CRWIA Stage 1 - Screening - key questions
1. Name the policy, and describe its overall aims.
The Looked After Children (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 aim to ensure that, given the provisions in section 17(6) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, and the Children (Scotland) Act 2020 that we are doing all we can to protect sibling relationships provided for in secondary legislation, especially in relation to the placement of siblings by local authorities.
The Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 (“the 2009 Regulations”), supplemented by guidance, specify how local authorities are to care for children in public care. They make provision for the duties and functions of local authorities in respect of children who are looked after by them in terms of section 17(6) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.
The need to amend the 2009 Regulations relates to two matters:
- The need for local authorities to have regard to the welfare of each child in relation to sibling placements and;
- An exemption to the foster placement limit for emergency placements in exceptional circumstances for a specific child.
2. What aspects of the policy/measure will affect children and young people up to the age of 18?
The Articles of the UNCRC and the child wellbeing indicators under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 apply to all children and young people up to the age of 18, including non-citizen and undocumented children and young people.
The amendment to the 2009 Regulations will affect children and young people who are looked after up to the age of 18.
3. What likely impact – direct or indirect – will the policy/measure have on children and young people?
The changes will have a direct impact on looked after children and young people as the duty is on local authorities to ensure siblings are placed together where it is safe and appropriate to do so.
4. Which groups of children and young people will be affected?
Under the UNCRC, ‘children’ can refer to: individual children, groups of children, or children in general. Some groups of children will relate to the groups with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010: disability, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. ‘Groups’ can also refer to children by age band or setting, or those who are eligible for special protection or assistance: e.g. preschool children, children in hospital, children in rural areas, looked after children, young people who offend, victims of abuse or exploitation, child migrants, or children living in poverty.
The changes to the 2009 Regulations are likely to potentially affect children and young people of all ages and from all backgrounds who are looked after and accommodated by their local authority. The change will have more of an impact on children involved in court proceedings about the arrangements for their upbringing; looked after children and those involved in the Children’s Hearings System.
We are defining ‘child sibling’ in this context in line with the definition in the Children (Scotland) Act 2020 – “not only to siblings, but also to any other person with whom the child has lived and with whom the child has an ongoing relationship with the character of a relationship between siblings. Two people are defined as siblings if they have at least one parent in common. This could be a biological parent or a parent by operation of adoption law or by virtue of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008.”
5. Will this require a CRWIA?
Yes as the amendments to the 2009 Regulations have a direct impact on children and young people.
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