The Council has a duty to draw up a Child’s Plan for every child who is looked after; there is also a duty to review such Child Plans. The person with key responsibility to ensure the Child’s Plan is in place is the child’s allocated social worker.
Whenever possible, the Child’s Plan should be drawn up in consultation with the child, their parents, the foster carer and other important individuals or agencies in the child’s life. If the Child’s Plan is not drawn up before a child is placed it should be drawn up as soon as possible after the child arrives. The Child’s Plan includes information on:
- SHANARRI well-being indicators of need.
- Immediate and longer term plans for the child.
- Details of the services to be provided to meet the care, education, health and development needs of the child.
- Responsibilities of Argyll & Bute Council
- The views of the child.
- Any person/s with parental responsibility/rights for the child.
- Foster carer/s including their name and address (except where non-disclosure of address is a condition of a legal order).
- Any other person involved in the Child’s Plan.
- Role of the child’s parent/s or any other person who has had care of the child.
- Arrangements for involving those people and the child in decision making.
- Arrangements for contact between the child and any important people in his/her life and any reasons why contact with any of those persons is not possible or in the child’s best interests.
- Expected length of the placement, what action should be taken – and by whom before the placement ends to support and progress the Child’s Plan.
Reviews of Child Plans
The review process is a way of monitoring the various aspects of the Child’s Plan that have been agreed for a child, to ensure the detail of the Child’s Plan has been progressed and that there is no drift in timescales, to reassess the Child’s Plan if required and develop this further to meet the needs of the child.
Regulations define the minimum frequency of reviews of Child Plans for children and young people who are looked after; these have been taken into account by Argyll & Bute Council in setting the standards for reviews of Child Plans. For those children and young people who are looked after away from home review meetings will be:
- When a child first accesses a placement a Child’s Planning Meeting must be held within 3 working days.
- An initial review will take place at the 6-week period.
- The second Looked After Child Review will take place within 3 months from the date of the initial review.
- Subsequent reviews must take place within six months from the date of the previous review.
These timescales do not prohibit the arranging of a review in response to significant events or changes, where a review is deemed appropriate, e.g. Child Plans are not achieving outcomes, the child no longer needs to be looked after by the Council.
Objectives of reviews are to:
Consult and take account of the views of the child, their parent/s, any person with parental responsibilities or parental rights in respect of the chid. To assess:
- The needs of the child and current circumstances and how these needs are being met.
- Whether the child’s welfare is being safeguarded and promoted.
- The child’s development needs are being promoted.
- Whether the placement is suitable for the child.
- The child’s educational needs and whether those needs are being met.
- Consider any written reports.
- Agree the future Child’s Plan.
The review should make clear the detail of the future Child’s plan as well as the multi-agency and parental responsibilities of those involved in the plan. Setting out clear timescales for action are critical to the progression of the Plan.