Children Act 1958

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1958 c. 65


Children Act , 1958

(6 & 7 Eliz. 2) CHAPTER 65

An Act to make fresh provision for the protection of children living away from their parents; to amend the law relating to the adoption of children; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid.

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Child protection

Part I

Child protection

S-1 Duty of local authorities to ensure well-being of foster children.

1 Duty of local authorities to ensure well-being of foster children.

1. It shall be the duty of every local authority to secure that children within their area who are foster children within the meaning of this Part of this Act are visited from time to time by officers of the authority, who shall satisfy themselves as to the well-being of the children and give such advice as to their care and maintenance as may appear to be needed.

S-2 Meaning of ‘foster child.’

2 Meaning of ‘foster child.’

(1) In this Part of this Act ‘foster child’ means, subject to the following provisions of this section, a child below the upper limit of the compulsory school age whose care and maintenance are undertaken for reward for a period exceeding one month by a person who is not a relative or guardian of his.

(2) A child is not a foster child within the meaning of this Part of this Act while he is in the care of a local authority or a voluntary organisation or is boarded out by the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance or by a local health authority or a local education authority (or, in Scotland, an education authority).

(3) A child is not a foster child within the meaning of this Part of this Act while he is in the care of any person—

(a ) in premises in which any parent, adult relative or guardian of his is for the time being residing;

(b ) in any voluntary home within the meaning of Part V of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, or Part VI of the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act, 1937;

(c ) in any school within the meaning of the Education Acts, 1944 to 1953, or the Education (Scotland) Acts, 1939 to 1956;

(d ) in any hospital or in any nursing home registered or exempted from registration under Part VI of the Public Health Act, 1936, Part XI of the Public Health (London) Act, 1936, or the Nursing Homes Registration (Scotland) Act, 1938; or

(e ) in any home or institution not specified in this section but maintained by a public or local authority.

(4) A child is not a foster child within the meaning of this Part of this Act while he is in the care of any person in compliance with a supervision order or probation order or by virtue of a fit person order or while he is in an approved school or is deemed for the purposes of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, or of the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act, 1937, to be under the care of the managers of an approved school.

(5) A child who is a mental defective is not a foster child within the meaning of this Part of this Act while he is in any institution, house or home certified or approved under the Mental Deficiency Acts, 1913 to 1938, or the Mental Deficiency (Scotland) Acts, 1913 and 1940, or while, not being in such an institution, house or home,—

(a ) he is under care with the consent of the Board of Control or of the General Board of Control for Scotland under the said enactments; or

(b ) he is under care after notice in respect of him has been given to the Board of Control in accordance with subsection (2) of section fifty-one of the Mental Deficiency Act, 1913, or to the General Board of Control for Scotland in accordance with Regulation one hundred and forty-eight of the Mental Deficiency and Lunacy (Scotland) Act (General Board's) Regulations, 1914.

(6) For the purposes of this Part of this Act a person undertaking the care and maintenance of a child shall be deemed to do so for reward if he receives any payment or gift of money or money's worth or any promise of such a payment or gift in connection therewith, irrespective of whether he makes a profit or intends to make a profit; but where two persons arrange for each to undertake the care and maintenance of a child normally cared for and maintained by the other, the care and maintenance so undertaken shall be treated for the purposes of this subsection as not being a gift of money's worth.

(7) For the purposes of this Part of this Act a person to whom a guardian's allowance under the National Insurance Acts, 1946 to 1957 or a family allowance under the Family Allowances Acts, 1945 to 1956 is payable by reason of his maintaining another person's child shall, if one or both of the child's parents are dead, be treated as having undertaken his care and maintenance for reward from the last of the following dates, that is to say—

(a ) the date on which the application for the allowance was granted;

(b ) the date of the death of the first to die of the child's parents;

(c ) where the person who is maintaining the child had reasonable cause to believe that both parents of the child were alive, the date on which he became aware that one of the child's parents had died.

S-3 Duty of persons maintaining foster children to notify local authority.

3 Duty of persons maintaining foster children to notify local authority.

(1) A person who proposes to maintain as a foster child a child not already in his care shall give written notice thereof to the local authority not less than two weeks before he receives the child, unless he receives him in an emergency; and a person who maintains a foster child whom he received in an emergency or who became a foster child while in his care shall give written notice thereof to the local authority not later than one week after he receives the child or, as the case may be, after the child becomes a foster child.

(2) Every such notice shall specify the premises in which the child is to be or is being kept and shall be given to the local authority for the area in which those premises are situated.

(3) Where a person who is maintaining a foster child changes his permanent address or the premises in which the child is kept he shall, not less than two weeks before the change, or, if the change is made in an emergency, not later than one week after the change, give written notice to the said local authority, specifying the new address or premises, and if the new premises are in the area of another local authority, the authority to whom the notice is given shall inform that other local authority and give them such of the particulars mentioned in subsection (7) of this section as are known to them.

(4) If a foster child dies or is removed or removes himself from the care of the person maintaining him, that person shall, within forty-eight hours thereof, give to the local authority and to the person from whom the child was received notice in writing of the death or removal; and a notice of removal shall state, if known, the name and address of the person (if any) into whose care the child has been removed or received.

(5) Where a foster child ceases to be a foster child on his removal from the care of the person maintaining him, that person need not give a notice under subsection (4) of this section but shall at the request of the local authority give them the same particulars as would have been required to be stated in the notice; and a person who maintains or proposes to maintain a foster child need not give a notice under subsection (1) of this section if the child has within the last three months been maintained by him as a foster child but ceased to be a foster child while in his care or on removal from his care.

(6) A local authority may exempt any person from the duty of giving notices under this section, and any such exemption may be granted as regards all or any such notices for a specified period, and may be revoked at any time by notice in writing served on that person.

(7) A person maintaining or proposing to maintain a foster child shall at the request of the local authority give them the following particulars, so far as known to him, that is to say, the name, sex, and date and place of birth of the child, and the name and address of every person who is a parent or guardian or acts as a guardian of the child or from whom the child has been or is to be received.

S-4 Power to inspect premises, impose conditions, or prohibit the keeping of foster children.

4 Power to inspect premises, impose conditions, or prohibit the keeping of foster children.

(1) Any officer of a local authority authorised to visit foster children may, after producing, if asked to do so, some duly authenticated document showing that he is so authorised, inspect any premises in the area of the authority in which foster children are to be or are being kept.

(2) Where a person is keeping or proposes to keep foster children in premises used (while foster children are kept therein) wholly or mainly for that purpose, the local authority may impose on him requirements, to be complied with, after such time as the authority may specify, whenever a foster child is kept in the premises, as to—

(a ) the number, age and sex of the foster children who may be...

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