Laws and guidance to comply in fostering services are as follows:


Children Act 1989 – the primary legislation governing looked after children and fostering services.

Care Standards Act 2000 – sets the regulatory and inspectoral regime and establishes National Minimum Standards.

Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 – the primary legislation governing services for care leavers.

  • Children Act 2004 – requires local authorities to promote educational achievement of looked after children.
  • Children and Young Persons Act 2008 – amends the Children Act 1989 regarding placement of looked after children, and strengthens visiting requirements and the role of the independent reviewing officer.
  • Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011 – regulate all fostering services, replacing the Fostering Services Regulations 2002.
  • Independent Review of Determinations (Adoption and Fostering) Regulations 2009 – extends the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) to fostering.
  • Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 – specify requirements for care plans and placement plans, placement decisions, monitoring and review of looked after children.
  • Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010 – designed to ensure that young people leaving care receive the same support that would be expected of any reasonable parent.
  • Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure (England) Regulations 2006 – regulate how local authorities (and some others) deal with representations made under the Children Act 1989, including those concerning the usual fostering limit.

Statutory guidance

  • Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards (2011) – replace the standards published in 2002.
  • Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 4: Fostering Services (2011) – contains the requirements set out by government to support local authorities, working with fostering service providers, in giving the best possible care and support to children in foster care. Replaces the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Family Placements (1991).
  • Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2010) – provides a central reference point for local authority work with looked after children.
  • Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers (2010) – statutory guidance on how to meet the requirements of the Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010.
  • The National Minimum Fostering Allowance and Fostering Payment Systems: Good Practice Guidance (2006) – government practice guidance, not statutory guidance.
  • IRO Handbook: Statutory Guidance for Independent Reviewing Officers and Local Authorities on their Functions in Relation to Case Management and Review for Looked After Children (2010) – guides independent reviewing officers in the discharge of their responsibilities towards looked after children, with the aim that they receive the support and services required to meet their full potential.
  • Sufficiency: Statutory Guidance on Securing Sufficient Accommodation for Looked After Children (2010) – explains the duty of local authorities to secure sufficient accommodation within their area to meet the needs of looked after children.
  • Short Breaks: Statutory Guidance on how to Safeguard and promote the Welfare of Disabled Children using Short Breaks (2010) – seeks to improve outcomes for disabled children through short breaks provision.
  • Promoting the Educational Achievement of Looked After Children: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities – statutory guidance which came into force in 2010.
  • Statutory Guidance on Promoting the Health and Well-being of Looked After Children – statutory guidance which came into force in 2009.
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children (revised 2010) – statutory and non-statutory guidance on how organizations and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
  • Family and Friends Care: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities (2011) – sets out a framework for the provision of support to family and friend’s carers, including the assessment and support of family and friends foster carers.
  • Statutory Guidance on Children Who Run Away or go Missing from Home or Care – came into force in 2009. There is also a summary for care workers and foster carers.
  • Getting the Best from Complaints: Social Care Complaints and Representations for Children, Young People and Others – statutory guidance relating to the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure (England) Regulations 2006.

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