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11.2.3 Placement in Residential Care


This procedure applies to all placements of Looked After children in residential care. It details the placement process including consultation with relevant parties that is required.

See Decision to Look After and Care Planning for procedures relating to the initial decision to look after a child, and the drafting and approval of the Care Plan and other essential documentation.


Children Act 1989

The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010


Out of Area Placements Procedure


Section 2, Placement Process was updated in July 2015 with regards to a placement request and identification and approval of placements.


1. Consultation
2. Placements Process
  2.1 Placement Request
  2.2 Identification and Approval of Placement
  2.3 Placement Planning
3. Support, Monitoring and Ending of Placements
  3.1 Support and Monitoring of Placements
  3.2 Ending of Placements

1. Consultation

At the point that it is determined that a placement may be required, and throughout the subsequent process of identification, planning and placement, the social worker must consult and take account of the views of the following people:

  1. The child;
  2. The child's parents;
  3. Anyone who is not a parent but has been caring for or looking after the child;
  4. Other members of the child's family who are significant to the child;
  5. Independent Reviewing Officer (subsequent to first placement);
  6. The child's school or education authority;
  7. The Youth Offending Service, if the child is known to them;
  8. Any other relevant person, e.g. nursery, health care professional, Children's Guardian.

The views of these people should be given by them, in writing, or should be recorded by the social worker.

2. Placements Process

2.1 Placement Request

Where a decision has been made that a child requires a placement, the child's social worker should request a placement by contacting the Placements Team and by initiating the Placement Request episode on Mosaic.

In making this request, the social worker will be asked to provide information about the child, the type of placement sought, the Care Plan, the date by which the placement is required, the likely length of time for which the placement is required and the expected level of contact between the child and parents. The social worker should complete the Placement Request Form and Risk Assessment to initiate the placement search process. The Placement Request and Risk assessment must be approved by the Service Manager for the child or young person and cannot progress through Mosaic without this.

2.2 Identification and Approval of Placement

Once a resource has been identified, the Placement Team will notify the social worker and other interested parties to advice of such.

Wherever possible, the child's social worker should visit potential placements and as required consult with other professionals, prior to a decision about the appropriateness of a placement being made.

The proposed placement will then be presented to the social worker and the manager for approval.

Where the placement is outside the Local Authority area, see also Out of Area Placements Procedure.

N.B. In addition to the above approvals, in order to avoid placements that disrupt a child’s education, the Nominated Officer must approve any change of placement affecting a child in Key Stage 4 except in an emergency / where the placement is terminated because of an immediate risk of serious harm to the child or to protect others from serious injury - see Education of Looked After Children Procedure.

2.3 Placement Planning

See Residential Placement Planning Procedure.

3. Support, Monitoring and Ending of Placements

3.1 Support and Monitoring of Placements

The child's social worker must visit the child in the placement within one week of the placement and then at a minimum every four weeks; see Social Worker Visits to Looked After Children Procedure.

Where there are concerns in relation to the progress of the placement, consideration should be given to seeking additional resources to assist the placement.

Where there are any changes to the child's placement and/or legal status during the placement, the child's social worker must update the child's electronic records.

A Looked After Review should be convened where:

  • The child is, or has been, persistently absent from the placement;
  • The placement provider, parents or area authority are concerned that the child is at risk of harm; or
  • The child so requests, unless the Independent Reviewing Officer considers that the review is not justified.

See also Looked After Reviews Procedure.

3.2 Ending of Placements

The child's social worker must notify the Placements Team when a placement ends and arrange to inform the relevant finance officer so that any payments to the provider will cease. The social worker will also inform those notified when the placement was made of the ending of the placement.

Where the placement ends in an unplanned way, consideration should be given to holding a Disruption Meeting - see Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings (Fostering and Adoption) Procedure.