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The Foster Placement (Children) Regulations 1991

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Statutory Instruments

1991 No. 910


The Foster Placement (Children) Regulations 1991


3rd April 1991

Laid before Parliament

10th April 1991

Coming into force

14th October 1991

The Secretary of State for Health, in exercise of the powersconferred by sections 23(2)(a) and (9), 59(2) and 62(3) of, andparagraph 12(a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) of Schedule 2 to, theChildren Act 1989(1) and of all other powers enabling him in that behalf,hereby makes the following Regulations:—


Citation, commencement and interpretation

1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Foster Placement (Children)Regulations 1991 and shall come into force on 14th October 1991.

(2) In these Regulations, unless the context otherwiserequires—

“the Act” means the Children Act 1989;

“approving authority”, in relation to a foster parent, means the local authority(2) or voluntary organisation responsible under regulation 3for approving (or not approving) the foster parent;

“area authority”, in relation to a child (and foster parent), means the localauthority in whose area the child is placed where that authority is notalso the responsible authority;

“foster parent” means the person with whom a child is or is proposed to be placedunder these Regulations;

“foster placement agreement” means an agreement referred to in regulation 5(6);

“responsible authority”, in relation to a child, means the local authority or voluntaryorganisation responsible for the placement of the child under (as thecase may be) section 23(2)(a) or 59(1)(a) of the Act.

(3) Any notice or consent required under these Regulations is to begiven in writing and any such notice may be sent by post.

(4) In these Regulations—

(a)any reference to a numbered regulation is to the regulation inthese Regulations bearing that number and any reference in a regulationto a numbered paragraph is to the paragraph of that regulation bearingthat number;

(b)any reference to a numbered Schedule is to the Schedule to theseRegulations bearing that number.

Scope of the Regulations

2.—(1) These Regulations apply (subject to paragraph (2)) to any placementof a child—

(a)by a local authority under section 23(2)(a) of the Act;

(b)by a voluntary organisation under section 59(1)(a) of the Act(unless they are acting on behalf of a local authority).

(2) These Regulations do not apply to any placement of achild—

(a)to which the Placement of Children with Parents etc. Regulations1991(3) apply;

(b)if the child is not in the care of a local authority, with a parentof his or other person having parental responsibility for him;

(c)for adoption pursuant to the Adoption Act 1976(4).

(3) Where a care order is in force the application of these Regulationsis subject to any directions given by a court (whether before, on orafter these Regulations come into force).

(4) Nothing in these Regulations requires the temporary removal of achild from a person with whom he is already living before placementunder these Regulations.


Approval of foster parents

3.—(1) Except in the case of an immediate placement under regulation 11, achild is not to be placed unless the foster parent is approved underthis regulation.

(2) Subject to paragraph (3), any local authority and any voluntaryorganisation which is also a responsible authority may approve a fosterparent.

(3) A local authority or voluntary organisation—

(a)are not to approve a foster parent who is already approved byanother local authority or voluntary organisation;

(b)are not to approve a foster parent in the area of an area authorityunless they first consult with, and take into account the views of, thatauthority whom they are also to notify of their decision.

(4) A local authority or voluntary organisation are not to give anyapproval under this regulation unless they have first—

(a)required the prospective foster parent to supply the names andaddresses of two persons to provide personal references for him and havearranged for them to be interviewed;

(b)obtained so far as practicable, the information specified inSchedule 1 relating to him and other members of his household andfamily,

and (having had regard to these matters) are satisfied that theperson is suitable to act as a foster parent and that his household issuitable for any child in respect of whom approval is given.

(5) An approval given under this regulation may be in respect of aparticular named child or children, or number and age range of children,or of placements of any particular kind or in any particularcircumstances.

(6) Where an approving authority approve a person as a foster parentthey—

(a)shall give him notice which specifies whether the approval is inrespect of a particular named child or children or number and age rangeof children or of placements of any particular kind or in any particularcircumstances;

(b)shall nevertheless place no child with him unless he enters into awritten agreement with them covering the matters specified in Schedule 2.

(7) Where an approving authority decide not to approve a person as afoster parent they shall give him notice of the decision.

Reviews and terminations of approval

4.—(1) Where a foster parent has been approved under regulation 3 theapproving authority are to review, at intervals of not more than a year,whether the foster parent and his household continue to be suitable (asmentioned in regulation 3(4)).

(2) When undertaking a review under this regulation the approvingauthority are to seek, and take into account, the views of the fosterparent and of any responsible authority who have placed a child with thefoster parent within the preceding year or who have an earlier placementwith the foster parent which has not been terminated.

(3) At the conclusion of the review the approving authority are toprepare a report and give notice to the foster parent of their decision(including any revision of the terms of the approval under regulation3(6)(a)).

(4) Where on a review the approving authority are no longersatisfied—

(a)that the terms of the approval under regulation 3(6)(a) areappropriate they shall revise the terms;

(b)that the foster parent and his household are suitable they shallterminate the approval from a date to be specified in the notice underparagraph (3).

(5) Where a foster parent notifies the approving authority that he nolonger wishes to act as a foster parent, or where the authority areotherwise satisfied that that is the case, the authority are toterminate the approval from a date to be specified by notice to thefoster parent.

(6) A copy of any notice given under paragraph (3) or (5) is to be sentto any other local authority or voluntary organisation who have a childplaced with the foster parent.


5.—(1) A responsible authority are not to place a child with a fosterparent unless they are satisfied that—

(a)that is the most suitable way of performing their duty under (asthe case may be) section 22(3) or 61(1)(a) and (b) of the Act; and

(b)placement with the particular foster parent is the most suitableplacement having regard to all the circumstances.

(2) In making arrangements for a placement a responsible authority areto secure that where possible the foster parent is—

(a)of the same religious persuasion as the child, or

(b)gives an undertaking that the child will be brought up in thatreligious persuasion.

(3) Consistent with the terms of any approval given under regulation 3,a responsible authority may place a child with a foster parent whom theyhave themselves approved or, provided the conditions specified inparagraph (4) are satisfied, with a foster parent approved by anotherlocal authority or voluntary organisation.

(4) The conditions referred to in paragraph (3) are that—

(a)the approving authority consent to the placement;

(b)any other local authority or voluntary organisation who alreadyhave a child placed with the foster parent also consent to theplacement; and

(c)the area authority (if they are not also the approving authority)are consulted, and their views taken into account, and are given noticeof the placement.

(5) A responsible authority which places a child after consulting anarea authority under paragraph (4)(c) shall give notice of the placementto the area authority.

(6) Except in the case of an emergency or immediate placement underregulation 11, a responsible authority are not to place a child unlessthe authority and the foster parent have entered into a writtenagreement relating to that child covering the matters specified inSchedule 3.

Supervision of placements

6.—(1) A responsible authority are to satisfy themselves that the welfareof each child placed by them continues to be suitably provided for bythe placement and for that purpose the authority are to—

(a)make arrangements for a person authorised by the authority to visitthe child, in the home in which he is placed, from time to time ascircumstances may require and when reasonably requested by the child orthe foster parent and in particular (but subject to regulation9(2))—

(i)in the first year of the placement, within one week from itsbeginning and then at intervals of not more than six weeks,

(ii)subsequently, at intervals of not more than 3 months;

(b)give such advice to the foster parent as appears to the authorityto be needed.

(2) In the case of an emergency or immediate placement under regulation11 the responsible authority are to arrange for the child to be visitedat least once in each week during the placement.

(3) On each occasion on which the child is visited under this regulationthe responsible authority shall cause the authorised person, if theyconsider it appropriate, to arrange to see the child alone.

(4) On each occasion on which a child is visited under this regulationthe responsible authority are to cause a written report to be preparedby the person who made the visit.

Termination of placements

7.—(1) A responsible authority are not to allow the placement of a childwith a particular foster parent to continue if it appears to them thatthe placement is no longer the most suitable way of performing theirduty under (as the case may be) section 22(3) or 61(1)(a) and (b) of theAct.

(2) Where a child has been placed by some other local authority, or by avoluntary organisation, in the area of the area authority and it appearsto the area authority that continuation of the placement would bedetrimental to the welfare of the child, the area authority are toremove the child forthwith.

(3) An area authority who remove a child under paragraph (2) areforthwith to notify the responsible authority.

Arrangements between local authorities and voluntary organisationsas to placements

8.—(1) Where a local authority looking after a child are satisfied that thechild should be placed with a foster parent, they may make arrangementsunder this regulation for the other duties imposed on them under thisPart of these Regulations to be discharged on their behalf by avoluntary organisation.

(2) A local authority are not to make arrangements under this regulationunless—

(a)they are satisfied—

(i)as to the capacity of the voluntary organisation to discharge dutieson their behalf, and

(ii)that those arrangements are the most suitable way for thoseduties to be discharged; and

(b)they enter into a written agreement with the voluntary organisationabout the arrangements, providing for consultation and for exchange ofinformation and reports between the authority and the organisation.

Short-term placements

9.—(1) This regulation applies to a series of short-term placements of achild with the same foster parent where the following conditions aresatisfied—

(a)all the placements occur within a period which does not exceed oneyear;

(b)no single placement is for a duration of more than four weeks; and

(c)the total duration of the placements does not exceed 90 days.

(2) Any series of short-term placements to which the regulation appliesmay be treated as a single placement for the purposes of this Part ofthese Regulations but with the modification that a visit underregulation 6(1)(a)(i) and (ii) and regulation 16(a) to (c) is to bemade—

(a)during the first in the series of placements; and

(b)again, if more than six months pass from the beginning of thatfirst placement when the child is in fact placed.

Placements outside England and Wales

10.—(1) A voluntary organisation are not to place a child outside theBritish Islands(5).

(2) Where a responsible authority make arrangements to place a childoutside England or Wales they are to ensure that, so far as reasonablypracticable, requirements are complied with in relation to the childwhich would have applied under these Regulations if the child had beenplaced in England or Wales.

(3) In the case of a local authority, paragraph (2) is subject to theprovisions of paragraph 19 of Schedule 2 to the Act (arrangements bylocal authorities to assist children to live outside England andWales).

Emergency and immediate placements by local authorities

11.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2) where arrangements have been made for theplacement of a child in an emergency, a local authority may for a periodnot exceeding 24 hours place them with any person approved underregulation 3.

(2) Before an emergency placement is made pursuant to paragraph (1) theauthority shall—

(a)satisfy the provisions of regulation 5(1)(a), and

(b)obtain a written agreement from the person with whom the child isto be placed that that person will carry out the duties specified inparagraph (4) of this regulation.

(3) Where a local authority are satisfied that the immediate placementof a child is necessary they may for a period not exceeding six weeksplace the child with a person who has not been approved under regulation3 provided, after interviewing the person, inspecting the accommodationand obtaining information about other persons living in his household,the authority are also satisfied that—

(a)the person is a relative or friend of the child;

(b)the person has made a written agreement with the local authority tocarry out the duties specified in paragraph (4); and

(c)the provisions of regulation 5(1)(a) are satisfied.

(4) The duties referred to in paragraph (2)(b) and (3)(b)are—

(a)to care for the child as if he were a member of that person'sfamily;

(b)to permit any person authorised by the local authority of (ifdifferent) the area authority, to visit the child at any time;

(c)where regulation 7(1) or (2) applies, to allow the child to beremoved at any time by the local authority or (as the case may be) thearea authority;

(d)to ensure that any information which that person may acquirerelating to the child, or to his family or any other person, which hasbeen given to him in confidence in connection with the placement is keptconfidential and is not disclosed except to, or with the agreement of,the local authority; and

(e)to allow contact with the child in accordance with section 34 ofthe Act (parental contact etc) in relation to a child in care, with anycontact order (as defined in section 8(1) of the Act) and with any arrangements made or agreed by the local authority.

(5) Where a local authority make a placement under this regulationoutside their area they shall notify the area authority.


Register of foster parents and others with whom a child is placed

12.—(1) A local authority are to enter, in a register kept for the purpose,the particulars specified in paragraph (2) for each foster parent intheir area who is approved under regulation 3 and each person, not beingan approved foster parent, with whom a child is placed pursuant toregulation 11 in their area.

(2) The particulars mentioned in paragraph (1) are—

(a)the name and address of the foster parent (or, where foster parentsare approved jointly, of both foster parents) or other person with whomthe child is placed pursuant to regulation 11;

(b)the date of the approval under regulation 3 or agreement specifiedin regulation 11(3)(b);

(c)the terms of the notice of approval under regulation 3(6)(a) or ofthe agreement specified in regulation 11(3)(b) as for the time being inforce.

Case records for foster parents and others with whom a child isplaced

13.—(1) An approving authority are to compile (if one is not alreadyestablished) and maintain a record for each foster parent whom they haveapproved under regulation 3 and for each person, not being an approvedfoster parent, with whom a child is placed by them pursuant toregulation 11.

(2) Each record compiled under paragraph (1) is to include copies ofeach of the documents specified in paragraph (3) and the informationspecified in paragraph (4).

(3) The documents referred to in paragraph (2) are as the case maybe—

(a)the notice of approval under regulation 3(6)(a);

(b)the agreement under regulation 3(6)(b) and Schedule 2;

(c)any report of review of approval under regulation 4(3);

(d)any notice of termination of approval under regulation 4(3) or(5);

(e)any agreement specified in regulation 11(3)(b).

(4) The information referred to in paragraph (2) is as the case maybe—

(a)a record of each placement with the foster parent or person, notbeing an approved foster parent, with whom a child is placed pursuant toregulation 11, including the name, age and sex of each child placed, thedates on which each placement began and terminated and the circumstancesof the termination;

(b)the information obtained by the approving authority in relation tothe approval of the foster parent and in relation to any review oftermination of the approval;

(c)the information obtained under regulation 11(3).

(5) An approving authority are to compile a record for each prospectivefoster parent to whom notice is given under regulation 3(7) that he isnot approved as a foster parent, the record to include a copy of thenotice and the information, as to the foster parent and his householdand family, obtained by the authority in connection with the question ofapproval.

Retention and confidentiality of records

14.—(1) The record for a foster parent or other person compiled underregulation 13, and any entry relating to him in the register maintainedunder regulation 12, is to be retained for at least 10 years from thedate on which his approval is terminated, or until his death ifearlier.

(2) The requirements of paragraph (1) may be complied with either byretaining the original written record (or a copy of it) or by keepingall the information from the record in some other accessible form (suchas by means of a computer).

(3) The authority or organisation responsible for the maintenance of anyregister or record under regulation 12 or 13 are to secure its safekeeping and to take all necessary steps to ensure that the informationwhich it contains is treated as confidential subject onlyto—

(a)any provision in under or by virtue of a statute under which accessto such register, record or information may be obtained or should begranted;

(b)any court order under which access to such register, record orinformation may be obtained or given.

(4) Each voluntary organisation, where they are not acting as anauthorised person(6), shall provide a guardian ad litem of achild—

(a)such access as may be required to—

(i)case records and registers maintained in accordance with theseRegulations,

(ii)the information from such records or registers held inwhatever form (such as by means of computer);

(b)such copies of the records or entries in the registers as he mayrequire.


Circumstances necessitating visits by local authorities

15.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2) every local authority shall arrange for oneof their officers to visit every child who is accommodated with a fosterparent within their area by or on behalf of a voluntary organisation inany of the following circumstances and within the periodsspecified—

(a)within 28 days of the placement with the foster parent;

(b)where the voluntary organisation which made the placement with thefoster parent make representations to the local authority that there arecircumstances relating to the child which require a visit, within 14days of the receipt of the representations;

(c)where the local authority are informed that the welfare of thechild may not be being safeguarded or promoted, as soon as reasonablypracticable but in any event within 7 days of being informed;

(d)where the local authority are satisfied, following a visit to achild under this regulation in respect of a placement with the fosterparent, that the child’s welfare is being safeguarded and promoted, atintervals of not more than six months.

(2) This regulation shall not apply to children in respect of whom thelocal authority have made arrangements under regulation 8.

Requirements in respect of visits

16.  Every local authority shall make arrangements to ensure that inrespect of any visit made pursuant to regulation 15 an officer of theirs(but subject to regulation 9(2))—

(a)sees the child during the course of the visit, unless he considersit unnecessary to do so or the child is not in fact with the fosterparents at the time of the visit;

(b)if the child is not there, makes arrangements to see the child assoon as reasonably practicable;

(c)takes steps to discover whether the voluntary organisation whichplaced the child have made suitable arrangements to perform their dutiesunder these Regulations and those under section 61 of the Act.



17.  Subject to the operation of the transitional provisions of paragraph21 of Schedule 14 to the Act, the Boarding-out of Children (FosterPlacement) Regulations 1988(7) are hereby revoked.

Signed by authority of the Secretary of State for Health.

Virginia Bottomley

Minister of State,

Department of Health

3rd April 1991

Regulation 3(4)(b)


1.  His age, health (supported by a medical report), personality andmarital status (including any previous marriage).

2.  Particulars of the other adult members of his household.

3.  Particulars of the children in his family, whether or not members ofhis household, and any other children in his household.

4.  Particulars of his accommodation.

5.  His religious persuasion, the degee of his religious observance andhis capacity to care for a child from any particular religiouspersuasion.

6.  His racial origin, his cultural and linguistic background and hiscapacity to care for a child from any particular origin or cultural orlinguistic background.

7.  His past and present employment or occupation, his standard ofliving and leisure activities and interests.

8.  His previous experience of caring for his own and other children andhis ability in this respect.

9.  (If any, and subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974(8)) his previous criminal convictions and those of otheradult members of his household.

10.  The outcome of any request or application made by him or any othermember of his household to foster or adopt children or for registrationunder section 71 of the Act or any previous enactment of that section.

11.  Particulars of any previous approval under regulation 3, or refusalof approval or termination of approval under regulation 4, relating tohim or any other member of his household.

Regulation 3(6)(b)


1.  The amount of support and training to be given to the fosterparent.

2.  The procedure for the review of approval of a foster parent.

3.  The procedure in connection with the placement of foster children,and in particular—

(a)the matters to be covered in foster placement agreements and therespective obligations, under any such agreements, of the responsibleauthority and the foster parent;

(b)the authority’s arrangements for meeting any legal liabilities ofthe foster parent arising by reason of a placement; and

(c)the procedure available to foster parents for makingrepresentations to the local authority in whose area that child isplaced.

4.  To give written notice to the authority forthwith, with fullparticulars, of—

(a)any intended change of his address;

(b)any change in the composition of his household;

(c)any other change in his personal circumstances and any other eventaffecting either his capacity to care for any child placed or thesuitability of his household; and

(d)any further request or application of a kind mentioned in paragraph10 of Schedule 1.

5.  Not to administer corporal punishment to any child placed with him.

6.  To ensure that any information relating to a child placed with him,to the child’s family or to any other person, which has been given tohim in confidence in connection with a placement is kept confidentialand is not disclosed to any person without the consent of theresponsible authority.

7.  To comply with the terms of any foster placement agreement, to carefor the child placed with the foster parent as if he were a member ofthe foster parent’s family and to promote his welfare having regard tothe responsible authority’s long and short-term arrangements for thechild.

8.  To notify the responsible authority immediately of any seriousillness of the child or of any other serious occurrence affecting thechild.

9.  Where regulation 7(1) or (2) applies, to allow the child to beremoved from the foster parent’s home by the responsible authority or(as the case may be) the area authority.

Regulation 5(6)


1.  The provision by the responsible authority of a statement containingall the information which the authority considers necessary to enablethe foster parent to care for the child and, in particular, informationas to—

(a)the authority’s arrangements for the child and the objectives ofthe placement;

(b)the child’s personal history, religious persuasion and cultural andlinguistic background and racial origin;

(c)the child’s state of health and need for health care andsurveillance; and

(d)the child’s educational needs

including a requirement for the statement to be provided either atthe time of the signing of the agreement or, where this is notpracticable, within the following 14 days.

2.  The responsible authority’s arrangements for the financial supportof the child during the placement.

3.  Any arrangements for delegation of responsibility for consent to themedical or dental examination or treatment of the child.

4.  The circumstances in which it is necessary to obtain in advance theapproval of the responsible authority for the child to live, eventemporarily, away from the foster parent’s home.

5.  The arrangements for visits to the child, in connection with thesupervision of the placement, by the person authorised by or on behalfof the responsible authority or area authority and the frequency ofvisits and reviews under the Review of Children’s Cases Regulations1991(9).

6.  The arrangements for the child to have contact with his parents andother persons, including any arrangements in pursuance of section 34 ofthe Act (parental contact etc. for children in the care of localauthority) in relation to a child in care, or any contact order (asdefined in section 8(1) of the Act).

7.  Compliance by the foster parent with the terms of the agreement setout in Schedule 2.

8.  Cooperation by the foster parent with any arrangements made by theresponsible authority for the child.

Explanatory Note

(This note is not part of the Regulations)

These Regulations replace with modifications the Boarding-out ofChildren (Foster Placement) Regulations 1988 (“the 1988 Regulations”).

The main changes are that under these Regulations:

(a)there is approval of foster parents and not households in which achild is to live and foster parents may now be approved only by onelocal authority or voluntary organisation at any one time;

(b)an emergency placement may be made with any approved foster parentfor not more than 24 hours while an immediate placement may be made witha relative or friend for not more than six weeks. Previously emergencyplacements only were permitted with a person in a household which wasapproved outside the normal approval procedure;

(c)local authority responsibilities in respect of children placed byvoluntary organisations are enhanced.

They apply to placements of children by local authorities andvoluntary organisations, other than placements to which the Placement ofChildren with Parents etc. Regulations 1991 apply and placements foradoption or with a person having parental responsibility for the child(regulation 2).

Part II of the Regulations relates to approvals and placements andrequires the foster parent with whom a child is placed to be approved bya local authority or voluntary organisation (regulation 3); makesprovision for reviews and terminations of approval (regulation 4); forthe placement of a child with a foster parent (regulation 5) and for thesupervision and termination of placements (regulations 6 and 7); allowsa local authority to make arrangements with a voluntary organisation tobe responsible for the placement of the child (regulation 8); theapplication of the Regulations to short-term placements (regulation 9);and placements outside England and Wales (regulation 10); and, by localauthorities only, emergency and immediate placements (regulation 11).

Part III of the Regulations provides for local authorities tomaintain a register of foster parents approved in their area (regulation12), for local authorities and voluntary organisations to maintain arecord for each foster parent they approve (regulation 13) and for theretention and confidentiality of the registers and records (regulation14).

Part IV of the Regulations makes provision for visits to childrenplaced with foster parents by voluntary organisations (regulations 15and 16).

Part V of the Regulations revokes the 1988 Regulations (regulation17).


authority is defined in section 105(1) of the Act asthe council of a county, a metropolitan district, a London Borough orthe Common Council of the City of London. Pursuant to section 2 of theLocal Authority Social Services Act 1970 (c. 42), local authorityfunctions under the Children Act 1989 stand referred to the socialservices committee of a local authority.


Islands are defined in the Interpretation Act 1978(c.30) as meaning the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isleof Man.


For access by guardian ad litem to local authority andauthorised person’s records see section 42 of the 1989 Act as amended byparagraph 18 of Schedule 16 to the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990(c.41). person is defined in section 31 of the 1989 Act.

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