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Factors for Child Entering the Care System

Paper Type: Free Assignment Study Level: University / Undergraduate
Wordcount: 6750 words Published: 29th Jul 2019

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  1. Analyse factors in a child’s circumstances that can lead to them entering the care system
There are certain factors that determine the outcome for children to become a looked after child. These are considered in order to safeguard and protect children and young people from harm that have experienced areas of abuse whether this be neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. Other deciding factors can relate to a young person’s behaviours or being out of parental control.
  1. Summarise the legal process by which children and young people become ‘looked after’
If the local authority believes that a child is at risk of significant harm they may decide that it’s necessary to take the child into care to help keep them safe.

Unless the level of risk requires the courts to get involved immediately, care proceedings will only start after extensive efforts to keep the child with their family. If these efforts have failed then the parents will be invited to a pre-proceedings meeting as a final attempt to avoid going to court.

A pre-proceedings meeting takes place between the local authority, the parents and the parents’ lawyer to discuss with the parents how they can change the way they look after their child and what support and help is needed from the local authority.

If both sides agree, they will write a formal agreement that both the parents and the local authority have to follow. If parents don’t agree to the changes, or don’t follow the agreement, the local authority will probably ask the court to take the child into care.

If the courts agree that it’s necessary, they can make an order giving the local authority parental responsibility for a child.

1.4 Analyse why a child or young person may have experienced multiple transitions and traumas before entering residential childcare

Consider safeguarding, child protection, multiple-placements, location, change of needs.

Multiple transitions


A young person can suffer from multiple transitions for a variety of reasons these do not always necessary involved high level of trauma but will have impacted upon a child at some point in their early life.

Transition could have been through divorce, and the child could be split living between two homes or the main care giver providing much of the care and maybe seeing the other parent at weekends which in itself can be traumatising for a young person whom is used to always having both parents around.

Other transitions could have been though bereavement, family members (parents) not being able to provide consistent safe care for periods of their lives.

Other transitions maybe through changing educational provisions regularly, moving home frequently and consistently having to build new relationships both with adults / professionals and with peers which can be stressful and can create high anxiety levels which may lead to behaviours.

Following all of these types of transitions a young person could have experienced all this or some of the above alongside many placement breakdowns.


There are a range of traumas that young people may face within their lives that can impact the decision to place young people into residential care. These include Physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional abuse leading to safeguarding concerns and the young people’s needs not being met and care falling well below the stator guidelines.

Young people entering the care system are assessed and it is determined dependant on their needs, what provision or care provider would best support the young person, however this at times can lead to the young people not being provided with the right intensity of support and guidance and therefore can lead to placement breakdowns for a multitude of reasons, for example:

Care givers not being equipped to manage behaviours

the child’s challenging or aggressive behaviors or behaviors which place them in danger.

conflicts between biological parents and care givers

return to the biological family against advice

support staff believes the placement is not workable anymore

Older children with higher level of needs

The child not wanting to be looked after in the care, and will activity break down placements to attempt to go back to a family member.

more behavioral problems at start of the placement are more at risk for breakdown.

Residential care provides a high level of support and supervision for many young people that past traumatic events have an impact on the young person’s ability to adapt to socially acceptable behaviours and or access risk, putting themselves at further risk of harm. With the right level of support, guidance and supervision the young people are educated on the risks and socially acceptable behaviours and provided with positive role models so the transition into adult hood will equip the young people to lead a life with best possible outcomes.

2.1 Explain the legal and statutory entitlements of children and young people in care

In the United Kingdom the term looked after children is used to describe a child who is looked after by the local authority for a period longer than 24hrs.

From  a legal point of view this could mean they are living in accommodation by the local authority with parents’ consent (section 20 accommodated) this could be in a residential Childrens home / rest bite centre  or foster placements to name a few.

A young person could be subject to an interim care order which means the local authority have delegated authority for  a young person with or without consent of the parents until the matter can be heard in court to determine the outcome for the child based on the  needs of the child.

A young person could be a full care order (Section 31) which means the local authority have full Parental rights over the child and will determine as part of multiagency working what is in the best interest for the child.
A child could be living in a secure accommodation, this could be for welfare purposes (child unable to keep themselves safe or persistently place themselves at significant risk of harm, or due to committing serious crimes for which detainment is necessary.

A child could be an unaccompanied asylum seeker and has the rights under UK law to be accommodated and kept safe.

A child or young person who is deemed as looked after will have certain statutory rights, in terms of the local authority are responsible for providing and sourcing education, ensuri9ng health needs are met to include any diagnosis and treatment is sought and funded, local authority have a duty to ensure they are accommodated in  safe environment whether  this be foster/ residential/ respite/family members  and ensure the standard of care being delivered is in line with government and statutory guidance

The statutory guidelines such as the Children’s homes regulation 2015 stipulate the requirements a children some must adhere to ensure the safety/wellbeing and overall progression of a child within their establishment.

2.2 Analyse risks if children and young people do not understand their entitlements or are not supported to access them

If children and young people are not supported or do not understand their rights they will miss out on valuable opportunities alongside running the risk of their needs not being met as they are unaware of their own rights as a child.

For instance if a young person does not understand their rights to an independent advocate or how to make formal complaints this can lead to ongoing abuse, neglect and unresolved matters where professionals will make decisions without hearing the views and wishes of the young persons.

All children where looked after or not have the right in the united kingdom to have access to education, where this need is not being met professionals will step in and act accordingly. If a child or young person had been raised where education was never offered or prioritised then that child will struggle to understand the nature of school, boundaries and the need in life to have an education and what it can offer as they move into adulthood.

If a young person does not understand how to raise formal or informal complains then the opportunity may be missed to address minor or serious matters.

From a financial point of view a young person has the right to live in warm, conformable living conditions where their environment is safe and fit for purpose as without this there will be health issues and a lack of hygiene which will contribute in a social and medical aspect.

3.1 Summarise current theoretical approaches relating to residential childcare services

Milieu Therapy

Of all the theoretical therapeutic schools milieu therapy is the one which is most directly associated with residential care. Among its best known protagonists have been August Aichorn, Bruno Bettelheim, AS Neill, Melvyn Rose and Fritz Redl. The word therapy has its base in Greek and means to make well or to make well again. Milieu means environment. In milieu therapy all the characteristics of the potential of the environment are brought together to help those who are ‘in therapy’ to feel better about themselves and so to become well again.

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Supported by psychodynamic principles, the aim of milieu therapy is to provide a ‘total’ social environment in a group living setting which meets the physical and emotional needs of those who live there. It is a method which has been used in mental health settings as well as in the field of residential child care. Those placed in therapeutic Placements are diagnosed or self-diagnosed as having emotional troubles with concomitant behavioral problems which make them for the time being vulnerable while living in the wider community.

A residential institution providing milieu therapy sets up an environment in which everyday events and interactions are used therapeutically for the purpose of building up the emotional confidence and enhancing the social skills of those who are placed there. In therapeutic communities for young people education  is often integrated into the daily routine. This educational intervention (which is in part less conventional than mainstream educational provision) has both educational and social goals and is part of the therapeutic milieu.
The milieu, or “life space,” provides a safe environment that is rich with social opportunities. It is not a static environment but it is flexible and dynamic while remaining focused on the need to provide experiences which will create opportunities for personal development. To do this it uses common structures such as daily routines, consistent rules and activities.

The milieu, or “life space” is set up in such a way that it is constantly supportive. It contains and supports the young person while he or she works through unresolved relationship difficulties, learns to solve problems and develops coping skills.  At the same the milieu is a safe place for these developments to be worked through, practiced and integrated into the young person’s growing catalogue of life strategies.

Milieu therapy acknowledges the views of the young person as well as the operational needs of the institution. Examples of these are the young person’s frequent and regular meetings with a keyworker, and, (more significantly in the life of the therapeutic community), the daily community meetings which involve all the young people and all the staff during which the young people can reflect on all the things, between good and bad that have happened to them during that day. From these meetings it is intended that the young people will come to learn about how to accept, and cope with the ups and downs of life.  The self evaluation which a young person makes in this meeting tempered as it is by the views of the other young people and staff allows the young person – in a non-threatening setting – the opportunity to see himself as others view him.

In the therapeutic milieu there is a focus on creating a physical environment which echoes the philosophy of care. The decoration of rooms and the fabric and look of the furnishings are warm. Caring for pets and farm animals is often part of the living routine. Food is carefully prepared with wholesome ingredients. It is presented in a way which cherishes the symbolic as well as the real nature of food. Food is eaten communally.

In conclusion the principal goal of the therapeutic milieu is to help the young people feel socially and emotionally integrated in their world without them losing the sense of being their unique selves. The test of the effectiveness of milieu therapy is whether the new stability the young people feel after their stay in a therapeutic community, the new skills they have acquired,and their new found confidence in making relationships can withstand the pressures of the wider community.

Theories and models pertaining to group work practice can provide evidence-based approaches to effective and cohesive working within a team; this includes developing and established teams. These theories are used in trainings and supervisions to support the individuals within the group to understand how to achieve cooperative group practice.

The theories proposed although helpful in generalising components of group practice, they do not account for individual characteristics and proportions of these within existing teams. At Hurst Farm, when I first opened the newly renovated home, members of the established team that previously worked at Hurst Farm had left and this impacted on the cohesion and positivity of group practice. To overcome this, I had to work hard to build relationships with new members of the staff and support new relationships within the team to produce mutual trust and respect. Although the support and premise originates from models and theories of group practice, knowing and understanding the individuals within your home is key to ensuring the success of such theories.

Active participation should be observed by all members of the group; with a firm understanding of the agreed goals and how these will be met. Dynamic and creative solutions and interventions are paramount to achieving positive outcomes for the young people and increasing performance among a team. This involves mutual respect, active listening, reflective practice and having the confidence to give constructive and supportive feedback for the benefit of the service.

Cohesive and effective group working is achieved when mutual respect is achieved by and between all individuals involved. Identifying strengths and weaknesses, establishing group dynamics and understanding individual roles and responsibilities are important in working effectively to achieve positive developmental outcomes for the staff and the young people placed at Hurst Farm.

There are many different facilitation styles that can influence group dynamics, their longevity (lifecycle) and developmental outcomes; these are similar to the management styles as mentioned previously.

The four dominant facilitation styles are: directive, exploratory, delegating and participative. As with the management styles, it is important to responsive and adaptable in the facilitation style you adopt as the efficacy of outcomes will vary between the individual. Understanding the learning styles of those within your team is also important in sustainability and staff retention. Team meetings are a constructive forum where you can use various of styles to ensure positive outcomes can be agreed and roles can be developed.

There are some situations that require a directive approach, for example when practice needs to be challenged. However, at Hurst Farm, due to the developing nature of the team, I adopt a motivating, coaching and supportive style which has allowed me to build positive relationships and the confidence to be direct when the situation arises.


In order to be able to produce positive outcomes for the home and home young people each member of the group needs to understand and agree the outcomes and purpose for their position and responsibility within their role. This is often discussed in supervisions, appraisals and team meetings and staff are reminded that the purpose that they should be at Hurst Farm, is for the benefit of the young people who are placed there.

At Hurst Farm, not only participant engagement but participant agreement is key in achieving group outcomes. Each member of staff at Hurst Farm has the confidence to voice concerns, advice, ideas and guidance with others and know that they will be listened to and valued.

I organise monthly team meetings within the home to ensure that on a professional platform, the staff team have the opportunity to plan and develop outcomes for the young people and understand their roles and responsibilities in ensuring its success.

In a more informal manner, reflective discussions are held on a daily basis, and de-briefs are conducted following any incident. This ensures that behaviour management strategies and learning outcomes can be discussed and modified as well as to ensure the staff’s welfare is stable and supported.

we have a rigid and robust equal opportunity and diversity policy and procedure in place that all the staff and young people are aware of and understand. Alongside this is the whistleblowing policy which enables the staff and young people to express any safeguarding or discriminatory concerns that they may have. If issues or concern are felt by either myself or another member of staff, reporting and challenging this is done efficiently to ensure that the team can rectify the situation together. In safeguarding matters, members from the multi-agency group are informed of concerns and any immediate risk to the child is eliminated quickly.

If concerns are about conduct or relationships, this can be addressed in either team meetings or supervisions, whichever is felt to be the most appropriate. Consistent failings in these issues or concerns can result in engaging in the managing for performance route.


3.2 Summarise legislative and policy frameworks underpinning care for ‘looked after’ children and young people

The UNCRC is an international human rights that allows all children and young people of the aged 17 and under an inclusive set of rights. The UK signed the convention on 19 April 1990, ratified it on 16 December 1991 and it came into force on 15 January 1992. The Joint Committee on Human Rights published it report on children’s rights in 2009. This document was created in response and sets out how all the rights and obligations set out in the UNCRC are protected in England and implementation of the convention is accomplished. The UK report covered areas such as, attitudes towards children and discrimination, Children and the justice system, asylum seeking, refugee and trafficked children. The purpose of this right is to ensure that all children and young people are treated equally and can access the same rights, giving children and young people more responsibility to make choices and exercise their rights as they grow and develop.


In summary of the children and families act, it is an act whereby it has outlined and defined areas for all children and young people to do well and support families and to improve children’s rights in this country. Some changes in the Act affect all children and families. Some affect groups of children like children in care; children with a disability or special educational needs at school or college, young carers, or children being adopted.

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The Act makes changes to help children get adopted faster if adoption is the right thing for the child or young person. It will help children who are in the care of the council to do better at school. It will make changes to help the family courts work better for children. It will make changes to help children and young people who have a disability or special educational needs at school. It will also change the way the Children’s Commissioner works for children. The Act makes changes to help with many sorts of difficulties or challenges children can face in their lives. It will make sure schools give more help to children who have medical problems. It will mean more help for young carers who look after someone else. For children in care, there are changes to improve children’s homes. There are changes that will let foster children carry on staying with the families who have fostered them after they reach 18. All children will be able to have free school lunches in their first few years at school. And it will make changes to protect children from getting addicted to tobacco or harmed by smoking. The new law will help families by giving parents more choices about sharing time off work after a baby is born. It will give parents who work more choice about the times they go to work. It will help families to get good care for very young children.


3.3 Compare types of care arrangements for ‘looked after’ children and young people

There are a number of care arrangements for Looked after Children usually taking into account the age and support needs of the young people. Kinship care refers to the care of children by relatives in some instances close family friends. Relatives are a preferred means for children and young people who must be detached from their birth parents because it maintains the children’s connections with their families.

A child may live with a foster carer in the carers home, and are not members of their birth

family. A child can live with their foster carer and be supported to remain living there until they reach the age of 21 as outlined in the children and families Act 2014.

Some of our most at risk young people can be looked after within secure accommodation. These settings offer young people a secure setting and includes full residential care, educational facilities and healthcare provision, a very high level of intensive support is offered to each young person, with high staffing ratios.

Within a residential care setting they offer our young people a nurturing, homelike environment, with staff that ensures all of their health, physical, social, educational and emotional needs are met. Young people are normally placed in Residential care due to numerous foster placement breakdowns, or when suitable foster placements can’t be identified. Some residential placements may also provide education and therapeutic services on site.

3.4 Analyse characteristics of therapeutic services that distinguish these from other residential childcare services

Therapeutic services can offer a wide range of services and approaches and forms of intensive interventions to children and young people with very complex needs or risk taking and behavioural problems or to those who have been sexually abused or exploited.

Barnardo’s are commissioned by the Priory Group to provide independent therapeutic intervention for residents of Hurst Farm Residential Home. Weekly therapeutic sessions are offered to each resident young person and take place in a dedicated therapy room outside of the main Hurst Farm building. The therapist is a qualified counsellor, registered with The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). She has many years of experience counselling children, young people and adults in relation to trauma, abuse (including sexual abuse), sexual exploitation and self- harm amongst many other issues. The  approach is Integrative with Core training in Person Centred and Psychodynamic Counselling, with elements of solution-focused practice, creative therapy and goal setting. The therapist draws on creative approaches to engage children and young people to facilitate a safe environment through which they can explore their feelings and experiences. The approach is trauma-informed, and issues of past abuse and exploitation are explored at a pace that the young person is in control of. The aim is to facilitate recovery from trauma, increase understanding of the processes of exploitation including grooming, control and power dynamics in relation to the young person’s own experiences, and to strengthen future resilience.

Sessions are child-led and the approach sits within the evidence-based CSSO model1 of therapeutic intervention, which provides a framework built on the four principles of:

  • Child-Centred
  • Strengths-Based
  • Systems – Focused
  • Outcome – Informed

The therapist works closely with the management team and residential staff at Hurst Farm to support them to provide a residential environment that supports the therapeutic process.

4.1 Describe how being in care presents additional challenges for children and young people

It is the emotive and emotional side which would not be present in a family home, an example of this would be; a children’s home is very process and document and to meet legislation staff are required to document all areas of children’s loves, to include;

Any suitable applied sanction, such as a loss of their TV for two nights for not attending education, which is deemed appropriate but being in care children are required to sign and comment upon. whilst children are asked to contribute and comment upon their home, this then has to be documents and signed by all staff and other residents, appose to acceptance that these are their views.

Socially young people will have an instant disadvantage to their peer’s because they are not in their family home, their siblings, their family network that their peers may have which provide a child with extended people who, demonstrate care and thought for the young people.

Removing that family connection provides a child with a group of individuals who will provide young people a strategic approach to child care, appose to maternal and paternal nurture and influence.

Young people suffer loss and attachment issues on a daily, staff come and go, young people move in and leave sometimes quite quickly and other children will have suffered the impact of these changes.

The upside to children being looked after is that they are privileged to a group of well trained and motivated individuals who passion is to best meet their needs. Staff whom have chosen this as their carer to change changes a better the lives of children’s, teams who dedicate their own experiences and knowledge to ensure children who have become looked after for a range of differing reasons maximise their full potential to the best if their abilities.

4.2 Compare the life chances and outcomes of children and young people in residential childcare with • children and young people in other types of care • children and young people outside the care system

Life chances and outcomes for young people can be vastly different depending on their circumstances, environments and their learnt models of behaviour. A child who grows up in a family with low work ethic, reliance on welfare and criminal activity; would likely result in the child viewing this as an acceptable and appropriate if not ‘normal’ way of life and become a product of their own environment. A child growing up as witnessing domestic violence and verbal abuse may grow up to reflect this in their own behaviours as this is what they have grown up around and see as normal way of life. All Children are impacted upon by their own experience and those around them from whom they may model their own life and moral value and whilst some may imitate themselves on the negative experiences around them as acceptable, some may make life altering changes to themselves based on their own personal resilience to make a difference in their own lives or by following examples of positive behaviour and aspiration from positive role models outside of their own family setting.

For children coming into care system, having been involved in or witnessing to negative influences and experiences; the aim would be to promote positive value, instill reassurance, empathy, consistency and stability in order to promote positive outcomes and life experiences and to hopefully break the cycle of repeated and socially/environmentally modelled behaviours.

Historically it has been widely reputed and expected that children being cared for in foster settings, would be open to better outcomes and experiences by promoting a more family based environment for them and will be a preferred option in many instance to Residential placement. Whilst foster settings can offer this and provide valuable life experiences for many children; where behaviours and experiences have escalated to high acuity, challenging and complex risk taking behaviours, foster settings may not be equipped for this or have robust and comprehensive systems and support systems to be able to safely and effectively manage these as a residential setting could offer and subsequently could lead to further placement breakdown and repeated transfer of placement which only further adds to displacement of the child, reluctance to engage and feeling of rejection to society and as such become more difficult to re-engage the child. As part of this children’s willingness or understanding of their ability to achieve becomes disenfranchised, self esteem decreases further and young people become less able to identify and work toward positive outcomes for themselves and to better their own circumstances and thusly becoming a viscious cycle.

This was a key objective as identified in the Nary Report 2016 where it was his view that young people who received early intervention in more stabilised and structured environment could potentially challenge and manage early age behaviours and introduce pro-social modelling at a stage where re-introduction could then be considered at a later stage into settings such as foster believed to more family orientated and once core values have been nurtured as a foundation.

5.1 Explain the impact on practice of recognising that all children and young people in care are vulnerable

It is recognised that looked after children are amongst our most vulnerable children having an increased risk of harm and exploitation to them as a result of their vulnerability.

For young people to be placed into the care system, more often will have experienced some or a range of traumatic experience, neglect abuse or have a disproportionate view and understanding of appropriate care ability and interaction from adults in their life. Children are likely to have experienced rejection and have elements of attachment issue in relation to continued replacement in provisions which in turn impacts upon self-esteem self-worth and willingness to succeed where children can view themselves as different, unlovable or unwanted.

Children will then become at greater risk of gravitating toward those who may prey on such groups for their own advantage and or to be drawn into groups of influence such as gangs, exploiters, predators and radicalised groups due to a want to be included and to seek positive affirmation and acceptance and to validate themselves as individuals.

The impact of practice in such cases is that safeguarding remains paramount in all aspects of care as for any child and that all staff are well trained and supported to understand roots of behaviours in young people as well as risk of vulnerability caused by their experiences and being placed in care. All staff and professionals working with LAC have safeguarding responsibilities which are underpinned by statutory guidance and minimum standards in safeguarding. Any safeguarding concerns staff may have are shared with the care team members and social worker, to ensure appropriate support is provided. Management and Staff should continually assess risks to each child and the arrangements in place to protect them. Therefore it is essential that staff have the skills to recognise that a child may be at risk and care plans should reflect this and be robust in terms of managing or eradicating the risk. Where there are safeguarding concerns for a child, their placement plan, agreed between the home and their placing authority, must include details of the steps the home will take to manage any assessed risks on a day to day basis. It is the manager’s responsibility for maintaining good employment practice which supports safe practice and minimises potential risks to children.

6.1 Describe the purpose and features of plans required for children and young people in residential childcare

The purpose of the placement plans is to ensure that we work collaboratively with both the social worker and the local authority in establishing the needs of the child and that these are set out first via a post placement meeting and then linked into the placement plan.  This allows all mutli agency professionals to have a clear overview of the aims of the placements and the current objectives when the child is placed in the home.  This is a live and progressive document that ideally should demonstrate the progression of the child in terms of their day to day skill base and learning needs to enable both the child and the staff to maximise the young person potential.

The health plans are a straturory requirement to ensure that each individual child’s health needs are identified and actioned to maintain a health status.   It is essential that any specific needs such as Diabetes, or weight issues, intolerances etc are detailed to ensure staff have a clear understanding of the action plan and how to maintain these needs.  Other considerations include emotional wellbeing, medication, diet, sexual education and understanding as how to support these needs.

PEP plans identify education needs and current level of attainment, additional requirements and a clear vision and strategy for all multi agency professionals to work towards.

Behaviour management plans to ensure the tea around the child identify presenting behaviours which are historical, current and predicted, the plan must hold strategy’s which are both affective and ineffective for staff to work towards to unpick historic or present negative and wanted behaviours.

Overall the purpose of every plan is to ensure a streamlined vision, working cohesively and fluidly with all multi agency professionals to ensure the best possible outcomes for young people in care and that they are not disadvantage by the fact that they are looked after children.

Each of these plans must remain live, current and evolving to reflect the changing needs of the child.

6.2 Explain why children and young people should be supported to understand their own plans

The young people at Hurst Farm are encouraged to attend and chair the reviews and care team meetings and to complete consultation documents to ascertain their wishes, views and feelings. Staff also encourage the young people to involve themselves to complete

their own care plans, at Hurst Farm we use a document called “All about me” which gives the opportunity for the young people to express their wishes in terms of the care that is provided and what they wish the achieve from their time in placement.

We help them to understand how procedures work, how they can be involved and they can contribute to decisions about their future in accordance with their age and understanding.

However, we are also honest in terms of helping them understand that ultimately decisions will be taken, contributed by themselves, professionals, their parents, and other family members and taken into account any risk factors to ensure the young person is safeguarded at all times.

We take time to actively listen to our young person and explain as fully and clearly as possible what is happening, or is likely to happen, listening their views in relation to how they feel about decisions relating to their own future. There are times when the professionals have to overrule the child’s/young person’s wishes for example, if a young person does not want a sexual abuser reported to the police, thus leaving other children or young people at risk.

6.3 Explain the importance of ‘permanency planning’ for children and young people in care

Permanency planning is essential for looked after children and young people who need to have plans made for their future. It gives young person a better sense of security, encourages stability and continuity.

Decision making should be individualised, timely and culturally appropriate. Children and young people themselves, their parents and carers all need to be involved in planning, and it should take into account the young person’s history and individual needs, and how best these need will be


It should take into account individual circumstances and the age, needs and abilities of the young person and cause as little disruption in terms of school changes, friendship groups etc as possible.


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