Home
 Introduction
 Records and
 recording
 Recording skills
 Pitfalls in recording
 Recording in
 residential care
 Video Exercises
 Training materials
 Resources
 
 About Write Enough
 Order CD copies
 

Integrated Children's System

Care Plan

Key Features Part 1

Key Features Part 2

When a child becomes looked after, the core assessment is used to inform the Care Plan. It is important that the child or young person and family, and the carers are clear about the purpose of care or accommodation from the beginning of a placement. Therefore, the Care Plan should be completed before a child or young person becomes looked after. In some cases, for example in emergencies where this is not practicable, the Care Plan should be completed as soon as possible and within 14 days of the child or young person being placed.

The structure of the Care Plan has been informed by the Care Plans and Care Proceedings Under the Children Act 1989 Circular (Local Authority Circular LAC(99)29). This means that information from the Care Plan should form the basis of the plan to be presented to the court, where a child is the subject of legal proceedings in the Family Court. Discussions are underway to ensure that the final format and content of the plan is acceptable to Courts.

View Integrated Children's System Care Plan (PDF format)

Completing the Care Plan

Looking after a child or young person either through accommodation or when a care order is in place is a provision of service and a means of achieving the overall aim. The Care Plan should identify the aim, and the anticipated time period the care order is expected to last, or for the child or young person to be accommodated, and formulate planned outcomes that are measurable. Without these it will be difficult to establish whether the placement is achieving its aim.

The purpose of the period of accommodation or care, type of placement and action and services provided should be informed by an up to date assessment. For children and young people becoming looked after this will be provided by a core assessment, which will have been completed prior to or within 35 working days of the child or young person becoming looked after. Research indicates that most children and young people who become looked after are already known to social services. Therefore, many will already have an up to date core assessment and Child’s Plan. These should be used to inform the Care Plan. The format of Part Two of the Care Plan is the same as that used in the Child’s Plan to facilitate the transfer of information between plans. An up to date Core Assessment will be key to identifying appropriate actions to support a reunification plan.

The Care Plan is in two parts:

  • Part One - sets out the overall aim of the plan for the child, which can only be changed at a statutory child care review.
  • Part Two - identifies what services and actions are required to respond to the child’s identified developmental needs.

The Care Plan includes the personal education plan, health plan and plan for permanence. Where the overall aim of the Care Plan is adoption or in the case of older young people moving to independence, the Adoption Plan and Pathway Plan will replace Part Two of the Care Plan.

In situations that require only Part One of the Care Plan to be completed, the final section of Part Two should also be completed as this records the views of all parties regarding the Care Plan and asks for their signatures. The statutory review should consider Parts One and Two of the Care Plan.

Key Features: Part One

  • Key details

    This records details of the child or young person including legal status and court details, where appropriate, the reasons why accommodation or care is necessary and the actions taken to prevent the child or young person becoming looked after (Questions 1-3).

    This section does not have to be completed for children and young people receiving short break care.

  • The overall aim of the plan

    The aims are presented as a series of options:
1. Remaining with birth family supported by shared care/short term breaks 6. Long term placement with foster carers (intended to last until 18, no return home envisaged)
2. Return to birth family within one month 7. Residential placement until independence
3. Return to birth family within six months 8. Supported living in the community (with a view to independence)
4. Eventual return to birth family (within how many months _ _) 9. Adoption
5. Long term placement with relatives/friends 10. Other, please specify: _________________

A plan for a child or young person has only one overall aim and therefore only one option should be identified. In some cases, however, it is possible that parallel planning will be underway. This section of the Care Plan should be completed to record whether this is the case. For example where it is hoped that a young child will return to live with his or her parents, a range of actions and services are being provided to enable the child to return home. However, the parents’ circumstances or history suggests that this might be unsuccessful and actions may also be taken to identify suitable adoptive parents in order to minimise delay.

The Adoption Standards 2001 specify that a permanency plan must be agreed for a child or young person at their second (4 month) review. Permanency encompasses a number of options, such as return to birth family, long term placement with relatives or friends or foster carer and adoption. These options are clearly specified within Part One of the Care Plan. For many children and young people the Care Plan will outline how permanency will be achieved. In this respect Parts One and Two of the Care Plan, will form the permanency plan for the child or young plan. However, in cases where adoption is identified as the aim of accommodation or care then a separate Adoption Plan should be completed. This will replace part 2 of the Care Plan.

Information is also required about the preferred placement option for a child ands the evidence that supports this choice. In some cases it will not be possible to place a child or young person in the preferred placement immediately. The Care Plan records why and identifies the actions being taken to arrange the preferred placement. In most cases it will be important that any change of placement takes place as soon as possible in a planned way to minimise disruption to the child or young person.

back to top

Key Features: Part Two

  • Details of assessments and other key records

    This records the actions and services to be provided to the child or young person and their family in order to meet the overall aim of the Care Plan.

    The actions and services to be provided are recorded in the tabular format that is used throughout the Integrated Children’s System. There is an individual table for each of the seven dimensions of children and young people’s needs.

  • Child’s Developmental Needs

    The dimension of Family and Social Relationships also includes a section on contact arrangements. All members of the child or young person’s immediate birth family should be recorded here, even when contact arrangements may not be in place. This will ensure that any review of the plan or contact arrangements will include all members of a child or young person’s immediate birth family. Contact arrangements with other significant people for a child or young person such as friends, extended family members and previous carers should also be recorded in this section.

  • Birth Family: Parenting Capacity

    Identifies issues, actions and services in relation to a child or young person’s birth family.

  • Corporate Parent: Parenting Capacity

    Records any actions or services required to enable a Council with Social Services Responsibility to fulfil its role as a child or young person’s corporate parent.

Example: Susan Simpson aged 3 years was accommodated to allow her mother, Jo Simpson, who has mental health problems to receive inpatient treatment. Whilst Susan was looked after Ms Simpson reported that her own experience of parenting was very poor and she had no idea of how to play with Susan. The foster carers for Susan, Mr and Mrs Irvine, had no experience of mental illness and were very apprehensive of having contact in the foster home.

The parenting capacity section of the Care Plan part 2 for Susan included the following actions:

Birth Family: Parenting Capacity

Identified needs and strengths in each domain
How will these needs be responded to: actions or services to be provided
Frequency and length of service: eg hours per week
Person/
Agency responsible
Date Service will commence/
commenced
Planned outcomes: progress to be achieved by next review or other specified date
Ms Simpson would like to develop her play skills. Sessions for Ms Simpson and Susan with play worker at Forth Street Family Centre 1 hour per week Jenny Page, play worker.
31.07.2002

Ms Simpson will feel more confident in playing with Susan.

Ms Simpson will be able to structure play for Susan using different materials.

Corporate Parenting: Parenting Capacity

Identified needs and strengths in each domain
How will these needs be responded to: actions or services to be provided
Frequency and length of service: eg hours per week
Person/
Agency responsible
Date Service will commence/
commenced
Planned outcomes: progress to be achieved by next review or other specified date
Mr and Mrs Irvine currently do not understand the nature and impact of Ms Simpson’s illness. Tim Moore to support initial contact sessions at foster home. 1 hour three days a week Tim Moore, social work assistant 20.07.2002

Initial contact will take place in foster home reducing stress for Susan.

Mr and Mrs Irvine to meet with Gordon Hill, CPN.
1 hour
Gordon Hill, CPN

24.07.2002

Mr and Mrs Irvine will have an understanding of Ms Simpson’s illness and its impact.

Contact will take place in home without additional support of SWA.

  • Family and Environmental Factors

    There are also considered in relation to both Birth Family and Corporate Parent

  • Views

    The Care Plan should be informed by the views of the child or young person, their parents and any other significant adults. Their views should be clearly recorded in the plan and, where appropriate, the reason why the plan is not in accordance with these views.

  • Other agencies involved with the family should be consulted about the plan and their views recorded.

  • All the relevant parties should sign the completed Care Plan. It will be important that parties are aware that signing the plan does not mean that they are in agreement with it.

The relationship between the Care Plan and Personal Education Plans

Education plays a key role in the intellectual and social development of children and young people. For some looked after children school may be one of the most consistent areas in their lives.

A looked after child or young person is required to have a Personal Education Plan agreed within 20 school days of becoming looked after or joining a new school (Department for Education and Employment and Department of Health, 2000).

The exemplars have been designed to support the process of developing Personal Education Plans for children and young people in partnership with children or young people and families, schools and education authorities, and carers.

An effective Personal Education Plan will be based on an understanding of a child or young person’s educational experience and progress over time. The Chronology systematically gathers this information. The Personal Education Plan will be informed by up to date assessments of a child or young person’s educational progress and attitude towards education, the support they are receiving from school and family, and the support they will be provided with whilst looked after. The Personal Education Plan should ensure that essential arrangements for a child or young person’s education are in place and are recorded. For example, how the child or young person will get to school or college is recorded in the Placement Information Record.

The actions and services to be provided as a result of an analysis of all this information are recorded in the Education Section of the Care Plan and will constitute the Personal Education Plan for the child or young person.

Schools, the young person and family members may wish to have a record of all the information used to develop a Personal Education Plan. This can be produced from the information recorded on:

  • Pages 1, 10 and 11 of the Placement Information Record;
  • The education section of the Chronology;
  • The education section of the Core Assessment Record or Assessment and Progress Record;
  • The Education Section of the of the Care Plan.

The relationship between the Care Plan and Health Plans

Children and young people who are looked after are amongst the most socially excluded groups in England and Wales. They have profoundly increased health needs in comparison with children and young people from comparable socio-economic backgrounds who have not needed to be looked after. These greater needs, however, often remain unmet. As a result, many children and young people who are looked after experience significant health inequalities and on leaving care experience very poor health, educational and social outcomes.

A health assessment which encompasses an holistic assessment of a child or young person’s health including their attitudes and behaviour towards his or her health should be in place in time for a written report and health plan to be available for discussion at the child’s first review i.e. four weeks after the child starts to be looked after. If there is concern about possible abuse or neglect then the child or young person should be seen by a doctor immediately at the start of a care episode. Similarly, if the child or young person has an acute medical problem then he/she should be seen for this without delay.

The completed health assessment should be used to inform the health section of a child or young person’s Care Plan. Often the health assessment will identify specific actions that are required, for example, that a child needs to be seen by an optician. The health section of the Care Plan should specify who will make the appointment and accompany the child. The health assessment may also identify needs; for example, that a young person is unaware of the risks of unprotected sex. The health section of the Care Plan should identify how this need will be responded to; for example, discussion with social worker or carer, or designated nurse if available, or an appointment at an advice centre for young people.

Links to other records in the Integrated Children’s System

  • Using the Care Plan with children and young people in short break care.

    The Child’s Plan has been designed for use with all children in need and may also be used with children and young people receiving short break care in conjunction with Part One of the Care Plan.

  • Using the Care Plan with children and young people who have an Adoption Plan.

    If it has been decided that the child should be placed for adoption then this will be specified in Part One of the Care Plan. Following this decision an Adoption Plan should be drawn up for the child or young person. The Adoption Plan should be informed by Part Two of the Care Plan for the child or young person. When an Adoption Plan is in place it replaces Part Two of the Care Plan.

  • Using the Care Plan with young people who have a Pathway Plan.

    Where a young person has a Pathway Plan this will replace Part Two of the Care Plan. The Care Plan should inform the development of a young person’s Pathway Plan, which should also draw on the outcome of the young person’s most recent Assessment and Progress Record and Needs Assessment. Where a young person is no longer looked after the Pathway Plan becomes the only plan for the young person.

  • Reviewing the Care Plan

    Parts One and Two of the Care Plan should be reviewed regularly in accordance with the Children Act 1989 and Review of Children’s Cases Regulations 1991 and Guidance.

    The overall aim of the period of care or accommodation, set out in Part One of the Care Plan, can only be changed through a statutory review.

    Part Two of the Care Plan may be changed in response to changes in the child or young person’s needs or circumstances. However, any changes should be discussed with parents and other relevant parties before they are made. Any change should be recorded in the Child’s Plan, with the date and initials of the social worker responsible noted in the margin. A copy of any changed sections(s) should be sent to all parties.

    All changes to Part Two of the Care Plan should be considered at the next review.
 
 
 
By Steve Walker, David Shemmings and Hedy Cleaver
Copyright information | Disclaimer