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The legal framework for Looked After Children in Scotland is based in a number of legislative acts and statutory instruments. The main acts and regulations are listed in the table directly below. Relevant guidance documents - published by the Scottish Government to accompany the legislation - are listed separately.

Please note that this page does not constitute a comprehensive guide to the law. The information provided here is for general use only. Individuals with specific queries regarding looked after children law should seek professional legal advice.

Acts and Regulations

Title Description
Children and Young people (Scotland) Act 2014 The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 Act will introduce provisions that will ensure better permanence planning for looked after children by: amending the Children in (Scotland Act) 1995 to ensure that those leaving care aged 16 will become eligible for aftercare immediately; extends the entitlement to aftercare support available to care leavers from those up to the age of 21 to those aged up to 26; all young people in care born after April 1999 to have the entitlement to stay in foster, kinship or residential care placement until the age of 21; provides a clear definition of corporate parenting, introduces a new framework of duties and responsibilities for the public bodies defined as corporate parents; supports the parenting role of kinship carers; and will put Scotland’s Adoption Register on a statutory footing.
The Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009

Reflecting the national strategy laid out in Getting it Right, these regulations bring together the care planning services offered to looked after children at home with the care provision required when children are separated from their birth parents. They also reflect more detailed and consistent requirements when children are looked after by kinship carers.

Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007

Modernises, improves and extends the system of adoption in Scotland. Allows a wider range of people are able to adopt. Introduces a new court order for accommodating children who cannot live with their original families (a 'permanence order'). Improves access to a broader range of support services for people affected by adoption, including members of adoptive and original families.

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

Deals with the provision of aftercare services for young people who have been looked after by local authorities. The regulations also provide for throughcare preparation for young people leaving care (the 'pathway plan').

The Secure Accommodation (Scotland) Regulations 1996

Concerned with the use of secure accommodation for any child who is being looked after by a local authority or for whom the local authority is responsible under Criminal Procedure legislation.

The Residential Establishments - Child Care (Scotland) Regulations 1996

Makes provision with respect to residential establishments in which a child who is looked after by a local authority under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 may be placed.

Children (Scotland) Act 1995

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