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3.2 Temporary Care of a Child or Young Person by Someone Other than a Parent or Current Carer at the Request of Children's Social Care

This chapter provides information on the processes to be followed when Children’s Social Care require temporary care for a child for young person.


  1. Introduction
  2. Clarifying the Status of the Care Arrangements for the Child
  3. Issues to Consider
  4. The Viability Assessment Form

1. Introduction

On occasions a decision will be taken that a child or young person needs, in the judgment of Children’s Social Care, to be temporarily out of the care of their parents or current carers due to safeguarding concerns. Sometimes, such a decision is taken very quickly and in the context of an ongoing and fluid Child Protection / Section 47 Enquiry. On other occasions, it may be that support to maintain a child or young person at home no longer safeguards a child and a temporary alternative is required.

It is essential that, in every circumstance in which a child or young person moves from the care of the parent or carer at the request of the Local Authority, the status of the care arrangement for the child or young person is made clear to all those concerned. The status of the arrangement significantly impacts on the duties upon the Local Authority in relation to the child, parents and alternative carers.

2. Clarifying the Status of the Care Arrangements for a Child

Children in Care

The following care arrangements and/or legal status of the child will always result in a child or young person becoming Looked After:

  • All children who are subject to: a Care Order (Section 31, Children Act 1989), Interim Care Order (section 38, Children Act 1989) or Emergency Protection Order (Section 44, Children Act 1989) are looked after regardless of where or with whom they are placed because the Local Authority has acquired Parental Responsibility for the child;
  • In some instances, children and young people who have appeared before a Youth Court will be bailed to reside at the direction of the Local Authority - they will be Looked After if they are accommodated in Local Authority Foster Care or residential care but not Looked After if the decision is that they should remain living at home;
  • Children remanded to Local Authority Accommodation or Youth Detention Accommodation (see Placements in Foster Care Procedure);
  • Children who are subject to a Secure Accommodation Order (Section 25 Children Act 1989). These children are Looked After if the Local Authority is funding the cost of the secure placement. They are not Looked After if the young person is sentenced to reside in Secure Accommodation due to their offending (the Powers of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, sections 90-92), and the cost of the placement is funded by the Home Office;
  • Children accommodated under s.20 Children Act 1989 in Local Authority Foster Care, Independent Fostering Agency Foster Care or Residential Care.

Kinship Care Arrangements

Where parents (or those with Parental Responsibility) identify and put forward those who may be able to care temporarily for their children - often referred to as Kinship Care - the care arrangements do not ordinarily confer Children in Care status. Kinship care is usually ‘by way of family arrangement’ -that is, it is arranged by those with parental responsibility and approved by the Local Authority. It is the position of the Local Authority that Kinship Care arrangements are not the provision of accommodation by the Local Authority (falling within s.20(1)) in that the Local Authority does not make the arrangement but merely approves of it under its duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child (s.17 Children Act 1989).

Where a child is moved by way of family arrangement the child does not become a Child in Care. As a consequence:

  • A Children and Young People in Care Review does not need to be arranged;
  • The approval of the Viability Assessment prior to the move can be made by the relevant Service Manager and not by the Assistant Director;
  • The carers are not Connected Persons;
  • Regulation 24 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 does not apply (Therefore although the Local Authority may seek to support the care of a child by the viable carers, it does not have the same responsibilities to the carers as it does to all other Foster Carers, in particular payment of an allowance).

Exceptionally however, there will be occasions when the Local Authority is involved directly and explicitly in a care arrangement through arranging, negotiating and/or supporting Kinship Care. In such cases, the care arrangement may not be by way of family arrangement. Whilst this will require a determination upon the particular circumstances of the care arrangements, the Local Authority is bound to take into account R (on the application of G) (FC) (Appellant) v London Borough of Southwark (Respondents) [2009] UKHL 26 (commonly referred to as the ‘Southwark Judgment’) which provides that if it arranges, negotiates and supports a care arrangement the Local Authority has ‘provided accommodation’ under s.20 Children Act 1989 and the child or young person subject to the arrangement should be considered Looked After. Additionally, R on the app SA v KCC [2011] EWCA Civ 1303 (commonly referred to as the ‘Kent Judgment’) provides that a Local Authority should ensure that they support viable Kinship Carers (deemed Connected Persons) under Regulation 24 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010.

In these circumstances the following duties apply:

  • A completed Viability Assessment of the Carers will need to be approved by the Assistant Director, prior to the placement of a child with viable carers;
  • Regulation 24 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 applies. The Local Authority will have the same responsibilities to the carers as it does to all other Foster Carers, including the payment of a weekly allowance and the provision of support (an allocated Fostering Officer);
  • The carers become Connected Persons (see Placements with Connected Persons Procedure);
  • Within sixteen to twenty four weeks, the Connected Persons need to be approved by the Fostering Panel;
  • A Placement and Information Record needs to be completed;
  • A new change of placement or Initial Children and Young People in Care Review needs to be arranged;
  • An Independent Reviewing Officer will be allocated;
  • Within 10 days, an Initial Personal Education Plan needs to be completed if the child is school age;
  • An IHA Form needs to be completed.

3. Issues to Consider


With the exception of children and young people made expressly subject to Police Protection (limited to 72 Hours) no member of Children’s Social Care should move a child to a viable carer without the express written agreement of those with parental responsibility (Section K of the Viability Assessment Form) or an Order of the Court and agreed Interim Care Plan. For the move of a child or young person deemed Looked After to a viable carer Written Agreement must be obtained on the Placement and Information Record Form on Care First.


Because the responsibilities of the Local Authority to the child and young person and their viable carers differ as to whether they are or are not deemed Looked After, the Social Worker needs to ensure that the language used is clear and consistent. A child is not ‘placed by the Local Authority’ nor ‘accommodated’ if the move of a child is by way of family arrangement. Likewise, agreement to such a move is not ‘Section 20’ nor does the child become ‘in care’. The carers themselves do not become ‘foster carers’ or ‘Connected Persons’. It is important that the child, the parents, the viable carers and other professionals are clear as to the status of the care arrangement.


Private Fostering Regulations are statutory regulations that apply to all children and young people under the age of sixteen cared for over twenty eight days by a non-family member. Thus, if a non-family member is assessed as viable and a child or young person is moved to their care, the Private Fostering Regulations will apply and need to be separately complied with by the assessing Social Worker.

See Private Fostering – Practice Guidance

4. The Viability Assessment Form

The Viability Assessment Form is a relatively brief assessment undertaken to decide whether a full assessment should be embarked upon with a view to whether the applicant is potentially suitable to care for a child, as either a temporary foster carer or a possible Special Guardian.

However, very often a Viability Assessment will be required to determine whether a child can move to a viable carer in the context of an immediate safeguarding concern. Accordingly, it is acknowledged that there will be circumstances in which the Viability Assessment Form will need to be completed very quickly and that some of the information gathered prior to placement will be relatively superficial. Nevertheless, minimum information will be necessary for the applicants to be approved as viable, either by the relevant Practice Supervisor/Team Manager or by the Assistant Director, Children, Families and Learning.

The Viability Assessment Form is divided into:

Details of Child/ren to be Moved
Details of Applicant Carer
Criminal and Agency Checks
Child/ren’s Needs
Assessment of Applicant
Home Environment
Views and Wishes
Analysis and Conclusions
Details of Author of Assessment
Temporary Approval
Consent (if required)

Every effort must be taken to complete all the sections of the form. Section K is only necessary if the move of a child/ren is by way of family arrangement.

If it is impracticable to complete any section, the approving Manager must note this in deciding whether to agree to the move of a child to the applicant carers. In these circumstances there will need to be arrangements in place for filling in any gaps as soon as this is practicable after the move of the child to the viable carers.