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A care plan is a written plan setting out the arrangements for a child who is looked after. Every looked after child must have a care plan.
The care plan should be a detailed plan which covers how all a child’s current needs will be met and the arrangements for the child’s care now and into the future.
The care plan must set out:
- Where the child will live and why this is what’s best for them (this is also set out in the child’s placement plan)
- Long-term plans for the child, including timescales (the permanence plan)
- How the child’s needs will be met, including their education, health and developmental needs, including social and emotional development (health plan and personal education plan)
- Contact arrangements – with their parents, siblings and wider family and friends’ network.
- The name of the child’s independent reviewing officer. Whilst the Care Planning Regulations do not specifically require it, it is also sensible for the care plan to contain contact details for the independent reviewing officer.
Before the care plan is drawn up, the social worker must carry out an assessment of the child’s needs (following the local protocol for assessment). This will include their health, education and developmental needs, and needs relating to the child’s religion or culture.
The social worker must also find out the wishes and feelings of the parents, the child and other people who are important in the child’s life. Their views should be recorded in the care plan.
Care plans must be reviewed regularly at looked after child review meetings.