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3.2.11 Out of Area Placements

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter was introduced in December 2011, as a result of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations (England) 2010.

‘Note that different provisions apply to children who acquire Looked After status as a result of a remand to local authority accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation. In relation to those children, please see Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation Procedure, Care Planning for Young People on Remand.'

RELATED GUIDANCE

Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2015)

RELATED CHAPTER

Local Authority's Sufficiency Duty - Accommodation for Looked After Children

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in March 2015 by adding a link to the DfE Statutory Guidance, Out of Authority Placement of Looked-after Children - Supplement to The Children Act 1989 Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Guidance.


Contents

  1. Placements to which this Procedure Applies
  2. Approval of Placement by Director of Children’s Services/ Nominated Officer
  3. Notification of Placements
  4. Emergency Placements


1. Placements to which this Procedure Applies

This procedure applies to any placement of a Looked After child outside the area of the local authority, EXCEPT WHERE the placement is with a Connected Person, or a local authority foster carer approved by the placing authority.


2. Approval of Placement by Director of Children’s Services/ Nominated Officer

The decision to place the child out of area must be approved by the Director / Nominated Officer - (in Southwark this is the Business Manager) unless it is a Placements at a Distance, (i.e. outside the area of the Local Authority and not within the area of any adjoining local authority), in which case the approval of the Director of Children’s Services is required.

The Director of Children’s Services / Nominated Officer Children Looked After, must be satisfied of the following:

  • That the child's wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration;
  • That the placement is the most appropriate placement available for the child and consistent with the Care Plan;
  • That relatives have been consulted where appropriate;
  • That the area authority has been notified, or, for a Placement at a Distance, the area authority have been consulted and have been provided with a copy of the child’s Care Plan (see Section 3, Notification of a Placement);
  • That the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) has been consulted (usually the IRO will discuss with the child after the child has visited the proposed placement).


3. Notification of Placements

Written notification must be given to the area authority of the arrangements for the placement before the placement is made or, if the placement is made in an emergency, within five working days of the start of the placement unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so.

The notification must include:

  1. Details of the assessment of the child’s needs and the reasons why the placement is the most suitable for responding to these; and
  2. A copy of the child’s care plan (unless already provided in the case of a Placement at a Distance).


4. Emergency Placements

In the case of a placement made in an emergency, the approval of the Nominated Officer is still required and s/he must be satisfied that the child's wishes and feelings have been ascertained and given due consideration, and must take steps to ensure that within 5 working days: the IRO has been informed; relatives have been consulted (where appropriate) and the area authority notified.

End