Once a decision has been made to make a placement, a pre-placement planning meeting should take place between the foster carers, the supervising social worker and the placing local authority. If appropriate the child and his/her family/significant others should attend. This meeting must consider and agree the detailed placement arrangements for the child.
Where it is not possible to hold a pre-placement planning meeting, for example where the placement has to be made in an emergency, a planning meeting must take place within 5 working of the placement.
The main purpose of the planning meeting is to share full information about the child with the foster carers and agree the contents of the Placement Plan which will include confirmation of the following arrangements:
- Registration of the child with local health professionals (GP, Dentist and Optician) and arrangements for the child’s health care (including the administration of medication). Any other health professionals involved will be informed of the placement by the placing authority and a decision made by the relevant health trust with regard to future plans for their continued involvement or moving to a more local provision;
- Signed medical consent from the placing authority and parents if appropriate;
- Plans for the child’s schooling and educational needs, including seeking the role of the foster carer in implementing the child’s Personal Education Plan, Education, Health and Care Plan (where applicable), any extra educational support, etc. This should include the education arrangements for children under 5 and the training or educational requirements of those over 16;
- Regularity of visits from the placing authority’s social worker. (These should take place within one week of the placement and thereafter at least every six weeks (unless the placement is to last until the child is 18 in which case after the first year visits can be at least every three months);
- If appropriate, details of contact arrangements with family members/significant others (including whether the foster carer has delegated authority to make arrangements for the child’s social visits to friends and relatives including overnight stays – see below);
- Any specific cultural, religious or dietary needs of the child;
- Any behaviour management issues, likelihood or previous episodes of missing;
- Where the proposed placement relates to a young person whose plan includes leaving care, arrangements should be in place for their preparation for independence including their Pathway Plan;
- The steps that the fostering agency will take if reviews and visits do not take place within the designated timescales, for example contacting the child’s independent reviewing officer.
The Placement Plan must specify delegation of authority to make decisions about the child s care and upbringing by the foster carer. It also sets out the matters upon which authority may be delegated:
- Medical and dental treatment;
- School trips and overnight stays;
- Leisure and home life;
- Faith and religious observance;
- Use of social media;
- Any other matters which the local authority/persons with parental responsibility consider appropriate.
The Placement Plan must also identify any matters about which the local authority/persons with parental responsibility consider that the child may make a decision about. As well as providing the Placement Plan, the child’s social worker should also be requested to provide as much information about the child as possible, for example:
- The Chronology of significant events in the child’s life;
- A copy of the Care Plan;
- Any other relevant information about the child. For example, recent Looked After Review reports, Pathway Plan, Personal Education Plan, reports from specialists or therapists.