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Moving Forward in Kinship and Foster Care


Appendix 3

Adoption is the permanent transfer of all parental rights and responsibilities of the birth parents to another individual or partners. Adoption Orders are granted by a Court and the Court must be satisfied that adoption will meet the needs of the child throughout their childhood and life.

Child in Need

The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 defines a child as being in need of care and attention if:

  • he or she is unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development unless services are provided by the local authority
  • his or her health and development is likely to be seriously impaired or further impaired without such services
  • he or she is disabled
  • he or she is affected adversely by the disability of a member of the family.

A local authority must provide a range and level of services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in its area who are in need and to promote the upbringing of children in need by their families.

Children's Hearing

A lay tribunal composed of three panel members one of whom chairs the proceedings. Both genders must be represented. The hearing is charged with deciding if a child requires compulsory measures of supervision.

Contact - Contact between children and their parents (and brothers, sisters) is a basic right which should only be regulated if the welfare of the child might be compromised. Contact includes face to face meetings, letters, phone calls etc. Requirements for contact may be stated in supervision requirements. Contact should contribute to the well-being of the child and helps to retain active links with his/her family.

Corporate Parenting - the formal and local partnerships needed between staff in all local authority departments and services, and associated agencies who are responsible for working together to meet the needs of Looked After children and young people. (Looked After Children and Young People: We Can and Must Do Better, Scottish Executive 2007)

Corporate Parenting offers the opportunity to improve the futures of Looked After children by all parts of a Council and partners making their contribution to the well being of the children.

Family Group Conferences - the process brings together parents, relatives, grandparents and other concerned family members to decide on and take responsibility for a family plan for the care and protection of the child or young person. Children 1 st has pioneered the use of FGC in child welfare and protection since 1998. Evaluations have demonstrated the value of this formal process in reaching decisions.

Family Meetings - these may take a variety of shapes but the basic purpose is to bring together wider family members and friends to develop a plan for the care of a child either at home with parents or away from home. The goal is to identify the supports that the wider family can provide for the child and his/her carers.

Foster Care - involves looked after children and young people living and being cared for in an ordinary family home by carers who are not their parents. Foster carers are assessed and approved by agencies and must have the skills and capabilities to care for the whole child and promote their well-being.

Foster Care Allowances are paid allowances to cover the costs of the care of the child and many agencies also pay a fee to reflect the time and skills the carers devote to the child. Foster carers are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are continuing to provide safe and nurturing care to the child.

Freeing Order is made by a sheriff on application of an adoption agency (which includes local authorities' adoption services) for the child to be freed for adoption by all parental rights and responsibilities with regard to the child being transferred from the birth parents to the adoption agency.

GIRFEC (Getting it Right for Every Child) - is the programme that aims to improve outcomes for all children and young people by promoting a shared approach that builds solutions with and around children and families. It enables children to get the help they need when they need it; supports a positive shift in culture, systems and practice; involves working together to make things better.

Independent Reviewing Officers - workers specifically appointed in some agencies to chair Looked after children Reviews. They are independent of the line management for the child or carers. Some agencies have built in scrutiny of reviews by a senior manager/s rather than appointing Independent Reviewing Officers.

Kinship Care this is the term used to describe care provided by the wider family members or friends of a child when they have to leave the care of their parents.

Informal kinship care is where the child lives with kinship carers with no formal intervention of the local authority.

Formal kinship care is where the child is looked after and accommodated by the local authority and placed with kinship carers or where the Children's Hearing make a supervision requirement that a child lives with a kinship carer.

Looked after children

Children who are looked after are those who are:

  • provided with accommodation by a local authority under s.25 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995
  • subject to a supervision requirement (whether living at home or away from home)
  • subject to an order, warrant or authorisation under which the local authority has responsibilities for the child.

The local authority has a duty to looked after children to:

  • safeguard and promote the child's welfare
  • provide family support services where the child is living at home
  • promote contact between child and parents
  • ascertain and take account of the child's views and views of parents and other relevant adults
  • have regard to the child's religion, race, culture and linguistic background
  • review the child's case at regular intervals.

Looked after at home - this will be where the child is the subject of a supervision requirement but continues to live at home Supervision requirements can impose a number of measures on the child, for protection, guidance, treatment or control. The local authority is required to provide supervision of the child and his welfare and access services for the child as required.

Looked after and accommodated - where the local authority arrange for a child to be live away from home and place the child in alternative care. Some looked after and accommodated children will be subject to supervision requirements which include the child being placed in a particular foster home, residential home or other place. Other placements may be made at the request of the parents of the child when they are prevented from providing care.

Looked after child in kinship care - this is where a child has been placed by a local authority with a kinship carer or a Children's Hearing has made a supervision requirement including the child being cared for by kinship carers.

Parallel/contingency/concurrent Planning - the development of different options for the care of a child at the one time rather than sequentially. The goal is to reduce drift for children but to have an open agenda with parents about the options so that they are aware of the outcomes of different actions they take or fail to take.

Parental Responsibilities

Under the CS Act, parents have the following responsibilities towards their children:

  • to safeguard and promote child's health, development and welfare until the child is 16
  • to provide appropriate direction until the child is 16 and guidance until 18
  • maintain good personal relationships and contact with the child until 16
  • to act as a legal representative until child is 16.

Parental Rights

Under the Act, parents have rights to:

  • regulate the residence of a child under 16
  • direct the child's upbringing
  • maintain contact
  • act as a legal representative

where this in the child's best interests.

Parental Responsibilities Order

A sheriff may transfer parental responsibilities to a local authority where a parent has:

  • persistently failed, without reasonable excuse to fulfil their parental responsibilities
  • has seriously ill-treated the child and return home is unlikely.

This order lasts until the child is 18.

Pedagogy - The principles of pedagogy are that people working with the child focus on "the whole child, their body, mind, feelings, spirit, creativity and the relationship of the child to others- their connectedness" (Petrie 2001).

The goal of developing pedagogy in Scotland is to create a workforce which can address the needs of the whole child and contribute their different skills to that process but all sharing common values and principles.

Permanency - involves making decisions about the long-term future of children who have been removed from their families' care. Its purpose is to ensure that the child has a permanent, stable and secure upbringing either with their original family or with alternative high quality care. Permanence is a permanent solution for the child whether in their own family or in alternative care.

Permanence Order

This order will be implemented within the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007. A permanence order is an order made by a court on the application of a local authority. If granted, the order will specify what parental rights and responsibilities are given to the local authority and which are given to another person, for example, a foster carer or kinship carer. A permanence order can include authority for the child to be adopted.

Residence Order

An order made by a court which regulates the arrangements about where, and with whom a child will live. If an order is made in favour of someone who does not have parental responsibilities and rights (e.g. grandparents, aunts) then that person will hold responsibilities and rights until or unless the order is changed. This lasts until the child is 16.

Association of Directors of Social Work
British Association for Adoption and Fostering
Children and Mental Health Services
COSLA Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
DWP Department of Work and Pensions
FGC Family Group Conferences FM family meetings
HMRC Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs
MARS Multi Agency Resource Service recently set up to provide support and information and advice in relation to child protection services
PRO Parental Responsibilities Order
SCIE Social Care Institute for Excellence
SIRCC Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care
SR Supervision Requirement
SSSC Scottish Social Services Council
SWD Social Work Department
TFN the Fostering Network
The Act
/ CSA Children (Scotland) Act 1995