst placed in the home. Where the meeting has been convened as a result of an Incident, consideration should be given to the need for a strategy to reduce or prevent re-occurrence.
In all cases, the chairperson should consider whether it is necessary to undertake the following:
- Consultations as set out in Decision to Look After a Child Procedure;
- The need for approval of the placement from the Designated Manager (Placements Outside the Authority);
- The need for the Health Trust, Local Education Service, Virtual School for Looked After Children and Children's Services Department to be notified of the placement; as set out in relevant placement procedures;
- The need for a Looked After Review to be arranged;
- The need to arrange a Health Care Assessment and/or register the child with a GP, Dentist or Optician, as required by Health Care Assessments and Plans Procedure;
- If the child is placed in Secure Accommodation, the chairperson must ensure there is an Exit Plan, ensuring that there is continuity of care, education and, where appropriate, access to professional (e.g. psychiatric) support when the child leaves secure accommodation.
The chairperson should also ensure that the child's Placement Information Record and other Looked After Children (LAC) records are fully completed on Mosaic and copies circulated as required.