These Regulations may be cited as the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review and Fostering Services (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013 and come into force on 1st July 2013.
These Regulations amend the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 ("the CPPCRR"), which make provision about care planning for looked after children (i.e. children who are looked after by a local authority, whether or not they are in the care of the local authority by virtue of a care order). They also amend the Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011 ("the FSR"), which provide a regulatory framework for fostering service providers and make provision about matters including the approval of foster parents by fostering service providers.
They insert a new regulation into the CPPCRR which provides for a person who is approved as a prospective adopter under the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005 to be temporarily approved as a local authority foster parent for a named looked after child. The effect of this amendment is that the child may be placed with that person, notwithstanding the person has not been fully approved as a local authority foster parent under the FSR, where the relevant local authority consider that the placement is in the child's best interests [regulation 3]. They also make minor consequential changes to the FSR.
They amend paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 to the CPPCRR to require that a child's placement plan (i.e. the plan prepared by the responsible local authority setting out how the placement, for example with a local authority foster parent or in a children's home, will contribute to meeting the child's needs) must set out the respective responsibilities of the child's parents, anyone else who has parental responsibility for them, and the responsible local authority. They require that the placement plan must identify any delegation of responsibility to make decisions about the child's care and upbringing to the local authority, the foster parent, or the manager of the children's home (as appropriate) [regulation 4].
They amend the process for foster parent assessment set out in the FSR, in particular by introducing a preliminary stage during which certain information is gathered about the prospective foster parent, and during which the prospective foster parent may be rejected if they are considered unsuitable, without the right to make written representations to the fostering service provider or to have their case reviewed under the Independent Review Mechanism. They also make changes to the information which the fostering service provider may, or must, obtain during this stage of the assessment. They also provide for the fostering service provider to produce a short form report on the applicant's suitability if it becomes apparent during the assessment process that the applicant is not suitable to become a foster parent [regulations 7 and 12].
They amend the FSR to enable the fostering service provider and an approved foster parent to agree a change in the foster parent's terms of approval [regulation 8] without delay.