What does it mean? – P


This page is part of our handy list of definitions and explanations of some of the terms that you might have come across but didn’t know what they meant. If you think we’ve missed something, let us know, and we’ll look at added it to the list. 

These are the entries for P. You can see other entries by clicking the letters below.



Parental Responsibility (PR)

Parental responsibility is the right and power of a parent to make decisions about their child. If you are on a full care order, your social worker will make decisions for you. If you have been accommodated, your parents still have the right to make decisions about your life. PR can be quite complicated and confusing. For more information, visit the Become website.


Participation is about getting children and young people involved in the decision-making processes and participating in changing and shaping the services that affect them. There are many different ways to get involved. In Devon you can get involved through Stand Up Speak Up! (Children in Care Council or care leavers forum). You could also get involved with the Youth Parliament or Youth Voice groups for particular youth agencies such as Space, Young Carers Service or CAMHS.

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Pathway Plan

This is a plan that’s drawn up around the time of your 16th birthday and it’s about your future independence and what you are going to do after you leave care. You will work on your pathway plan with a member of the Permanence & Transition Team.

During summer 2020 young people reviewed and worked with us to co-produce a new and improved Pathway Plan template. A blank example of our new Pathway Plan template can be found here.

Personal Advisor (PA)

This is a person from the leaving care team who will give you advice about what to do from the age of 16 onwards. Your PA will offer you support and advise you about what’s best to do in your situation and with your talents.


This is about making sure you feel happy, stable and secure for a long period of time – ideally for most of your childhood and into your adult life. It is the aim of all social workers to give you a sense of permanence, and it’s about what is right for you – whether that’s to return to your family, adoption into a new family or long-term fostering.

Permanence Plan

The Permanence Plan is made after you come into care and is the way that your social worker plans to give you a sense of permanence.

PEP – Personal Education Plan

This is part of your care plan and it’s a record of how Devon County Council plans to educate you. You should have your first PEP meeting within 28 days of coming into care, your second three months later and then they are every six months. PEP meetings often take place at school and sometimes they are combined with your Child in Care Review.


If you are in care, the place where you are living is called your placement.

Placement with Parents

When a Child in Care is going to return to their birth parents, a Placement with Parents arrangement is made and monitored. This should be planned, approved and assessed.

Private Fostering

Private fostering is when a child or young person under 16 years old (or 18 if they have a disability) is looked after for 28 days or more by someone who is not a close relative, guardian or person with parental responsibility. Close relatives include parents, step-parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. It is not private fostering if the arrangement was made by Devon County Council, or if the person looking after the child is an approved foster carer. People become private foster carers for all sorts of reasons. Private foster carers can be a friend of the child’s family, or be someone who is willing to care for the child of a family they do not know.


This is anyone who is providing a service, goods or facilities, whether paid or free. For example, a foster care provider provides foster carers for Devon County Council.