When a child is looked after in the following circumstances:
- The child is in care: This is when the child has an Emergency Protection Order, an Interim Care Order or a Care Order. The child’s parents and Children’s Services both have parental responsibility for the child, but Children’s Services can make important decisions about the child’s care even if the parents don’t agree.
- The child is accommodated: This is when the child is looked after with the agreement of the child’s parents or anyone else with parental responsibility and there is no court order. In these circumstances, the only people who have parental responsibility, are the parent, or anyone else who has already been given parental responsibility. Their agreement is needed as well as the agreement of the social worker, for any important decisions about the child.
- The child is in police protection: This is when the child was removed from their parents/carer and there is no court order.
Whether or not the child you are caring for is looked after will depend on what happened when the child first came to you. In order for the child to be looked after the social worker must have placed the child with you, or arranged for the child to live with you.
If you made the arrangement directly with the parents and the social worker was not involved it is likely to be a private arrangement so the child will not be looked after and you will not need to be assessed as a foster carer.
This is a complicated area of law, contact our advice service for specialist help.