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Legislation for England

The Law and Fostering
Most of the law relating to the safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is contained within the Children Act 1989, Guidance and Regulations Volume 4 Fostering Services, the Care Standards Act 2000, the Adoption and Children Act 2002 and the Children Act 2004.

The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010, which came into effect on 1st April 2011, bring together all the provisions in previous regulations relating to the placement of children by Local Authorities and include provisions for the placement of looked after children with Foster Carers. A looked after child is a child who is in the care of a Local Authority by virtue of a Care Order, or a child who is provided with accommodation by a Local Authority in the exercise of their social services functions, with some exceptions.

There are regulations contained within the Fostering Services Regulations 2011 and associated  National Minimum Standards that provide a clear framework for Fostering Service Providers, Foster Carers and associated staff.
The legal framework is complex and you are not expected to know all of it! It is important, however, that Foster Carers understand the general principles contained in the legislation, the implications of any court orders that apply to children and young people that are in foster care, and the expectations placed upon Foster Carers under the law.

There are lots of new words that you will hear if or when you start fostering. We have set out the basics here. And if you want to find out more about the legal framework there are plenty of books and websites available.

The Children Act 1989 – General Principles
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Court Orders
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The main Court Orders are:

Emergency Protection Order (EPO)
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Child Assessment Order
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Interim Care Order
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Care Order
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The role of the Family Court Adviser
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Contact Order
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Residence Order
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Prohibited Steps Order
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Specific Issue Order
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Other orders that you might come across:
• Supervision Order
• Family Assistance Order
• Guardianship or Special Guardianship Order
• Wardship
• orders made in matrimonial proceedings
• orders made in criminal proceedings e.g. supervision order, community service.

Fostering Services Regulations and National Minimum Standards 2011
The above named regulations and standards are published under the Care Standards Act 2000.
The regulations are mandatory and fostering service providers must abide by them. The inspectors working for Ofsted take account of how well the fostering service providers meet the national minimum standards under the five Every Child Matters Outcomes, and how well the service is managed. The inspection reports for each fostering service provider are available either from the providers themselves or via the Ofsted website.

There are 31 fostering standards which are encompassed under two main headings:

Standards 1 to 12 – Child Focused Standards
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Standards 13 to 31 – Standards of the Fostering Service
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Implications for Foster Carers:
Foster Carers should have some knowledge of what is contained within the regulations and standards.
Foster Carers should be particularly aware of the expectations detailed under the following individual standards:
Standard 1 ascertaining the child’s wishes and feelings
Standard 2 promoting a positive identity and valuing diversity
Standard 4 safeguarding children
Standard 6 promoting health and wellbeing
Standard 8 promoting educational achievement
Standard 9 promoting and supporting contact
Standard 12 promoting independence and preparing for adulthood
Standard 20 learning and development of Foster Carers
Standard 21 supervision and support of Foster Carers
Standard 22 handling allegations against Foster Carers