Statutory guidance

Children Act 1989: care planning, placement and case review

Statutory guidance about local authority support to children and families.

Applies to England



This statutory guidance applies to:

  • local authorities
  • children’s services directors
  • children’s services social workers
  • front-line managers who have particular responsibilities in relation to looked-after children
  • managers and commissioners of services for looked-after children

Statutory guidance sets out what you must do to comply with the law. You should follow the guidance unless you have a very good reason not to.

The guidance is also relevant to Children’s Trust partner agencies and to providers of services to looked-after children, including private, voluntary and public sector providers and foster carers.

The document consolidates a number of separate documents we’ve previously published, including ‘Delegation of authority to foster carers’.

This is volume 2 in a series of 5 related statutory guidance publications:

Published 31 March 2010
Last updated 8 July 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations Volume 2: care planning, placement and case review 2021.

  2. This incorporates all supplements published to March 2015 and includes 'Delegation of authority to foster carers'.

  3. Added 'Permanence, long-term foster placements and ceasing to look after a child' document.

  4. Added a fourth supplement following regulation updates: 'Out-of-authority placement of looked-after children'.

  5. Updated 'Early permanence placements and approval of prospective adopters as foster carers' document.

  6. Added looked after children and youth justice supplementary guidance.

  7. First published.