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11.2.7 Placements with a Relative or Friend (Connected Persons)

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure details the process to be followed when placing a Looked After Child with a relative or friend who is not an approved foster carer.

This chapter was last updated in April 2011.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE

Children Act 1989

Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2010- Regulation 24 and 25

Family Rights Group - Initial Family and Friends Care Assessment: A Good Practice Guide

RELATED CHAPTER

Section 20 Accommodation Decisions Procedure

AMENDMENT

In July 2017, a link was added in the Relevant Legislation and Guidance Section to Family Rights Group - Initial Family and Friends Care Assessment: A Good Practice Guide. This guide sets out best practice as to how viability assessments should be conducted. Section 5, Prior to Placement Under Regulation 24 was updated to reflect that proposed carers assessment should also consider that the accommodation and home environment is suitable including where relevant an initial risk assessment of any pets, together with the environment in which the pet is kept.


Contents

1. Introduction
2. Making a Placement Under Regulation 24
3. Legal Status
4. Agreeing a Placement Under Regulation 24
5. Prior to Placement Under Regulation 24
6. Assessment and Approval
  6.1 Immediate Post-Placement Procedure
  6.2 Expectations of Temporary Foster Carers Following Placement Under Regulation 24
  6.3 Assessment Process
  6.4 The Report Format
  6.5 Regulation 25


1. Introduction

1.1 This policy sets out procedures to be followed when placing a Looked After Child with a relative or friend who is not an approved foster carer. Regulation 24 allows for and regulates the possibility of an immediate placement of a looked after child with a relative or friend, who has not been previously approved as a foster carer via the usual processes.


2. Making a Placement Under Regulation 24

2.1 The making of a placement under Regulation 24 placement will be appropriate where a Local Authority is satisfied that the immediate placement of a child is necessary and in that child's best interests. For this to be the case an evidence-based judgement will need to be made which identifies that the benefits and safeguards offered by the usual foster carer assessment process are outweighed by the benefits to a child of immediate placement and/or the damage which may result from not making that placement. Intrinsic to this judgement will be the child's relationship with/to the proposed carer(s) and a placement under Regulation 24 can only be made with carers who are known or related to a child.


3. Legal Status

3.1 Children who are the subject of Regulation 24 placements will usually be on Care Orders (Interim or Full) rather than accommodated under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989. Where a child is subject of a Care Order, they can only be placed with friends or relatives (other than parents), either immediately or as planned placements, under the provisions of Regulation 24, that is, their carers must be approved as foster carers.
3.2 Where a child is at risk of becoming accommodated (Section 20 Children Act 1989), and the child's parents are unwilling or unable to continue to care for their child, all options for placing with family or friends should be explored. Where the department is involved in the making of such a placement, the child will be regarded as accommodated and Regulation 24 does apply. If the placement is privately arranged by the child's parents, with a friend rather than a relative and is likely to go beyond 28 days, then it should be regarded as a Private Fostering arrangement and the relevant procedures followed. (See Private Fostering Procedure).
3.3 Section 17 budgets may be an appropriate source of financial support when preventing a child from becoming accommodated. Additionally, a benefits check should always be undertaken by the welfare rights adviser in the kinship care team.
3.4 Where workers are in doubt, as to the appropriateness or not of regarding a child as being accommodated, they should consult with their manager and seek legal advice.


4. Agreeing a Placement Under Regulation 24

4.1

Authority to agree an immediate placement under Regulation 24 rests with the responsible Children's Service Manager or an equivalent covering Service Manager. In agreeing such a placement this manager needs to be satisfied that:

  1. The proposed carer is a relative and/or is known to the child;
  2. The proposed placement is the most appropriate placement for the child;
  3. It is necessary for the child to be placed before the proposed carer has been assessed in accordance with the Fostering Services Regulations 2011.
4.2 Following this decision by a Children's Service Manager, the Children's Services Team Manager should initiate a Framework episode of "Planning for a Placement under Regulation 24". Within this episode, a Children's Service Manager must record their agreement to a placement being made under Regulation 24. (check with Kath Watson (Framework).


5. Prior to Placement Under Regulation 24

5.1

Prior to making a placement, the child's social worker and a fostering social worker should undertake an initial assessment of the proposed carer (Family and Friends Part 1 located in an episode in the connected adults Framework record). The initial assessment will include:

  1. The willingness and suitability of the proposed carer, the suitability of all other persons aged 18 and over who are members of the household in which it is proposed that the child will live. (Framework and CRIMS Checks. The suitability of the proposed accommodation (including the proposed sleeping arrangements for the child). The child's social worker should also give the prospective carer as much information about the child as is practically possible, preferably in writing;
  2. Their capacity to care for children and, in particular in relation to the child (or children) concerned, to provide for his / her physical needs and appropriate medical and dental care; to protect the child adequately from harm or danger including from any person who presents a risk of harm to the child' to ensure that the accommodation and home environment is suitable including where relevant an initial risk assessment of any pets, together with the environment in which the pet is kept; in relation tot he child's age and developmental stage, to promote his / her learning and development; to provide a stable family environment which will promote secure attachments for the child, including promoting positive contact with parents and other connected persons, unless this is not consistent with the child's welfare;
  3. The significant and immediate needs of the child and the prospective carer's skills, parenting experience and potential to meet those needs. The child's social worker should also obtain written permission/consent from the prospective carer, and from all other persons aged 18 and over who are members of the household, for references to be sought. The Fostering social worker will subsequently initiate the seeking of these references with support from the child's social worker;

    NB: An enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service disclosure must be sought in respect of all members of the household over the age of 18 years;
  4. The views and wishes of the child and the child's parent/guardian, about the proposed placement, wherever possible;
  5. The outcome of initial reference checks:
    1. CRIMS check in the event of a Disclosure and Barring Service disclosure not being available; if the latter applies, the date of application made to the Disclosure and Barring Service;
    2. Framework system;
    3. Telephone check of records held by the Children's Social Care department in the area where the prospective carer lives or has previously lived;
    4. Social worker asks prospective carers to sign the Regulation 24 Undertaking CH/F/6 and enters into an agreement with the carer;
    5. The Family and Friend’s Part 1 assessment report should be sent to the Children's Service Manager for authorisation and then sent to e to the Family and Friend’s Nominated Officer for decision making.


6. Assessment and Approval

6.1

Immediate Post-Placement Procedure

 
  • Visits should be made to the child at minimum weekly intervals by the childcare social workers during the Regulation 24 placement;
  • The child's social worker should complete the initial Looked After processes;
  • A fostering social worker will be allocated to complete the Foster Carer Family And Friend’s Part 2 Assessment With the child's social worker;
  • Book Fostering Panel for consideration of approval within 16 weeks of the child's placement having been made;
  • The placement details should be recorded on Framework indicating that this is a placement made under Regulation 24. The carers are approved as temporary foster carers upon the making of a placement under Regulation 24. The carers will receive the regular weekly allowance, commensurate to the age of the child they are looking after. To enable these payments to be made, services need to be authorised on Framework. There should not be any payments made to the carers from the Section 17 budget;
  • A Placement Planning Meeting should be convened by the Children's Services Team Manager within three days of the placement being made. Roles and responsibilities for the assessment process should be agreed The fostering social worker should be invited to attend this meeting. (see Pathway to Provision - Multi-Agency Thresholds Guidance);
  • A Looked After Review should be convened within four weeks of placement (see Decision to Look After and Care Planning Procedure).

6.2

Expectations of Temporary Foster Carers Following Placement Under Regulation 24

  6.2.1

Reports on foster carers, approved as temporary foster carers by the making of a placement with them under Regulation 24, must be considered by the Fostering Panel within sixteen weeks of placement. If the Family and Friend’s Part 2 assessment report is incomplete, the Fostering Panel should receive a report under the provisions of Regulation 25. The Fostering Panel will, in such a case, be asked to give a view as to the validity of an extension being sought and any comment about the temporary foster carers' suitability to act as foster carers. This recommendation will then inform the Family and Friend’s Nominated Officer r in his/her decision to extend the placement under Regulation 24 for a further period of up to eight weeks. The decision to extend the placement for a further period of up to eight weeks rests with the the Family and Friend’s Nominated Officer not with the Fostering Panel. If the period of temporary approval and of any extension to that period expires, and the temporary carer has not been approved as a foster carer, the placement must be terminated.

See also Regulation 25 guidance.
  6.2.2 The assessment process is amended to take account of the differing task of relative/friends foster carers as opposed to stranger carers. Initially, the main focus will therefore be to assess the carers as an appropriate placement for the specific child/ren concerned.
  6.2.3 The fostering social worker will ensure that the temporary foster carers are enrolled on Pre-approval Training for Foster Carers and that the temporary foster carers have an understanding that, if approved as Local Authority foster carers, they will be expected to work towards achievement of the Training, Support and Development Standards for foster carers.
  6.2.4 Temporary foster carers will be appointed a supervising social worker from the point of being awarded this temporary approval status. These foster carers will receive the same social work support as any other approved Local Authority foster carer. This includes access to the out of hours support scheme, and large families transport allowance, if they are eligible.
  6.2.5 Temporary foster carers, who are subsequently approved as Relative/ Child Specific foster carers for the Local Authority, will receive post-approval training relevant to their role.
  6.2.6 They will be eligible to apply for training courses as provided to/for all Foster Carers.

6.3

Assessment Process

  6.3.1 The assessment is a joint piece of work in which the childcare social worker and Fostering social worker work together.
  6.3.2 The Fostering Team Manager will be responsible for supervising the assessment, monitoring its progress.

6.4

The Report Format

 

The Family and friend’s Part 2 report format which is located on the connected adults Framework records should be submitted to the fostering panel for consideration for foster carers approval. This report should be presented to the fostering panel no more than sixteen weeks after the child has been placed with the temporary foster carers.

Friends & Family Assessment Part 2 (Form C (Connected Person (Family and Friends) Report) England

6.5

Regulation 25

 

Expiry of temporary approval

25.

  1. Subject to paragraph (4), the responsible authority may extend the temporary approval of a connected person if:
    1. It is likely to expire before the full assessment process is completed; or
    2. The connected person, having undergone the full assessment process, is not approved and seeks a review of the decision in accordance with Regulations 28.11 Fostering Services Regulation 2011.
  2. In a case falling within paragraph (1)(a), the responsible authority may extend the temporary approval once for a further period of up to eight weeks;
  3. In a case falling within paragraph (1)(b), the responsible authority may extend the temporary approval until the outcome of the review is known;
  4. Before deciding whether to extend the temporary approval in the circumstances set out in paragraph (1), the responsible authority must first;
    1. Consider whether placement with the connected person is still the most appropriate placement available;
    2. Seek the views of the fostering panel established by the fostering service provider in accordance with the 2011 Regulations; and
    3. Inform the IRO.
  5. A decision to extend temporary approval must be approved by a nominated officer;
  6. If the period of temporary approval and of any extension to that period expires and the connected person has not been approved as a Local Authority foster parent in accordance with the 2011 Regulations, the responsible authority must terminate the placement after first making other arrangements for C’s accommodation.

End