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(1)For section 23 of the 1989 Act substitute—
When a child is in the care of a local authority, it is their duty to provide the child with accommodation.
It is the duty of a local authority to maintain a child they are looking after in other respects apart from the provision of accommodation.
(1)This section applies where a local authority are looking after a child (“C”).
(2)The local authority must make arrangements for C to live with a person who falls within subsection (3) (but subject to subsection (4)).
(3)A person (“P”) falls within this subsection if—
(a)P is a parent of C;
(b)P is not a parent of C but has parental responsibility for C; or
(c)in a case where C is in the care of the local authority and there was a residence order in force with respect to C immediately before the care order was made, P was a person in whose favour the residence order was made.
(4)Subsection (2) does not require the local authority to make arrangements of the kind mentioned in that subsection if doing so—
(a)would not be consistent with C's welfare; or
(b)would not be reasonably practicable.
(5)If the local authority are unable to make arrangements under subsection (2), they must place C in the placement which is, in their opinion, the most appropriate placement available.
(6)In subsection (5) “placement” means—
(a)placement with an individual who is a relative, friend or other person connected with C and who is also a local authority foster parent;
(b)placement with a local authority foster parent who does not fall within paragraph (a);
(c)placement in a children's home in respect of which a person is registered under Part 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000; or
(d)subject to section 22D, placement in accordance with other arrangements which comply with any regulations made for the purposes of this section.
(7)In determining the most appropriate placement for C, the local authority must, subject to the other provisions of this Part (in particular, to their duties under section 22)—
(a)give preference to a placement falling within paragraph (a) of subsection (6) over placements falling within the other paragraphs of that subsection;
(b)comply, so far as is reasonably practicable in all the circumstances of C's case, with the requirements of subsection (8); and
(c)comply with subsection (9) unless that is not reasonably practicable.
(8)The local authority must ensure that the placement is such that—
(a)it allows C to live near C's home;
(b)it does not disrupt C's education or training;
(c)if C has a sibling for whom the local authority are also providing accommodation, it enables C and the sibling to live together;
(d)if C is disabled, the accommodation provided is suitable to C's particular needs.
(9)The placement must be such that C is provided with accommodation within the local authority's area.
(10)The local authority may determine—
(a)the terms of any arrangements they make under subsection (2) in relation to C (including terms as to payment); and
(b)the terms on which they place C with a local authority foster parent (including terms as to payment but subject to any order made under section 49 of the Children Act 2004).
(11)The appropriate national authority may make regulations for, and in connection with, the purposes of this section.
(12)In this Act “local authority foster parent” means a person who is approved as a local authority foster parent in accordance with regulations made by virtue of paragraph 12F of Schedule 2.
(1)Where a local authority are providing accommodation for a child (“C”) other than by arrangements under section 22C(6)(d), they must not make such arrangements for C unless they have decided to do so in consequence of a review of C's case carried out in accordance with regulations made under section 26.
(2)But subsection (1) does not prevent a local authority making arrangements for C under section 22C(6)(d) if they are satisfied that in order to safeguard C's welfare it is necessary—
(a)to make such arrangements; and
(b)to do so as a matter of urgency.
Where a local authority place a child they are looking after in a children's home provided, equipped and maintained by an appropriate national authority under section 82(5), they must do so on such terms as that national authority may from time to time determine.
Part 2 of Schedule 2 has effect for the purposes of making further provision as to children looked after by local authorities and in particular as to the regulations which may be made under section 22C(11).”
(2)Schedule 1 (which makes amendments supplementary to, and consequential on, the provisions of this section, including a power to make regulations about an independent review mechanism for certain decisions in relation to foster parents) has effect.
(3)Until the coming into force of subsection (1), Schedule 2 to the 1989 Act has effect with the modifications specified in Schedule 2.
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