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Looked after children

7. Long term planning

We must make plans for all children to ensure they continue to live with carers who can meet their need for a permanent family. Planning for your child's care, in most cases, includes planning their return home. We will be working with you to assess whether your child can return home to you or a member of your extended family. If there is any doubt about the final outcome of these assessments, we have to make contingency plans. These plans must take effect from quite an early stage as children's prospects can be seriously damaged if there is too much delay in helping them to live with permanent carers. Parallel planning is one of the ways this can be done. This provides for two sets of plans to run side by side. One plan is for the child's return home and, in case that is not possible, there is a second plan for your child to be placed with an alternative permanent family.

You will be encouraged to participate in the process of planning for your child. This includes being informed and consulted about an alternative plan which could lead to the placement of your child with another permanent family. This could include placement for adoption. It does not mean that a decision has already been made about what will be in your child's best interests but ensures that, when a decision is made, there is no delay in placing your child with a family who can meet their needs.

We acknowledge that it is difficult for you to consider other plans when most of your focus is on your child's possible return home, but it is important for us all to consider what will be the best for your child. You are entitled to be given information and the chance to talk with a support worker, who is not your child's social worker, about what adoption might mean for you and your child, either now, and/or at a later date if this becomes the plan for your child.

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Last updated: 16 January 2017

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