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4.1.2 Placements Outside England and Wales

AMENDMENT

In May 2018 this chapter was extensively revised and should be re-read in full.


Contents

  1. Necessary Consents 
  2. Placement Decision 
  3. Placements in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey
  4. All Placements Abroad 
  5. Adoptive Placements Abroad


1. Necessary Consents

The local authority may arrange the placement of a Looked After child outside England and Wales.

The written consent of the parent(s) and anyone else with parental responsibility is required. If the child is the subject of a Care Order, the consent of the Court is required in addition to that of the parents. 

Where the necessary parental consents are not forthcoming, the application to the Court can include a request to dispense with parental consent.


2. Placement Decision

Any decision to place a child outside England and Wales can only be included in the Care Plan after the following actions have been taken:

  1. Checks and assessments have been made through the Social Services agency for the relevant area that suitable arrangements have been (or will be) made for the reception and welfare of the child in the country where the child will live;
  2. The child’s consent is given where old enough to do so;
  3. The parents have been consulted;
  4. The parents have consented or they cannot be found, are incapable of consenting or are withholding their consent unreasonably;
  5. Consideration has been given to the effect of the proposed placement on the child’s relationship and contact with the parents;
  6. Specialist advice has been obtained where necessary on any cultural issues raised by the proposal;
  7. The placement is recommended by the child’s Looked After Review;
  8. Legal advice has been obtained; and
  9. The approval of the Head of Service has been given.

Regard must be paid to the likely timescales involved in achieving the plan, particularly bearing in mind the need to achieve timely permanence for the child

To seek the approval of the Head of Service, the social worker should prepare a written report setting out the circumstances of the proposed placement, the timescales, the child’s wishes, the parents’ views, the effect of the proposed placement on the child’s relationship with the parents, how contact will be arranged if the placement is made, the recommendation and minutes of the Looked After Review and attaching a copy of the parents’ written consents (if given), the Care Plan and the report on or by the Social Services agency in whose area the child is to be placed (see (a) above).

The decision of the Head of Service as to whether the consent of the local authority to the placement should be given should be evidenced in writing together with reasons on ICS. The social worker will notify the child, parents and all those involved in the child’s care of the decision.


3. Placements in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and Guernsey

Where a decision is made to place a child in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man or Guernsey, legal advice should be obtained as to any appropriate Court applications, notifications and consents required.

Where there is a Care Order and the plan is for permanent placement, legal advice should be taken about the possibility that the Care Order might be transferred to the relevant area. The effect of the transfer will be that the Care Order ceases to have effect in England and Wales and the child’s file can be closed, though care must first be taken to ensure contact arrangements are in place and working properly.

Once the necessary Court authority has been given, the detailed arrangements for the child’s placement, including continued contact with family members, must be included in a Placement Agreement and agreed in writing with the Social Services agency for the area where the child will be placed.


4. All Placements Abroad

Where a decision is made to place a child subject to a Care Order abroad, Legal Services should be consulted regarding the implications for the plan of the child’s immigration status to ensure the child would be entitled to remain in the country. They should then be instructed to initiate court action to obtain authority for the placement.

The social worker must keep the parents and the proposed carers regularly informed in writing of the progress of the application.

Once the necessary Court authority has been given, the detailed arrangements for the child’s placement must be included in a Placement Agreement and agreed in writing with the Social Services agency for the area where the child will be placed. The Placement Agreement must include the arrangements for the child maintaining contact with the parents and the way in which the placement will be reviewed and how the social worker will be kept informed of progress.

If full case transfer is agreed, the child’s file should not be closed for at least 3 months after the placement and only then with the approval of the Head of Service after the receipt of a satisfactory report from the relevant Social Services agency confirming the suitability of the placement and their commitment to continue to support the placement as necessary.


5. Adoptive Placements Abroad

See Placement for Adoption Procedure for details of the procedures to be followed in the case of adoptive placements abroad.

End