Legislation and guidance

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Legislation

These pages outline the legislation, policy and guidance that specifically relates to children in care in the UK. National policies which aim to improve the life chances for all children, including looked after children, are covered in the England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland sections.

 

England

KEY LEGISLATION

Children Act 1989

Sets out many of the duties, powers and responsibilities local authorities hold in respect of their looked after children and care leavers.

The Children Act 1989 – General Principles
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Children (Leaving Care) 2000

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Adoption and Children Act 2002

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Children and Adoption Act 2006

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Children and Young Persons Act 2008

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Children and Families Act 2014

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Implementation of Children and Social Work Act 2017 Sections 1-7
The Department for Education has published statutory guidance aimed at local authorities and other agencies to help these organisations to implement the changes to the legislative framework for looked-after and previously-looked after children, and care leavers introduced by sections 1 to 7 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017.

The statutory guidance relating to sections 1 to 3 of the Act will come into force from April 2018 and is aimed at commissioners of services for care leavers and looked-after children, and partner agencies and providers of services for care leavers and looked after children:

Additional documents published include:

The revised statutory guidance relating to sections 4 to 7 of the Act is aimed at local authorities, schools and school governing bodies:

 

 

Revised Statutory Guidance

Special guardianship guidance

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The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations

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A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children is available in the Working Together to Safeguard Children pdf


CARE STANDARDS ACT 2000

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.

Download the National Minimum Standards here

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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Corporate parenting: statutory guidance
The Department for Education (DfE) has published statutory guidance for local authorities, relevant partners and others who contribute to services provided to children in care and care leavers in England. The guidance sets out seven principles that local authorities must have regard to when exercising their functions in relation to children and young people in care including: acting in their best interests, and promoting their physical and mental health and well-being; encouraging children and young people to express their views, wishes and feelings, and to take these into account; helping children and young people gain access to and make the best use of services provided; promoting high aspirations, and seeking to secure the best outcomes; ensuring safety, and stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work; and preparing the children and young people for adulthood and independent living.

Source: DfE  Date: 26 February 2018
Further information: Applying corporate parenting principles to looked-after children and care leavers: statutory guidance for local authorities (PDF)


Local offer for care leavers: statutory guidance

The Department for Education (DfE) has published guidance for local authorities on the local offer for care leavers as required under Section 2 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017.The guidance gives details of the services and support that may assist care leavers in, or moving to, adulthood and independent living that the local authority provides in relation to: health and wellbeing; relationships; education and training; employment; accommodation; and participation in society.

Source: DfE  Date: 26 February 2018
Further information: Local offer guidance: guidance for local authorities (PDF)


Extending personal adviser support to age 25: statutory guidance

The Department for Education (DfE) has published statutory guidance for local authorities in England around extending personal adviser support to all care leavers up to the age of 25. This new duty, introduced through the Children & Social Work Act 2017, commences from 1 April 2018. Information for local authorities on the new burdens assessment for extending personal adviser support to age 25 has also been published.

Source: DfE  Date: 26 February 2018
Further information: Extending personal adviser support to all care leavers to age 25: statutory guidance for local authorities (PDF)
Extending personal adviser support to age 25: new burdens assessment (PDF)

 

Promoting the education of children in care and care leavers: statutory guidance
The Department for Education (DfE) has published statutory guidance setting out the duty local authorities in England have to promote the educational achievement of looked after children and care leavers, and on the role of the designated teacher for children and young people in care and care leavers.

Source: DfE  Date: 26 February 2018
Further information: Promoting the education of looked-after children and previously looked-after children (PDF)
The designated teacher for looked after and previously looked-after children: statutory guidance on their roles and responsibilities (PDF)

 

Wales

KEY LEGISLATION

Children Act 1989

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Children (Leaving Care) 2000

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Adoption and Children Act 2002

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Children and Adoption Act 2006

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Children and Young Persons Act 2008

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Children and Families Act 2014

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Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014

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Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016

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GUIDANCE

When I am ready

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Social Services and Well-being (Wales) 2014

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Social Services and Well-being (Wales) 2014

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Guidance on the implementation of the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000

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National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services (Wales) 2003

Delegated Authority to Foster Carers 2011

 

 

Scotland

KEY LEGISLATION

Foster Children (Scotland) Act 1984

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Children (Scotland) Act 1995

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Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001

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Support and Assistance of Young People Leaving Care (Scotland) Regulations 2003

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Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007

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Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009

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Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011

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Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

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GUIDANCE

Staying put Scotland

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Guidance on the Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 and the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 (Scottish Government, 2011)

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Getting it Right for Every Child

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Managing Allegations against Foster Carers

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Continuing care
The Scottish Government has published findings from a public consultation on the extension of the higher age limit for eligibility for continuing care from 19 to 20 years of age from 1 April 2018. No adjustments have been requested or made to the draft order which will enable young people who turn sixteen, but have not yet reached the age of twenty while in residential, foster or kinship care, to remain in their current care setting (‘continuing care’) after they cease to be formally looked after by the local authority.

Source: Scottish Government  Date: 28 February 2018
Further information: Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014: analysis of consultation on The Continuing Care (Scotland) Amendment Order 2018 (PDF)
The Continuing Care (Scotland) Amendment Order 2018

 

Northern Ireland

KEY LEGISLATION

The Foster Placement (Children) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996
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Adoption Agencies Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1989

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Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995

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Children (Leaving Care) Act (Northern Ireland) 2002

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Children (Leaving Care) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005

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GUIDANCE

Protecting looked after children

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Minimum kinship care standards Northern Ireland

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Standards – Leaving care services in Northern Ireland

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Standards for young adults supported accommodation projects in Northern Ireland

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The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995

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