6 Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009
The 2009 regulations revoked and replaced both the Fostering of Children (Scotland) Regulations 1996 and the Arrangements to Look after Children (Scotland) Regulations 1996 which were collectively better known as "the fostering regulations".
The 2009 regulations introduce a number of new measures and some new duties on local authorities. These include:
- the recognition of a separate group of carers, known as "kinship carers"
- the duty to provide a "child's plan" by removing the condition "so far as is practicable"
- there are new duties to consult with the child (taking into account their age and maturity)
- a new power to extend emergency placements in certain circumstances for a further six week period
The regulations apply to children who are formally 'looked after' by the local authority. A child is 'looked after' by the local authority where the child is:
- subject to a compulsory supervision order or interim compulsory supervision order
- subject to a child protection order
- subject to a permanence order (which transfers parental rights and responsibilities to the local authority and named carers)
- placed with a carer or in a residential establishment
Note: a child may also be "looked after" but able to reside at home.
From the panel member's perspective the regulations apply where a local authority submit a report to a children's hearing in which they recommend that the child:
- be cared for by their parents or any person with parental responsibilities or parental rights in relation to the child
- be placed with a kinship carer
- be placed with a foster carer
- be placed in a residential establishment, or
- be placed with any other person who is not a relevant person in an emergency
Information required by the Regulations
The regulations place an order on the local authority to carry out a full assessment of the needs of the child both short and long term. This assessment must seek and take into account the views of the child, the child's parents and any person with parental responsibilities. This assessment will normally provide the basis of the social background report at a children's hearing.
In addition to this, in recommending the placement of a child with a particular carer, the local authority must satisfy panel members that the necessary checks have been carried out and that the proposed placement is in the best interests of the child. Information such as follows should normally be included:
- name, birth, date, health, personality and marital status
- particulars of other adults in household and their relationship to the prospective carer
- particulars of children in the family and in the household
- address and particulars of the prospective accommodation
- religion and capacity to care for a child of any religious persuasion
- racial origin and capacity to care for a child of ant particular origin
- capacity/ability to care for children
Placement with any other person who is not a relevant person in an emergency
The Regulations make provision for a child who is looked after and is to be placed in an emergency.
The local authority have to be satisfied that an emergency placement is the most suitable way to meet the child's needs and that the person with whom the child is to be placed has signed a written agreement with the authority.
For an initial period, not exceeding three days, the local authority may place the child with any person approved as a foster carer or kinship carer or, any person who is known to the child and who has a pre-existing relationship with the child.
Within three working days, the local authority must review the child's case to determine whether the placement continues to be in the best interests of the child. The local authority may allow the placement to continue for a further period not exceeding twelve weeks from the review date but a further review must be carried out by the local authority before the expiry of six weeks.
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