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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.

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 January 2020 this chapter was completely rewritten and should be re-read.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Making a Placement Under Regulation 24
  3. Legal Status
  4. Prior to Placement
  5. Assessment and Approval


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 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 or planned 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) or section 20 of the Children Act 1989 rather than under S36 (6) of the Children Act 1989.
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. 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 Where workers are in doubt, as to the appropriateness or not of regarding a child as being accommodated, they should consult with their manager as to appropriate and seek legal advice.


4. Prior to Placement

4.1 Prior to a child being placed a viability assessment must be completed by the children’s social worker. This will be required if a referral to the Family and Friends Fostering Team is considered in the future.
4.2

Authority to agree an immediate placement 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, friend and/or is known to the child;
  2. The proposed placement is the most appropriate placement for the child.
4.3 Children’s Group Manager must record agreement to unregulated placement and financial assistance on Mosaic if the child is to be placed prior to referral to the Family and Friends Fostering Team.
4.4

In completing a viability assessment the child social worker should consider:-

  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. Mosaic and Police Checks, outside local authority checks must be undertaken. The suitability of the proposed accommodation (including the proposed sleeping arrangements for the child should be considered with reference the bedroom sharing policy of the local authority). 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 to the 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;
  4. The views and wishes of the child and the child's parent/guardian, about the proposed placement, wherever possible;
  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.


5. Assessment and Approval

5.1

After completion of a positive viability assessment a referral is completed through Mosaic via the family and friend’s viability assessment work step. If appropriate a supervising social worker will be allocated to undertake a part 1 assessment with the child social worker. This work step will be commenced after agreement for referral is agreed by the fostering team manager. An applicant must be informed of the expectations of acting as a foster carer for the department to support their decision making in order to progress with the fostering assessment process.

The part 1 family and friends’ assessments are to be completed jointly by the child social worker and supervising social worker. The child social worker has responsibility for sections 1-8 with the supervising social worker needing to complete section 9. A joint recommendation is to be made in section 10 as to the suitability of the applicant to foster. The care plan and placement of the child remains the responsibility of the child social worker.

  1. Within the part 1 works step the outcome of initial reference checks should be references as followed by the child social worker:
    1. Police check;
    2. Mosaic system checks if the carers reside in the Nottinghamshire local authority area;
    3. Outside local authority checks if the applicants reside outside of Nottinghamshire or have lived elsewhere previously.
5.2

If there are positive disclosures received from the police check, then a risk and impact assessment must be completed by the supervising social worker. This will need to be read and countersigned by the child social worker, child social worker team manager, fostering team manager and fostering service manager. This will assess the applicant’s ability to act as a foster carer for the department by analysing all information available and needs to be uploaded in Mosaic.The fostering service manager should record their decision on mosaic on the applicants file.

If the applicant smokes and the child is aged under 5 years of age a smoking exemption must be completed and needs to be uploaded in Mosaic by the supervising social worker and agreed by the fostering service manager. The fostering service manager should record their decision on mosaic on the applicants file.

A bedroom sharing assessment must be completed jointly if the child is sharing a bedroom, unless they are aged under 2 years and are sharing with the carers. The bedroom sharing assessment should be agreed by child social worker team manager, fostering team manager and fostering service manager and needs to be uploaded in Mosaic. A pet assessment should be completed by the supervising social worker if applicable and financial assessment should be completed by the applicants along with all other relevant fostering forms.

The completed part 1 assessment should be sent to the Children's Service Manager, Children’s Team Manager for authorisation and then sent to e to the Family and Friend’s Nominated Officer for decision making. If a positive recommendation is agreed, then this is the point that Reg 24 placement commences. The fostering team manager will notify placements team, notification placements and payments team.

Visits should be made to the child at minimum of weekly intervals by the childcare social worker prior to Regulation 24 agreement. Unless this is otherwise agreed and recorded on mosaic by child social worker team manager.

Delegated authority needs to be completed and shared with the applicants by the child social worker team at the earliest opportunity.

The fostering team manager will be responsible for supervising the assessment, monitoring its progress.

 

Immediate Post-Placement Procedure

 
  • A Family and Friend’s joint Part 2 Assessment will commence with the Roles and responsibilities in terms of the report’s completion are detailed on the part 2 CoramBAAF Assessment Form C;
  • The supervising social worker must book a Fostering Panel date for consideration of approval within 16 weeks of the child's placement having been made;
  • A Placement Planning Meeting should be convened  within three days of the placement being made if the child is not already placed. This meeting should include the carers, child social worker and supervising social worker.

5.3

Expectations of Foster Carers Following Temporary Approval Under Regulation 24

  5.3.1

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 and have had agency decision maker decision returned within sixteen weeks of  the commencement of Reg 24. 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  in his/her decision to extend the placement under Regulation 25 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 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, therefore becomes unregulated.

  5.3.2 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.
  5.3.3 Temporary foster carers will be appointed a supervising social worker from the point of being awarded this temporary approval status. 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.
  5.3.4 Temporary foster carers, who are subsequently approved as Relative / Child Specific foster carers for the Local Authority, will receive post-approval training and mandatory training relevant to their role.
  5.3.5 They will be eligible to apply for training courses as provided to/for all Foster Carers.

5.4

The Report Format

 

The Family and friend’s Part 2 report format which is located on the connected adults Mosaic 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.

5.5

Payments and Levels

 
  1. Family and Friends Foster carers will receive the Regular Weekly allowance plus £10 from the point that they are temporarily/permanently approved;
  2. Prior to Temporary Approval, the responsibility to make payments is the responsibility of the relevant child care team. Payments are generally paid at the equivalent of Regular Weekly allowance minus the additional £10;
  3. We do not pay Family and Friends Foster carers the levels payment, where we are wanting to secure permanency for the child via a Special Guardianship Order (SGO). However, if, we think the Family and Friends Foster carers need ongoing support or due to the complexities of the child/YP placed, then the carer/s can progress on the levels payment providing they are completing the training we expect them to complete. wWith regard to Levels Payments, Nottinghamshire County Councils Director of Childrens Services has agreed that when a child/young person’s care plan has clearly been agreed as long-term fostering, Family and Friends carers are eligible for the Levels payments as appropriate and agreed by the Fostering Team Manager and Fostering Service Manager;
  4. Progression through the levels is based upon training and evidencing that the specific requirements for the levels are met. This will be reviewed and agreed by the Fostering Independent Reviewing Officers at the Foster Carers Annual Review.

For newly approved Family and Friends carers, where long-term fostering is the agreed care plan, carers to commence on the Level 1 payment. Again this is to be agreed by the Fostering Team Manager and Fostering Service Manager.

Reviewed September 2019.

End