ISLINGTON CHILDREN SOCIAL CARE
FAMILY AND FRIENDS CARE POLICY
& Information About Support Services
4.1 Informal family and friends arrangements
4.2 Private fostering arrangements
4.3 Family and friends foster care
4.4 Residence Orders
4.5 Special Guardians
4.6 Adoption Orders
Provision of financial support
Supporting contact with parents
Family Group Conferences
This policy document describes Islington Council’s roles and r
esponsibilities in supporting children who are cared for by
friends or extended families.
describes the importance of
in caring for their children
early with preventative services. Early intervention and preventative se
rvices are explained in the context of
Universal provision and more Targeted and Specialist services which may be available to children who
assessment have additional or complex needs.
(All targeted and specialist services available to child
ren and their parents
are also available to family and friends carers).
The legal framework in which children are cared for by family and friends is
summarized. This is
followed by a
description of the different types of informal and formal care arrangem
ents in which children can be looked after by
family and friends. T
concludes with a
of the possible financial support that may be made available in
Family and friends care covers a wide range of family s
olutions where birth parents cannot look after their ch
These arrangements include informal
to child care
such as one off day care or babysitting
Private Fostering arrangements,
friends and family foster
care and the use
Residence Orders, Special Guardianship
Orders or adoption by birth relatives. Across the UK, 300, 000 carers are estimated to offer these
, the priority
for children and therefore Children’s Services
is to prevent family b
reakdown and crisis by
intervening early through individualised care planning for
supporting parents to car
e for their children.
priority shapes Islington Council’s strategy when engaging and supporting vulnerable families. The Co
policy is also
carers and find permanent solutions
parents or carers are unable to provide a good
enough standard of care
for a child without t
term involvement of Islington Children’s Social Care.
Islington Children Social Care
children and young people, family and
carers and parents.
has applied the Department
Family and Friends Care
Guidance for Local Authorities
has also considered research notably
Hunt and Waterhouse (2009 & 2008) and Hunt (2008 and 2011)
design of service provision.
A summary of findings from these
consultations, showing how their views have informed
can be found in
The managers with overall responsibility for this policy are Susanna Daus and Gavin Swann
, Operational Managers
Children Looked After Placements and Children
in Need respectively.
This policy is
and made freely and widely available.
and Information About
The Local Authority
the key principles as laid out in the Children Act 1989. In particular:
The paramount nature
of children's welfare and
best interests will alwa
ys be at the centre of the work undertaken
. With this in mind the Local Authority is committed to the development of prevention and
early intervention s
It is a fundamental principle that c
hildren should live within their families unless this is not consistent with their welfare.
We will therefore work to maintain c
ldren within their own families
services to support
wherever this is consistent with the c
hild's safety and well
applies to all children in
including those who are looked after by the local authority.
Where a child might be in local authority care attempts
will be made t
o rehabilitate the child to a parent or within the extended family.
a child cannot live within his or her
support parents who need assistance to
identify potential carers within the
child’s network of family
who are able and willing to care for the child,
on a permanent basis
where this is in the child’s best interest.
Islington Council is committed to ensuring that every child achieves their full potential and that intervention by th
Council’s Children’s Services leads to improved outcomes for children.
Islington Council also has a Section 17 Policy which outlines the provision and access to Family Support Services
rly intervention and preventative services
hildren and families can be found in the following
Islington’s vision is that every family can quickly get the advice and support they need at different stages of their lives.
Many families seek and receiv
e advice and support from family, friends and neighbours. They may need advice from a
professional as well now and then, but this will
prefer to get
that support from someone they know
and trust in
their local area; for example;
their GP, a professional at school or in
the local children’s centre.
All families need support and advice at some stage as their children grow up. For many families, this will be at times
when their lives are changing: a n
ew baby has arrived or their children are going through a change, for example, from
primary to secondary school
or from child to adulthood. Unexpected events can affect families such as
: a parent loses
their job, a relationship breaks down, a family member
gets sick or unexpected financial pressures mean that they fall
into arrears with their rent or mortgage payments or take on a debt that they cannot manage.
In these situations
children and families may require targeted services.
Examples of universal s
ude; access to a GP, access to
Education and other Local Authority Services. For further information please contact; Contact Islington 02075272000
Contacting Islington Council
Minicom: 020 7527 1900
Fax: 020 7527 500
222 Upper Street
London N1 1XR
For details on how to get to Contact Islington, click the Visiting Our Offices link on the left side of this page.
for telephone, fax and email:
front office counter for visitors in person:
Video Call Centre
5pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank and public holidays)
Islington's Family Information Service (FIS) gives free, impartial information, advice and guidance about services fo
children, young people and families. You can contact the FIS on 020 7527 5959 and find further information at
ton’s aim is to find families in difficulty early and help them to
nip problems in the bud
. Research has shown that
getting involved early to encourage social and emotional development can significantly improve
outcomes for children
by supporting their
mental and physical health, educational attainment and employment opportunities.
also has implication of other ‘outcome measures’ for example it
can also help to prevent criminal
behaviour (especially violent behaviour), d
rug and alcohol misuse, teenage pregnancy and homelessness. Conversely,
waiting for problems to take root and reacting late costs
the tax payers billions of pounds.
Some parents are more vulnerable to life’s challenges
. They may have a baby
at a young age and find it
difficult to cope with the changes that brings. They may have longer standing problems: a parent’s illness
mental health problems may
can be compounded by use of dru
alcohol as a coping mechanism. Families
who are particularly isolated, perhaps because English is not their first
language or because they don’t have strong local networks of friendship and support, often struggle. For families with a
low income, i
n which no
one is working or has the formal qualifications that will help them to get a job, these pressures
can also be
have multiple problems need the same sort of local, trusted support and that support must be delivered in
way that they can make best use of it.
Local services in Islington are designed to provide local support
communities to improve local outcomes
dren centres offer
services to parents as well as children
as this improves
outcomes for children
. Parents can access support to return to work or education, can seek advice about housing or debt
problems and can attend local parenting classes and parenting groups. For some children and parents a family support
worker will be allocated to coordinate a
package of support. For families with school age children
Islington’s new Family
Outreach Support Service is designed to provide
similar support where a dedicated worker guided by a multi
will offer a variety of services (such as benefit, empl
oyment and education advice),
, such as health and education
Targeted services for families can include part time nursery placements for children aged 2 years of age (or younger
depending on need). All
ren under 5 and their parents are encouraged to attend their local children centre where
they will find a range of services and supports.
A wide range of services and support for school aged children and their families can be accessed through one of
Family Outreach Support Service
for children and young people
their parents cope with the pressures of modern life in central London
Targeted Youth Support and Family Outreach
contacting the Family Information
The Referral a
nd Advice S
, (Islington Children Social Care)
provides information and guidance
to families and
professionals where concerns exist about the welfare of children. Families can, where appropriate, be directed to local
s their local children centre or Family Outreach Support Service
. If a child or young
person has a disability then the integrated Disabled Children’s Service offers a single point of contact and referral for a
range of information and advice, positive acti
vities, specialist family support and a social work service where further
assessment may be required.
Specialist Support to Children and Families
Where family problems are
children will be assessed
by a Social Worker, if the assessment
identifies that a
child or young person will be unlikely to maintain a reasonable standard of health or development
without the provision
a social worker will be allocated to provide formal support
. This support can take many forms.
few examples of the potential support
a family can receive depending on the type of need. Children under 5
years of age may be entitled to an Early Years Priority place within a Children Centre or access to a child minder
ill improve the life chances of children.
The social worker can also access specific services from local children
centres such as
priority nursery places,
parenting supporting, breasting feeding clubs and fathers’ groups
improve outcomes for child
. Other examples of services social workers can access for children and families
Access to a specialist family support worker
Access to Community Adolescent Mental Health Services
espite and short term breaks
to meet asses
with severe and complex
services in relation to
drug and alcohol misuse, domestic violence and specialist mental health services
Access to specialist local support services
en and families from
diverse ethnic and cultural
The allocated social worker will design, coordinate and review a
plan with the child, parents and
professional support services to resolve the family’s difficulties as early as possible
The allocated social worker will
work openly and in partnership with children and families as well as work with other professional agencies such as
Health and Education Services, Police and other agencies to ensure we all work together for the best interes
children and their families.
Parents and carers are also supported by
the local authority
to return to education or
the allocated social worker will ensure parents have access to agencies such as
Islington Working for Parents,
020 7527 4486
the Family Information Service
www.islington.gov.uk/fis 0207 527 5
Adult Community Learning
The Referral and Advice Team, Islington Children Social Care
can be contacted in the following ways:
An appointment can be made to see a soc
ial worker at 222 Upper Street, London, N1 1XR
. The nearest
transport links are: National Rail: Highbury and Islington; Underground: Highbury and Islington and Angel. Buses 43,
19, 30, 4.
You can speak to a social worker by calling the Refer
ral and Advice Service on 02075277400. The opening hours are
Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
If you have an emergency out of office hours then telephone the Emergency Duty Service on: 02072260992.
You can also speak to the Whittington Hospital Ch
ildren’s Social Work team on 02072885260. Textphone and
minicom is; 02075277100.
You can email us at
(If you are worried about the immediate safety of a child, call th
e police on 999).
All of these support services are also available to family and friends carers.
More information can be found at
Islington Disabled Children’
is based at Northern Health Centre 58 Holloway Road N7 7LB
for general information and advice
enquire about activities and breaks on
020 7527 8611
, contact the
referral team on
020 3316 1882 or where there may be concern that a disabled
child is at risk of harm then
Social Work Duty Team on 020 7527 3366 or e ma
SMART means; Simple,
Manageable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely
Supporting families to resolve their difficult
Social workers within Islington Children’s Social Care
will provide children and families with a
range of supports
and services. Social workers
will assist ch
ildren and families during crisi
s make the right decisions and they will
children safe. Social workers will listen to the needs of children and parents and then co
ordinate a multi
in order to improve the outcomes for children
Social Care will
or provide f
amily group conferences
an established way of supporting
extended families to find family led solutions.
With this in mind
he involvement of f
aternal family is
Evidenced based parenting
programmes such as Triple P
, Mellow Paren
and Caring Dads
are available for parents or friends and family carers
and can be accessed
following an assessment of need.
The local authority
undertake and make referrals for
more specialist assessments of childr
For further information about Family Group Conferences in Islington see:
Supporting families out of poverty
assist parents and carers to claim all benefits they are entitled to. Children
Social Care will ensure,
where poverty is a
factor, that families are referred
to the Income Maximisation Team
who can be found at
or 020 7527 860
. The Income Maximisation team
ensure that all parents and carers access their full benefit entitlements
as well as guide
carers to the Benefits
gency, which provides finance to families who are caring for a child. The range of benefits curr
ently available include
child benefit, eligibility for D
, inclusion of the child in housing benefit, council tax benefit,
child tax credit or working families
lanned benefit changes are likely from 2012
support to manage these changes by contacting their local j
tre or by contacting Islington W
orking for Parents on
th severe drug, alcohol misuse and mental health problems
Islington Children Social Care
offer specialist interventions and more intensive interventions
, depending on assessed
older children where behaviour is causing s
concern, the Adolescent Multi Agency S
provides intensive help to children an
d their parents or carers
. To support young people and their families to address
issues of adolescent drug and alcohol misu
Islington Young People’s Drug and Alcohol S
has been established.
a comprehensive service across universal
such as at children
centres and local schools
as well as providing
Islington Children Social Care
support to families
The Family Drug and Alcohol Court
is a specialist court service dealing with applications for care orders or
supervision orders in situations where children have suffered, or are at risk of suffering, significant harm
linked to their
parents’ substance abuse.
It is important to note that FDAC is a recent project and it only has capacity to assist in a small
proportion of these cases due to resource limitations.
Islington’s strategic direction
is committed to the principle of
. Fairness by
eliminating Child Poverty
fairness in equality of
opportunity for children to improve their outcomes,
providing a tiered approach to family support
children needing to become looked a
fter where families ha
ve multiple problems), through the inclusion of fathers and
the paternal extended family in the care of children and for children and families who have diverse needs who are
entitled to equal treatment.
s Children and Young Peoples
lan prioritises the needs of
fter and vulnerable children. If children
do become looked af
ter, Islington prioritises pe
family and friends care
, where possible. This is
individualised care plans which
may be supported through
residence orders, special guardianship, or
adoption by family and
arrangements, in which children can be
cared for by extended family and
friends, and the types of support that
hildren Social Care may provide are described
in sections 4 and 5.
Comprehensive needs assessments, performance evaluation and pla
cement profiling all mon
itor whether the C
services are meeting the needs of children, parents and family and friends carers. Council members provide leadership
through the Corporate Parenting Board which monitors the Children’s plans and champions
looked after children.
Islington Safeguarding Children Board takes an overview and has endorsed Islington Council’ s protocol for family and
friends’ care and the involvement of children’s fathers. See Islington
Council’s pledge to fathers
1. Children in Need
ocal authorities have a general duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of
within their area
, so far as is consistent with that duty,
promote the up
bringing of such children by their families
by providing a
range of services appropriate to those children’s needs
(section 17 Children Act 1989)
(See section 2
for a guide to these
available support services).
This can include financial, p
ractical or other support.
Child in Need
is defined as a child who is
disabled or who is
unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of
health or development without the provision of services by the local authority
(See Appendix D, Legal Fra
further information about Children in Need under the Children Act 1989).
who are not living with their parents, but with family or friends carers, will be children in need.
important to note that local authorities do n
ave a duty to
where children are living
with their wider family or friends network
rather than their parents
, unless it appears to the authority that services may
necessary to safeguard or promote the welfare of a
need within their ar
or it is a private fostering
The difference between info
and formal arrangements is
hildren should not
(see paragraph 2.19 of
he local authority
provide services to a f
riends and family carer to prevent the need for a chi
become looked after
is the most appropriate way to safeguard and promote the child
Provision of Accom
Sometimes, children who cannot live with their parents will
“looked after” by the local authority.
be placed with a
family and friends carer. Below is a summary of when children w
ill be looked after
by the local authority, and what the local authority must do in respect of exploring options for placing such children with
family or friends carers.
A child will be “looked after” by the local authority if:
1) they are accommodated by
the local authority under section 20
Children Act 1989
they are a child in need and
appear to require accommodation for specific reasons
2) if they are subject to a “care order” made by the court, granting the local authority shared parental respon
For further information about : a) the criteria for providing accommodation to a child under section 20 Children Act 1989,
and b) the threshold criteria for making a care order in respect of a child, see Appendix D, “The Legal Frame
The local authori
ty has certain duties to Looked A
. This includes
a duty to make arrangements for a looked
after child to live
their parents (or other persons with parental responsibility)
nly where doing so would be
ent with the child’s welfare and would be reasonably practicable. For a child subject to a care order to be placed
back with their parents, certain requirements must be fulfilled, which are set out in the Care Planning Placement and
Case Review (England)
(“the Placement Regulations”).
e local authority is unable to support
a looked after
other person with parental
it must place the child in the most appropriate placement availab
with a preference given
the child with a person who is a relative, friend or other person connected with the child, and who is also a local
authority approved foster carer.
For a detailed summary of meaning and implication
s of different legal
the rights of carers
the rights of
and the nature of decisions
which family and friends carers will be able to make in relation to the child, please
‘Caring for Somebody’s Child
for further information abo
ut the legal duties in respect of placing looked after children with family or friends,
see Appendix D, “The Legal Framework”.
explains the different situations where children may be living with friends and family carers, the legal
of such situations and eligibility for financial support from the local authority.
For the purpose of this pol
, the definition of a
: “a rela
tive, friend or other person with a
r connection with somebody else
child who is caring for that child full time”
(which is the same definition given in
the Statutory Guidance at paragraph 1.7)
two categories of family care
include, for example,
informal arrangements or private fostering arrangements
the family have arranged for the child
child is looked after by the
and friends care arrangements
Where a child cannot be cared for within his or her immediate family,
the family may make their own
arrangements to care for the child within the family and friends network.
arrangement where a child is living with a family and friends
carer who does not have parental responsibility for
as this may be applicable if the child is being cared for by a friend of
amily for longer than 28 days
. References to “informal arrangements” in this
guidance do not include
private fostering arrangements (explained below) or
rrangements where the child is
fter by the Local
for adoption, o
r subject to a Residence or a Special Guardianship O
The legislation which governs
arrangements does not apply to an informal arrangemen
However children living in informal family and
friends care arrangements may receive priority fo
r targeted services to support better outcomes.
The local authority does not have a duty to assess
informal family and friends care arrangements, unless it appears
to the authority that services may be necessary to safeguard or promote the welfare of
a Child in Need
In such cases, the local authority has a responsibility
ection 17 of the Children Act 1989 to assess the child’s
needs and provide services to meet
any assessed needs
if any needs are ident
Need Plan will be drawn up and a
package of support
to meet those needs
and to improve the child’s
This can comprise a variety of different
types of services and support as identified in section 2
ate fostering arrangements
privately fostered child is a child who is aged under the age of 16 (under 18 if the child is disabled) and who is cared
for, and provided with accommodation by someone other than:
a person who is not a p
arent but who has parental responsibility for the
a relative of the child.
, for the purpose of the legal definition of a privately fostered child, is
a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent
. Any caring arrangement wi
th such a relative will not be a private fostering arrangement
child can be
privately fostered by a more distant relative
, such as a cousin or great aunt
, and by family friends
privately fostered unless the carer has accommodate
, or intends to accommodate,
the child for 28 days or
Examples of private fostering arrangements are varied and
Children with parents overseas
Children/young people living with host families for a variety of reasons i.e. attending lang
undergoing medical treatment
Unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children
Local children living apart from their parents: i.e. adolescents estranged from their families
satisfy themselves that
he welfare of children who are
privately fostered within
their area is
satisfactorily safeguarded and promoted
In doing so,
when notified of priv
ate fostering arrangements, local
authorities must do certain things including
visiting the premises
where the child is accommodated and speaking to the
child and private foster carer. Those proposing to enter into a private fostering arrangement must notify the local
authority at least six weeks before the arrangement is due to commence (or immediately
if commencing sooner than six
weeks). Those already involved in a private fostering arrangement must notify the local authority immediately.
When a child is subject to a private fostering arrangement they are allocated a social worker and are regularly
ensure the suitability of the private fostering arrangement. Private foster carers are entitled to training by the Local
in managing behaviour and
to access benefit entitlements.
he social worker will also ensure the
e receiving support and services from the volun
tary sector and universal services such as Health, Education and
Depending on the circumstances, a
child who is privately fostered may be assessed as a child in need and
provided with support under s
ection 17 Children Act 1989, as with children who are subject to informal arrangements,
Family and Friends Foster Care
Where a child is looked after by the Local Authority, the Local Authority has a responsibility wherever possible to make
gements for the child to live with a member of the family or friend, who is approved as a foster parent.
Authority will, where possible, safe and practicable attempt to rehabilitate the child to a parent,
(see section 3.2 above,
and Appendix D, “
The Legal Framework”).
Approval of Family and Friends Carers as Local Authority Foster Parents
Before any placement of a looked after child can be made with a family or friends foster carer, they must be approved as
a foster carer under the Foster
ing Services (England) Regulations 2011 (“the Fostering Regulations”).
placements can be made on a temporary basis under Regulation 24 of the Care Planning, Placement and Review
(England) Regulations 2010 (“the Placement Regulations”), with the
approval of the Local Authority’s nominated officer.
A temporary placement can be made in this way for a maximum of 16 weeks whilst a careful assessment is made by
social workers of the arrangement and the suitability of the prospective foster carers to l
ook after the particular child or
In certain exceptional circumstances, that temporary approval can be extended for up to 8 weeks.
approvals of family and friends foster carers are further explained in Appendix D, “The Legal Framework
In the Placement Regulations, the carer is referred to as a ‘Connected Person’. The process of obtaining approval for the
placement is set out in the Local Authority’s Placement with Connected Persons Procedure. Where temporary approval is
given to such
a placement under the procedure, the carers will receive financial support on a regular basis.
The case must be considered at the Children’s Placement Panel within 2 weeks of the placement or in advance if this is
not an emergency.
A Family Plus social
worker will work closely with the family and friends carer to undertake an assessment of their
This will include discussions with all prospective family and friends carers about any criminal convictions.
All prospective friends and family
foster carers must give permission for checks to be undertaken, Criminal Records
Bureau checks made and a Foster Care Agreement entered into, agreeing to the Council’s foster care terms. The
placement will be considered by the Fostering Panel in terms of i
ts suitability for the child and a decision will be made by
the Agency Decision Maker . The Agency decision maker makes the final decision about approval of foster carers, taking
into account the recommendations of the fostering panel and the needs of the
The full assessment and approval process for family and friends who apply to be foster carers for a specific Looked After
child will be the same as for any other foster carer except that the timescales for the assessment are different where a
is already in the placement as indicated above. An information leaflet will be available to potential foster carers
about the process and they will be given the name and contact details of the social worker from the Family plus team of
the Fostering Servi
ce allocated to carry out the assessment
The Statement of Purpose for the
fostering service is available on
Once approved, friends and family foster carers must be notifi
ed in writing of this fact and of any terms of the approval.
The approved family and friends foster carer will have to enter into a foster care agreement.
They will be allocated a
supervising social worker from the fostering service to provide them with
support and supervision; and they will receive
fostering allowances for as long as they care for the child as a foster carer.
If the Agency Decision Maker does not approve the carer as a local authority foster parent, after the full assessment
he friends and family carer may either:
a) accept the decision;
b) appeal to the Agency Decision Maker;
c) apply for a review to the Independent Review Mechanism, which is set up by the Secretary of State and run by the
British Association for Adop
tion and Fostering (“BAAF”) http://www.baaf.org.uk .
Where a family and friends carer seeks a review of a negative decision and a child has already been temporarily placed
with them, , the local authority may extend the temporary placement until the outc
ome of the review is known.
deciding whether to extend the temporary placement in this way, the local authority must first:
a) consider whether placement is still the most appropriate placement available,
b) seek the views of the local authority’s
fostering panel, and
inform the Independent Reviewing Officer
Any decision to extend temporary approval must be approved by the Local Authority’s nominated officer.
In addition the child will have a Placement Plan which sets out the specific arrangeme
nts surrounding the child and the
carers including the expectations of the foster carers and the support they can expect to receive to enable to fulfil their
responsibilities for the child.
4.3.2 Support and Advice for Family and Friends Foster Carers
ll foster children will be visited by their social worker every 28 days within the first year but intervals may be longer if
this is agreed by a manager.
There is a statutory requirement that foster children will be visited by the social worker
first week of their placement and a minimum of every six weeks within the first year.
Where children have
been placed with a family and friend carer under temporary approval, the social worker must visit once a week until the
is held and then a minimum
of every month after that.
Friends and family foster carers will receive specialist supervision and support from the Family Plus team and the child
will have their own social worker. Friends and family foster ca
rers are invited to their own special support group which
offers mutual support and guidance and helps them to complete their specialist training and development standards
portfolio identified by the Children
s Workforce Development Council, (CWDC) within
18 months of their first fostering
Family and friends foster carers are invited to the same training as non related foster carers and invited to all fostering
events. Friends and family carers are encouraged to attend training on positive behavi
our management such as
Strengthening families, Triple P or Fostering Changes to help them to meet the children’s needs. If friends and family
foster carers live far away from Islington, arrangements will be made for them to attend training in their local a
The Fostering National Minimum Standards 2011, set out some Child Focused Standards (Standards 1
These set out
how children should be cared for.
These standards place some expectations on foster carers, and fostering services are
support and supervise foster carers to meet those standards.
The requirements under the Fostering Regulations apply to all family and friends foster carers such as ;
record keeping, disclosing medical records, keeping the child healthy and sa
fe, attending children’s and carers review
meetings, completing their own CWDC portfolio and ensuring that CRB disclosures for all household members have been
Carers will be visited regularly by social workers for the child and the fostering
service including unannounced visits.
Specialist help for children will be given through the Health and Virtual school teams, through Personal Education and
Personal Health Plans and the carer may not make their own decisions for example changing a child’s
school as this may
be subject to further regulations.
While the child remains a looked after child, as a foster child, the foster carers will be expected to cooperate with all the
processes that are in place to ensure that the child receives appropriate
care and support, for example, contributing to
reviews of the child’s Care Plan and attending statutory reviews of the child’s care plan, cooperating with the child’s
social worker and Independent Reviewing Officer and promoting the child’s education and h
Friends and family foster carers in social housing may also be entitled to be further assessed for larger properties.
It may be that steps are taken to make a family and friends foster care arrangement permanent, via a residence order,
ial guardianship order or adoption.
These types of legal order are explained below.
Where a family and friends carer of a child was looked after wishes to make a temporary arrangement permanent and is
not eligible for public funded legal advice and repre
sentation, he or she may apply to ICSC for assistance with the costs of
legal advice and representation
n accordance with Islington’s Financial Support in Caring for Children Policy.
Friend’s carers of a child who was not looked after but wou
ld have been had the carer not stepped in quickly
to care for
the child may also apply
under the exceptional circumstances provision
in that policy.
4.4 Residence Orders
A Residence Order is a Court Order which gives parental responsibility to the person
in whose favour it is made, usually
lasting until the child is 18. It is made under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 and is defined as an order that settles th
arrangements to be made as to where the child will live.
It enables the person in whose fav
our the residence order is
made to share parental responsibility with the child’s parent(s).
Relatives may apply for a residence order after caring for
the child for one year, or if they have obtained the leave of the court.
See Appendix D, “The Legal Fr
amework”, for a
summary of when a person may apply for a residence order.
Residence Orders may be made in private family proceedings in which the local authority is not a party nor involved in
any way in the arrangements. However, a residence order in fa
vour of a friend or family foster carer with whom a looked
after child is placed may be an appropriate outcome as part of a permanence plan..
Residence Orders are also a way to provide someone who is not a legal parent of a child with
unmarried new partner
("joint residence order"),
ne parent’s former partner, who is not a legal parent of the child, but with whom the child spends regular time
(shared residence order),
The biological father of a child who is
with a lesbian couple in circumstances where he i
legally the father
(or the mother’s partner if she is not legally the other pa
More than one person can be granted a residence order and these are called
Joint Residence Orders.
4.5 Special Guardianship Order
Special Guardianship orders are made under section 14A of the Children Act 1989. As with residence orde
rs, a Special
Guardianship Order grants parental responsibility to the person in whose favour the order is
made (“the Special
The key difference is that while parental responsibility is shared with those other people who also have
the Special Guardian can exercise parental responsibility to the exclusion of those other people.
This means that the Special Guardian’s parental responsibility will “trump” the parental responsibility of others.
differences between a S
pecial Guardianship order and a residence order are:
A Special Guardian can, with leave of the court or with the written consent of every other person with parental
responsibility, change the child’s surname;
A Special Guardian can take a child out of th
e country for a pe
riod of less than three months.
The order lasts until the child is 18, unless the court discharges it earlier. A Special Guardian can be a guardian or a
relative, family friend or previous foster carer for the child who is aged 18 or ov
The circumstances in which people
are able to apply for Special Guardianship Orders is set out in Appendix D, “The Legal Framework”.
Special Guardianship offers a further option for children needing permanent care outside their birth family. It can
greater security and permanence, without the degree of severance from the birth family as in adoption. Special
Guardianship Orders may be made in private family proceedings and the local authority may not be a party to any such
legal proceedings. How
ever, a Special Guardianship Order in favour of a relative or foster carer
with whom a child is
living or with whom the local authority recommends a child should live may be an appropriate outcome as part of a
permanence plan for a looked after child.
here the child was looked after by the local authority immediately prior to the making of the Special Guardianship
Order, the local authority has a responsibility to assess the support needs of the child, parents and Special Guardians,
including the need f
or financial support. Islington may offer financial support to Special Guardians in circumstances
where the child was looked after immediately before being cared for under the Special Guardianship Order, or in other
specific circumstances, see Section 5.3,
4.6 Adoption Order
Adoption is the process by which all parental rights and responsibilities for a child are permanently transferred to an
adoptive parent by a court. As a result the child legally becomes part of the adoptive family, with full i
More information about Islington Adoption Service, including the Adoption Service’s Statement of Purpose, is available
on the local authority’s website at Islington.gov.uk/adoption.
Islington Adoption Service provides a range of adopt
ion support services.
The Adoption Service will also undertake
assessments of the need for adoption support services at the request of the adopted child, adoptive parents and their
families, as well as birth relatives. The support required is then set out
in an Adoption Support Plan and this may include
Provision of financial support
5.1. Informal Arrangements and Private Fostering
Parents will retain the responsibility for maintaining their children placed with informal friends and family carers, or
under private fostering arrangements.
Sometimes those carers may experience financial difficulties as a result of taking
on the care of somebody else’s child(ren).
Informal family and friend carers can find out about their entitlements to
and other allowances by contacting the Income Maximisation Team
http://www.islington.gov.uk/directories/incomemaximisation or 020 7527 8600
The local authority has a discretion under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 to provide finan
cial support to an informal
family or friends carer, if the child has been assessed as a Child in Need..
Depending on the circumstances of each case,
the local authority may provide a one
off payment to deal with a crisis, a payment in relation to some se
tting up costs
(such as furniture, clothing or bedding) or more regular (e.g. weekly) contributions.
If regular contributions are made by
the Local Authority, they are expected to be time
limited, save for exceptional circumstances.
Where regular payment
are made, family and friend carers should be assisted to maximise their Income/Benefit as regular payments may
adversely affect an individual’s claim to income support.
In all cases where regular financial support is agreed, a written agreement will be
drawn up detailing the reason for
providing the financial support and the level and duration for which it is to be paid, and the mechanism for review.
The following criteria will be applied to all such payments:
The purpose of the payments must be to s
afeguard and promote the welfare of a child identified as being in
need, to meet an assessed need.
Before giving any assistance or imposing any
conditions, a local authority shall have regard to
of the child concerned and either of his parents
As part of the assessment, a view should be taken as to whether the carers need financial support based on
their reasonable requirements in taking on the care of the child
Such payments must not replace other sources of income such as welfare benefits o
r maintenance payments
that are reasonably recoverable from a parent (except in emergencies for example pending an application for
welfare benefits or an application for enforcement of a
maintenance agreement with or order against the
Payments will be paid to the carer, not the parents
The payment would not place any person in a fraudulent position
The payment will be in line with DSS rates for income support
There will be a written agreement drawn up detailing the level and duration
of support and the mechanism for reviewing
Friends and family who are caring for children subject to private arrangements may apply for financial
assistance by contacting the child
s social worker or the Children in Need service if there is
no allocated social worker.
For further information about discretionary section 17 payments, see Islington’s Section 17 Policy.
5.2 Fostering Allowances
Friends and family foster carers may not claim benefits in respect of a looked after child that they
are caring for, but will
be eligible for fostering allowances. Maintenance allowances are paid by Islington’s Fostering Service, which exceed the
Government’s national minimum allowances.
The council may help with setting up costs such as, for example, i
prospective carers do not have a bed for the child. If friends and family carers attend the same comprehensive skills
based training courses as non related foster carers and comply with all the same terms,
uding the introductory Skills
they may be entitled to higher placement and training allowances.
Family and friends foster carers can
access information about fostering allowances
on the councils fostering website.
5.3 Permanent arrangements for children under residence orders
, Special Guardianship and Adoption orders
As with other family and friends care arrangements where the child is a Child in Need, the local authority may consider
off payments under section 17 Children Act 1989 to meet a particular cost e.g. setting u
p costs if there is no bed. The
local authority may also exercise its discretion to assist the carer in making an application to court to formalise the carin
arrangements in certain circumstances (see Financial Support in Caring for Children Policy
Residence Order Allowances
The local authority has a discretion to pay residence order allowances.
The local authority will generally only consider
paying residence order allowances where the child was, immediately before the making for the residence
after by the local authority.
In exceptional circumstances, the local authority may consider paying a residence order allowance where the caring
arrangement leading to the making of the residence order was an alternative to the child becom
ing looked after (for
example, where a residence order is made at an interim stage in care proceedings).
.Payments may not be made to
parents with residence orders.
Requests for a residence order allowances in these or any other exceptional
may only be determined by the Director of Child Protection
, and will be in line with DSS rates
Carers will be subject to a financial
determining whether a residence order allowance will be paid, and, if
so, what level of allowance will be
All allowances will be reviewed annually
Special Guardians and Adoptive Parents
The Local Authority is able to provide financial support to some Special Guardians, depending on eligibility, in accordance
with the Special Guardianship Regulatio
ns 2005 and the Local Authority’s special guardianship policy (
). The latter
sets out the circumstances in which a Special Guardian (or prospective special guardian) would be eligible for an
assessment of need for financial support.
If the Special Gua
rdian meets these criteria, a financial assessment is
Adoptive parents may be provided with financial support in certain circumstances under the Adoption Support Services
Regulations 2005 subject to an assessment.
In both cases, support may
be regular or one
Guardianship and adoption payments are equivalent to the fostering core allowance.
allowances are reviewed annually and will be adjusted according to the carer’s changes in income.
ardianship allowances cease when the young person:
a) ceases to have a home with the Special Guardian; or
b) ceases full
time education or training and commences employment; or
c) qualifies for income support or jobseeker’s allowance in their own right; o
d) attains the age of 18 ( there is a discretion to continue the support if the young person continues in full
education until the end of the course or training they are undertaking.
Further information is available in a document entitled Financia
l support in Caring for children,
The authority works with landlords to ensure that, whenever possible,
family and friends carers living in social housing
are given appropriate priority to move to more suitable accommodation if this w
ill prevent the need for a child to
become looked after.
Details of services and entitlements regarding Housing provision available via Islington Council can
be located on the councils website.
Supporting contact with parents
Where a child in need in
its area is not looked after, but is living away from home, Islington Council is required to take
such steps that are reasonably practicable to promote contact between the child and his/her family ‘where it is
necessary to do so in order to safeguard and
promote his or her welfare’ (Schedule 2, paragraph 10 Children Act 1989).
As part of the support arrangements, it may be identified that specific assistance is required to ensure that any such
contact can be managed safely. If necessary, information
e made available to family and friends carers about
local contact centres and family mediation services, and how to make use of their services.
Further information and
services about arranging contact between, children, their parents and friends and famil
y can be found on
or 0207 527 5959 or
Where a child is cared for by t
he Local Authority under a care order the Local Authority must allow the child reasonable
contact with their parents (section 34 Children Act 1989) unless the court authorises it to refuse contact, and for all
looked after children it must endeavour to pro
mote contact between the child and their family unless it is not practicable
or consistent with the child’s welfare (Schedule 2, paragraph 15 Children Act 1989). The overall objective of the contact
arrangements will be included in the child’s Care Plan an
d the specific arrangements will be set out in the child’s
see Contact with Parents and Siblings Procedure.
Family Group Conferences
Family Group Conferences are meetings held between professionals and family members, which aim to a
chieve the best
outcomes for children. They promote the involvement of the wider family to achieve a resolution of difficulties for
Children in Need, and may help to identify short
term and/or permanent solutions for children within the family
will offer a Family Group Conference or other form of family meeting at an early stage. If a child becomes Looked
After, perhaps following an emergency, without a Family Group Conference having been held, then (where appropriate)
we will arrange one as so
on as possible. Details about Family Group Conferences can be found at:
Where a family or friends carer is not satisfied with the level of support provided to enable them to care for the child,
then they have access to the local authority’s complaints process. Our aim would be to reso
lve any such dissatisfaction
without the need for a formal investigation but where an informal resolution is not possible, then a formal investigation
will be arranged.
The timescales and process are set out in the Complaints Procedure which can be located at:
Policy Approved by ………………………………………………
Caring for somebody else’s child
The Legal Framework1. Children in Need
Under section 17(1) of the Children Act 1989, local authorities have a general duty to safeguard and promote the
welfare of children in need in t
heir area and, so far as is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of
such children by their families, by providing a range of services appropriate to those children’s needs.
include financial, practical or other support to children
and also their families.
Schedule 2 of the Children Act 1989, is entitled “Local Authority Support to Children and Families”.
Part 1 of
Schedule 2 sets out specific duties and powers to enable local authorities to discharge their general duty to
rd and promote the welfare of children in need in their area.
Some of the specific duties under Schedule 2
are covered in Islington’s Section 17 Policy (check).
A “child in need” is defined in section 17(10) Children Act 1989, as follows:
“(a)he is unlik
ely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of
health or development without the provision for him of services by a local authority under this Part;
(b)his health or development is likely to be
significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for him of
such services; or
(c)he is disabled,
and “family”, in relation to such a child, includes any person who has parental responsibility for the child and any other
person with who
m he has been living.”
2. Looked After Children
2.1. Definition of a Looked After Child
Under s22(1) of the Children Act 1989, a child will be looked after by the local authority if they are:
a) accommodated by a local authority under section 20 of the C
hildren Act 1989; or
b) under a care order
2.2 Looked After Children who are accommodated under section 20 Children Act 1989
Under section 20(1) of the Children Act 1989, local authorities are under a duty to provide accommodation for a child in
n their area who appears to them to require accommodation as a result of:
“a) there being no person with parental responsibility for the child;
b) their being lost or having been abandoned;
c) the person who has been caring for him being prevented (whether
or not permanently, and for whatever reason) from
providing them with suitable accommodation or care.”
Before a local authority provides a child with accommodation under section 20, it must, so far as is reasonably
practicable and consistent with the chil
d’s welfare, ascertain and give due consideration to the child’s wishes and
feelings regarding the provision of accommodation (section 20(6)).
The local authority cannot provide a child with
accommodation under section 20 if:
a) a person with parental res
ponsibility for the child is willing and able to provide them with accommodation, or arrange
for accommodation to be provided to them; and
b) that person objects to the local authority providing accommodation.
However, if a child is 16 and agrees to be pr
ovided with accommodation, a local authority can do so under section 20.
2.3 Care Orders
The local authority may apply to the court for a care order if a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm,
which is attributable to:
a) the care g
iven to the child, or likely to be given to them if a care order was not made, not being what it would be
reasonable to expect a parent to give to him; or
b) the child’s being beyond parental control (section 31 Children Act 1989).
In care proceedings, the
court can make an “interim care order” (to cover the situation while the proceedings are
finalised) if there are reasonable grounds for believing that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm,
is attributable to:
a) the care giv
en to the child, or likely to be given to them if a care order was not made, not being what it would be
reasonable to expect a parent to give to him; or
b) the child’s being beyond parental control (section 38 Children Act 1989).
If a care order is made, t
he local authority will share parental responsibility for the child with those who already have
2.4 Duties to Place Looked After Children With Their Family Where Possible
Local authorities have certain duties to looked after chi
ldren, particularly those set out under sections 22
the Children Act 1989.
This includes a duty to make arrangements for a looked after child to live with:
a) their parents;
b) a person who is not a parent but who has parental responsibility; or
in a case where a residence order was in force prior to the making of a care order, the person in whose favour
the residence order was made
but only where doing so would be consistent with the child’s welfare and would be reasonably practicable
4) Children Act 1989)
For a child subject to a care order to be placed back with their parents, certain requirements must be fulfilled, which are
set out in the Care Planning Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010.
Where a local authority is
unable to place a looked after child with their parent, or other person with parental
responsibility or residence order, then it must place the child in the most appropriate placement available.
which placement is most appropriate, the local a
uthority must give a preference to placing the child with a person who is
a relative, friend or other person connected with the child, and who is also a local authority approved foster carer
(7) Children Act 1989).
Temporary Approval of Fa
mily and Friends Carers
Regulation 24 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations (England) 2010 (“the Placement
Regulations”) gives local authorities the power to temporarily approve family and friends carers as foster carers, so that
ildren can be immediately placed.
Local authorities must be satisfied that the most appropriate placement for the
child is with that carer and that it is necessary for the child to be placed with that carer while their suitability to be a
foster parent has been assessed.
Before making a temporary placement under Regulation 24, the local authority must assess the suitability of the
connected person to care for C, including the suitability of
the proposed accommodation, and
all other persons aged 18 and over who are members of the household in which it is proposed that C will live
(Regulation 24(1)(a)).In doing so, the local authority must take into account a number of factors (listed in Schedule 4
of the Placement Regulati
the quality of the existing relationship between the child and the carer and whether that carer has the capacity
to care for the child
The child’s wishes and feelings about the placement
There should be a visit to the carer’s home to co
nfirm whether the environment is suitable for the child
The quality of the relationships between the members of the household, family history and impact of the
proposed caring arrangements on the members of the household
Details of the carers’ health and
any history of substance misuse and/or domestic violence
Details of any criminal offences for which the carer has been convicted or cautioned
Details of the carer’s past and present employment and source of income
The neighbourhood in which the carers’
home is located and what resources are available in the community to
help support the carer and the child
In addition, the local authority must also do the following before making a temporary placement:
consider whether, in all the circumstances and ta
king into account the services to be provided by the
authority, the proposed arrangements will safeguard and promote the child’s welfare and meet the
child’s needs set out in the care plan (Regulation 24(1)(b)), and
make immediate arrangements for the sui
tability of the carer to be a local authority foster parent to be
assessed in accordance with Fostering Regulations 2011
before the temporary approval expires.
Temporary approval of a family and friend carer under Regulation 24 lasts for a maximum period
of 16 weeks.
It can be
extended in the following circumstances (under Regulation 25(1)):
a) If it is likely that the full assessment process to approve the carer as a local authority foster parent is unlikely to fi
before the temporary approval expir
es, for a maximum further period of 8 weeks.
b) If, having undergone the full assessment process, the carer is not approved and seeks a review of the decision by the
independent review mechanism, until the outcome of the review is known.
Before deciding wh
ether to extend the temporary approval the local authority must first:
consider whether placement is still the most appropriate placement available,
seek the views of the fostering panel, and
inform the Independent Reviewing Officer (R
A decision to extend temporary approval must be approved by the local authority’s nominated officer (Regulation
If the period of temporary approval and of any extension expires and the carer has not been approved as a local
ority foster parent then the local authority must terminate the placement after first making other arrangements
for the child’s accommodation (Regulation 25(6)).
When Can a Family and Friends Carer Apply For a Residence Order?
Under section 10 of the Chi
ldren Act 1989, a family and friends carer of a child can apply for a residence order in the
With the leave of the court, irrespective of the amount of time the child has resided with the carer;
If the carer is a relative and the
child has resided with them for a period of at least one year immediately prior to
If the carer is an approved local authority foster carer and the child has resided with them for a period of at
least one year immediately prior to the app
If the carer is not a relative or local authority foster parent but the child has resided with them for a period of at
least three years;
If the local authority consents, where the child is under a care order
With the consent of each person wh
o has parental responsibility for the child
When Can a Family and Friends Carer Apply For a Special Guardianship Orders?
Under section 14A of the Children Act 1989, a family and friends carer of a child can apply for a Special Guardianship
Order in the f
With the leave of the court;
If they are the guardian of the child;
If they have a residence order with respect to the child;
If the local authority consents, where the child is under a care order
If the carer is a relative and
the child has resided with them for a period of at least one year immediately prior to
If the carer is an approved local authority foster carer and the child has resided with them for a period of at
least one year immediately prior to the
If the carer is not a relative or local authority foster parent but the child has resided with them for a period of at
least three years;
With the consent of each person who has parental responsibility for the child;