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What should a Care Plan do?

These plans should be prepared before any child enters a care placement and should contain certain information in order to be effective
Caring female therapist counselling teenage girl
© Lisa F. Young, Shutterstock
If there has been a rigorous process that has concluded it is in a child’s best interest that they are temporarily placed in alternative care, it is important that Care Plans are developed.

These plans should be prepared before any child enters a care placement and should contain information such as:

  • Well defined goals
  • Named persons and their roles and responsibilities
  • Legal status of those involved
  • A schedule when the placement will be reviewed
  • Plus other necessary information.

This information should be defined in participation with all key stakeholders, including the child and their family.

The aim of a Care Plan

Care Plans should be directed towards the child being returned to their family as soon as it is safe and possible to do so, or another permanent solution being found if family reintegration is determined as not feasible.

Unfortunately, research shows there are many examples of children whom, once placed in care, remain there for the rest of their childhood.

If family-based care is decided upon, it will be important that professionals have the skills to carefully match the carers and the child, taking account of the carer’s abilities and the child’s needs.

Some children who have had a negative experience of family life, are older or for some other reason may choose not to be placed in a family-based setting in which case a small group setting may be preferable, initially at least.

As any initial care decision will be grounded in an assessment of the child and family’s current situation, it is important that the “necessity” and “suitability” of all placements are regularly reviewed to take account of any significant changes in the situation. Changes to Care Plans should then be made accordingly.

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Getting Care Right for All Children: Implementing the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children

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