View LCP Procedures View LCP Procedures

3.2.6 Placements with Friends and Family Foster Carers (also known as Connected Persons carers)

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to any placement of a child as a Looked After Child, with a Friends and Family foster carer (sometimes called a Connected Person Carer), A Friends and Family foster carer is defined as "A relative, friend or other person connected with a child who is also approved as a foster carer either temporarily under Regulation 24 of the Care Planning Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 (CPPCR), or fully under regulation 27 of the Fostering services (England) Regulations 2011 (FSR).

A connected person is defined as ‘a relative, friend or other person connected with a child. The latter is someone who would not fit the term 'relative or friend', but who has a pre-existing relationship with the child. It could be someone who knows the child in a more professional capacity such as (for example) a child-minder, a teacher or a youth worker.’ (CPPCR 2010)

A relative is defined as "a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether of the full blood or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership) or step-parent." Children Act 1989 Section 10(5)(a).

It is important to note that where a child cannot be cared for by their parent(s) the family may make their own arrangements to care for the child within the family and friends network. The Local Authority does not have a duty to be involved in any such informal family and friends care arrangements unless it appears to the authority that services may be necessary to safeguard and promote the welfare of a child or children or young person up to the age of 18 years.

Arrangements may also be made by parents for children to be cared for by friends or relatives who are not ‘close’ relatives. If these arrangements are to last longer than 28 days they come within the Private Fostering regulations (See also Private Fostering Procedure).

’Family and Friends care’ is used to describe all arrangements where the Local Authority is involved in placing a Child In Need and where assessments have been made that the child needs to become Looked After. Placements may be made at the request and agreement of the parent, in which case the child is ‘Accommodated’ or through a Court process where the child is made the subject of an order and is placed in ‘care’. In both these circumstances the child or young person becomes ‘Looked After’.

See also Family and Friends Policy.

This procedure will not apply where a Looked After Child stays with a relative, friend or other Connected Person on a temporary basis for contact purposes only. In these circumstances, Contact with Relatives and Friends Procedure applies.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was amended in September 2017 to note that consideration of any pets and the environment in which they are kept, should be undertaken when completing an initial assessment of a Connected Person. (See Section 2, Emergency Placements (Regulation 24, CPPCR 2010).


Contents

  1. General
  2. Emergency Placements (Regulation 24, CPPCR 2010)
  3. Planned Placements (Regulation 27, FSR 2011)
  4. Relevant Plans for Child and Carer
  5. Notification of Placements
  6. Monitoring of Placement
  7. Support of Placement
  8. Reviews of Placements
  9. Ending of Placements

    Appendix 1: Schedule 4 Regulation 24 CPPR 2010

    Appendix 2: Regulation 24 Assessment Template

    Appendix 3: Additional Information for full Friends & Family or SGO Assessment

    Appendix 4: Friends & Family and SGO Assessment Template


1. General

The approval of relatives and friends as foster carers assumes that:

  • The child’s needs have been assessed and authorisation given by Head of Service for the child to become Looked After;
  • A Care Plan has been completed setting out the needs of the child and how they will be met;
  • The parent(s) have completed and signed the relevant LAC forms in respect of children who are to be accommodated.

If a Connected Person wishes to be considered to be a foster carer for a child the child's social worker should complete a preliminary assessment using the agreed form (see Appendix 2: Regulation 24 Assessment Template).

This form, when completed, incorporates all the information and consents necessary to:

  • Place a child in an emergency with a Friends & Family Foster Carer under Regulation 24 (CPPCR 2010);
  • Initiate a full fostering assessment under Regulation 27 (FSR 2011).


2. Emergency Placements (Regulation 24, CPPCR 2010)

Regulation 24 allows the local authority to make an immediate placement (see Procedure for Making a Regulation 24 Placement) with a Connected Person who is not yet approved as a local authority foster carer whilst an assessment of the child’s needs is undertaken and/or the connected person is being assessed as a foster carer.

Regulation 24 placements last for a maximum of 16 weeks beginning from the date the child is placed with the carer. At the end of this period the child should either return home to their parent(s) or longer-term placement options for the child’s care should be ready for implementation.

In exceptional circumstances, this temporary approval can be extended for a further period of up to 8 weeks. 

Criteria for Making a Regulation 24 Placement

The following criteria should be considered when making a Regulation 24 placement:

  • An immediate/emergency placement is required;
  • The identified placement is deemed to be in the best interests of the child;
  • The suitability of the arrangements must be assessed and ensuring all requirements in Schedule 4 (see Appendix 1: Schedule 4 Regulation 24 CPPR 2010) are complied with, and include, where relevant, an initial risk assessment of any pets, together with the environment in which the pet is kept;
  • A written agreement has been signed by the carer who agrees to:
    1. Care for the child as if s/he were a member of the family;
    2. Sign agreements for checks from Police, Health, Local Authority and Education references on all persons over 18 years who live in or have regular and substantive contact with the household;
    3. Allow a local authority officer to visit at any time;
    4. Keep information confidential;
    5. Comply with Court Orders and/or the Local Authority’s requirements about contact;
    6. Permit the child to be removed at any time if the local authority decides it is no longer a suitable placement.

Procedure for Making a Regulation 24 Placement

Pre-placement Assessment

Before any placement with a Family and Friends Carer can be approved, the child’s social worker must assess its suitability, including the level of support likely to be required and the effect of the proposed placement upon the child’s contact with parents, siblings and other relatives and friends who are significant to the child. In making such an assessment of suitability:

  • The proposed carer must be interviewed;
  • The accommodation must be inspected;
  • Information must be obtained about other persons in the household;
  • The proposed carer and all members of the household aged 18 and above must be checked with the Police Child Abuse Vetting and Barring Team, the family’s GP and Children’s Social Care records in the local authority where the family lives, YOT (if relevant) & Ofsted;
  • The child’s wishes and feelings (subject to age and understanding) must be ascertained and recorded and wherever possible;
  • The views of parents / those with Parental Responsibility must also be obtained;
  • An assessment must be completed using this form (see Appendix 2: Regulation 24 Assessment Template) which sets out all the key areas required for such an assessment. These are also set out in Appendix 1 (see Appendix 1: Schedule 4 Regulation 24 CPPR 2010).

Approval of a Regulation 24 Placement

Placements under Regulation 24 must be approved by the Head of Service responsible for the child’s case who will sign the assessment completed by the child’s social worker.

Arrangements for a full fostering assessment of a Regulation 24 carer

The approved assessment should be forwarded to Fostering Duty (FosteringDuty@southwark.gov.uk) once it has been completed. This will be allocated to an Advanced Practitioner who will oversee any fostering assessment process and agree the appropriate person to undertake this.

For placements not expected to last 16 weeks a decision may be taken not to proceed with a full fostering assessment although ongoing assessment of the placement meeting the child’s needs will be required by the child’s social worker and the Fostering Service.

For placements likely to exceed 16 weeks, and with a Care Plan of Special Guardianship following conclusion of any court process, a dual Special Guardianship and fostering assessment will be undertaken by an Independent Social Worker contracted by the Fostering Service.

Temporary approval can be extended for a further period of up to 8 weeks (if it is likely to expire before the assessment is completed) or until the outcome of the Independent Review (if the outcome of the assessment is that the Connected Person is not approved and seeks a review of the decision - see Assessment and Approval of Foster Carers Procedure).

Before deciding whether to extend the approval, the Local Authority must consider if the placement is still the most appropriate placement available, and it must be considered by the Fostering Panel before the above approval is given.

Support for a Regulation 24 Placement

The Fostering Service holds responsibility for the support all Regulation 24 carers once children have been placed with the Connected Person and the assessment completed and authorised by the relevant Head of Service. 

The Fostering Service will:

  • Oversee the full Assessments of Family and Friends Carers as foster carers;
  • Confirm in writing to the carer their status as a Friends and Family Foster Carer and make clear what support they are entitled to including financial support;
  • Provide on-going support, advice and learning opportunities where necessary to individual carers the same as all other approved foster carers;
  • Ensure notification to the local authority where the child is placed;
  • Provide the carer with a copy of Southwark Foster Carer’s Handbook.


3. Planned Placements (Regulation 27, FSR 2011)

For planned placements under Regulation 27 a social worker from the Fostering Service should accompany the child’s social worker on an initial visit to contribute to the assessment. The child’s social worker will still complete the preliminary assessment.

This form, when completed, incorporates all the information and consents necessary to initiate a full fostering assessment under Regulation 27 and means the prospective carer does not have to complete an application to foster form.

Assessments under Regulation 27 are overseen by a designated Advanced Practitioner in the Fostering Service and fully comply with the Councils procedures for conducting any fostering assessment - see Assessment and Approval of Foster Carers Procedure.


4. Relevant Plans for Child and Carer

The child's placement with a Friends and Family Foster Carer must be part of a Care Plan, which should be drawn up before the placement begins or, in exceptional circumstances, for example an immediate placement under Section 2, Emergency Placements (Regulation 24, CPPCR 2010) above, within a maximum of ten working days of the placement starting.

See Decision to Look After and Care Planning Procedure.

The child's social worker remains responsible for all activities relating to the implementation of the Care Plan.

As part of the approval of a Friends and Family Foster Carer, there must be a Support Plan for the carer. The Fostering Service will be responsible for ensuring implementation of this Plan.

Prior to the placement, a Placement Plan/Placement Information Record must be drawn up by the child's social worker in consultation with the carer. In relation to an immediate placement with a Friends and Family Foster Carer, the Placement Plan may take the form of the written agreement referred to in Section 2, Emergency Placements (Regulation 24, CPPCR 2010) above. Delegated authority should be discussed at this meeting and what this means for the Friends and Family Foster Carer.


5. Notification of Placement

Notification of the placement must be sent to all those involved in the decision-making process. Notification must be sent before the placement wherever possible or within five working days of the placement.

The notification must advise of the placement decision, the name and address of the person with whom the child is to be placed, details relating to the child's contact with parents and the arrangements related to the care and welfare of the child.

If the child was already looked after, the social worker will send notification of the placement to the child's Independent Reviewing Officer.


6. Monitoring of Placement

The child's social worker must visit the child in the placement at least once each week until the first Looked After Review and thereafter at intervals of not more than four weeks during the period of temporary approval. Thereafter visits should take place at intervals of no more than 6 weeks.

Wherever possible, the child must be seen with the carer and alone. If this is not possible, a further visit must be made at short notice in order that the child can be seen alone and observed with the carer.

The supervising social worker should be visit at least every four weeks until the case is presented to Fostering Panel and 6 weekly after approval to support the foster placement.


7. Support of Placements

See Family and Friends Policy for available support to be included in a Kinship Support Plan. The Kinship Care Worker in the Adoption and Fostering Service will be responsible for its implementation.


8. Reviews of Placements

The child will be the subject of Looked After Reviews coordinated by the child's social worker and Independent Reviewing Officer.

The carer will be subject to annual reviews of approval – see Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers.


9. Ending of Placements

The Council will terminate or suspend payments to any Connected Person Carer where:

  • The child placed has reached 18 and no Staying Put agreement is in place;
  • It has come to the attention of the Council that there are concerns surrounding the standard of care or Child Protection issues, which require the child's removal from the carer;
  • The child is no longer living in the placement for whatever reason;
  • The carer is failing to co-operate with requirements for Looked After children, for example PEP's, Health Care Assessments or contact arrangements.

All those notified of the placement should be notified also when a placement is ended.


Appendix 1: Schedule 4 Regulation 24 CPPR 2010

SCHEDULE 4 Regulation 24 CPPR 2010

Matters to be taken into account when assessing the suitability of a connected person to care for C

  1. In respect of the connected person:
    1. The nature and quality of any existing relationship with C;
    2. Their capacity to care for children and in particular in relation to C to:
      1. Provide for C’s physical needs and appropriate medical and dental care;
      2. Protect C adequately from harm or danger including from any person who presents a risk of harm to C;
      3. Ensure that the accommodation and home environment is suitable with regard to the age and developmental stage of C;
      4. Promote C’s learning and development; and
      5. Provide a stable family environment which will promote secure attachments for C, including promoting positive contact with P and other connected persons, unless to do this is not consistent with the duty to safeguard and promote C’s welfare.
    3. Their state of health including their physical, emotional and mental health and medical history including any current or past issues of domestic violence, substance misuse or mental health problems;
    4. Their family relationships and the composition of their household, including particulars of:
      1. The identity of all other members of the household, including their age and the nature of their relationship with the connected person and with each other, including any sexual relationship;
      2. Any relationship with any person who is a parent of C;
      3. Any relationship between C and other members of the household;
      4. Other adults not being members of the household who are likely to have regular contact with C; and
      5. Any current or previous domestic violence between members of the household, including the connected person.
    5. Their family history, including:
      1. Particulars of their childhood and upbringing including the strengths and difficulties of their parents or other persons who cared for them;
      2. Their relationships with their parents and siblings, and their relationships with each other;
      3. Their educational achievement and any specific learning difficulty or disability;
      4. A chronology of significant life events; and
      5. Particulars of other relatives and their relationships with C and the connected person.
    6. Particulars of any criminal offences of which they have been convicted or in respect of which they have been cautioned;
    7. Their past and present employment and other sources of income; and
    8. The nature of the neighbourhood in which their home is situated and resources available in the community to support C and the connected person.


Appendix 2: Regulation 24 Assessment Template

Click here to view Assessment of a Carer Connected to a Child for Temporary Approval as a Friends & Family Foster Carer Form.


Appendix 3: Additional Information for full Friends & Family or SGO Assessment

Click here to view Further information for assessment of a carer connected to a child for full approval as a Friends & Family Foster Carer.


Appendix 4: Friends & Family and SGO Assessment Template

Click here to view the Assessment of Family & Friends and Other People Connected to the Child Template Form.

End