Change of placement

Despite best efforts to maintain a child in their current placement, there may become a need for the child to move placement during their time in the care of the Department. This page considers the types of changes that may take place and process around these.

Placements may end for a variety of reasons.  Regardless of the reason, the carers have an important role to play in:

Planned endings

Planned endings occur where the care plan identifies that a child should move on, either to another placement where more specialist provision is available or returns home.

If a change of placement is being considered there should be consultation with the child and the family as a minimum.  A looked after review should be held prior to any move being confirmed - if necessary a discussion should take place with the Independent Reviewing Officer about whether the review should be bought forward.

If the child does not agree with the proposal to change placement, their views should be taken into account before a 'best interest' decision can be made.  If there continues to be a disagreement about the proposals then a referral should be made for advocacy.

If a child subject of a community parenting order returns home as part of a planned move, subsequent reviews must consider whether it is appropriate for an application to be made to discharge or vary the order.  Such a move must take place under Placement with Parents regulations.

Unplanned endings

Unplanned endings occur when a crisis leads to the child being moved from the placement either through the Department removing them, the carer giving notice or the child insisting on leaving.

Where possible a disruption meeting should be held is a placement is heading towards a breakdown.


The department has a duty to not allow a child to remain in a placement if the department considers it would not be in their best interests to stay there.

Where a child is at risk of significant harm as a result of being in a placement, the child protection guidelines must be applied.The department has the power to remove, in the above circumstances, any child that is placed in their area by another authority or voluntary organisation, whether or not the area authority has agreed to supervise the placement.  Where, under child protection guidelines , a child is so removed, the other authority or organisation must be informed at once and notified in writing so that they may be a party to making other arrangements for the care of the child.


The department should work towards children having settled placements and secure attachments with their carers.  There should always be a critical examination of why changes of placement occur and thought given to how the child can be supported to make secure attachments.

TaskResponsible OfficerRecordTimescale
If a child continues to be looked after when a placement ends new paperwork on the computer should be completed or existing paperwork revised.This is placement plans part 1 and 2, chronology and the care plan parts 1 and 2 and risk assessmentSocial workerLAC paperworkBefore placement change or as soon as possible thereafter
Complete movement formSocial workerMovement formImmediately
Computer to be updatedSocial workerComputerImmediately
Inform the following people of the change of placement:- child's parents and people with parental responsibility, health and education department, reviewing officer and child protection co-ordinator if the child is on the child protection register.Social workerComputerImmediately
Hold planning meeting if appropriate.Social workerMinutesBefore placement change or as soon as possible thereafter
Hold placement agreement meeting.Social workerMinutesBefore placement change or as soon as possible thereafter
If the child moves out of the area then, as well as informing the above, the relevant department must be notified of the child's presence in their area.Social workerComputerImmediately
If the child moves back into the area then the previous authority is notified.Social workerComputerImmediately
Liaise with the reviewing officer to decide if it is appropriate to hold a review.Social workerComputerIf required.
If this is the second move of placement (i.e. third placement) within 12 months, unless made as part of a care plan, a statutory review must be called. This review must specifically look at why the young person has had multiple moves of placement and what action needs to be taken to help them settle.Social workerReview of ArrangementsWithin 28 days
If change of placement has occurred after a breakdown in placement a disruption meeting must be considered.Team managerDisruption meeting minutesHold meeting between 4 - 8 weeks of placement breakdown.

You may also like