Foster Children Act 1980

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1980 c. 6


Foster Children Act 1980

1980 CHAPTER 6

An Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to foster children as they have effect in England and Wales.

[31st January 1980]

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:—

Foster children for purposes of the Act

Foster children for purposes of the Act

S-1 Foster children.

1 Foster children.

1. Subject to section 2 below, a child is a foster child for the purposes of this Act if he is below the upper limit of the compulsory school age and his care and maintenance are undertaken by a person who is not a relative, guardian or custodian of his.

S-2 Exceptions to section 1.

2 Exceptions to section 1.

(1) A child is not a foster child while he is in the care of a local authority or a voluntary organisation or is boarded out by a local authority or a local education authority.

(2) A child is not a foster child 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 VI of the Child Care Act 1980 ;

(c ) in any school within the meaning of the Education Act 1944 in which he is receiving full-time education;

(d ) in any hospital, or in any nursing home registered or exempted from registration under the Nursing Homes Act 1975 ; or

(e ) in any home or institution not specified in this subsection or subsection (5) below but maintained by a public or local authority.

(3) A child is not a foster child at any time while his care and maintenance are undertaken by any person—

(a ) who is not a regular foster parent and at that time does not intend to, and does not in fact, undertake his care and maintenance for a continuous period of more than 27 days; or

(b ) who is a regular foster parent but at that time does not intend to, and does not in fact, undertake his care and maintenance for a continuous period of more than six days.

In this subsection ‘regular foster parent’ means a person who—

(i) during the period of 12 months immediately preceding the date on which he begins to undertake the care and maintenance of the child in question, and

(ii) otherwise than as a relative or guardian,

had the care and maintenance of one or more children either for a period of, or periods amounting in the aggregate to, not less than three months or for at least three continuous periods each of which was of more than six days.

(4) A child is not a foster child while he is in the care of any person in compliance with a supervision order within the meaning of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 or a supervision requirement within the meaning of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 .

(5) A child is not a foster child while he is liable to be detained or subject to guardianship under the Mental Health Act 1959 , or is resident in a residential home for mentally disordered persons within the meaning of the Residential Homes Act 1980.

(6) A child is not a foster child—

(a ) while he is placed in the care and possession of a person who proposes to adopt him under arrangements made by an adoption agency within the meaning of section 1 of the Adoption Act 1976 or section 1 of the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978 ; or

(b ) while he is a protected child within the meaning of Part III of the Adoption Act 1976.

Duties of local authorities

Duties of local authorities

S-3 Local authorities to ensure well-being of, and to visit, foster children.

3 Local authorities to ensure well-being of, and to visit, foster children.

(1) Subject to subsection (3) below, it shall be the duty of every local authority to satisfy themselves as to the well-being of foster children within their area and, for that purpose, to secure—

(a ) that the children are visited by officers of the authority in accordance with regulations made under subsection (2) below; and

(b ) that such advice is given as to the care and maintenance of the children as appears to be needed.

(2) The Secretary of State may make regulations requiring foster children in a local authority's area to be visited by an officer of the local authority on specified occasions or within specified periods of time.

(3) Until such time as the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument appoint, subsection (1) above shall have effect with the substitution for paragraph (a ) of the following paragraph—

‘(a ) that, so far as appears to the authority to be appropriate, the children are visited from time to time by officers of the authority; and’.

Notification of fostering to local authorities

Notification of fostering to local authorities

S-4 Notification by parents.

4 Notification by parents.

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for requiring parents whose children are, or are going to be, maintained as foster children to give to the local authority for the area where the children are, or are going to be, living as foster children such information about the fostering as may be specified in the regulations.

(2) Regulations under this section may include such incidental and supplementary provisions as the Secretary of State thinks fit.

S-5 Notification by persons maintaining, or proposing to maintain, foster children.

5 Notification by persons maintaining, or proposing to maintain, foster children.

(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 in whose area the premises in which the child is to be kept are situated, not less than two weeks and not more than four weeks before he receives the child, unless he receives him in an emergency.

(2) A person who maintains a foster child—

(a ) whom he received in an emergency, or

(b ) who became a foster child while in his care,

shall give written notice thereof to the local authority in whose area the premises in which the child is being kept are situated, not later than 48 hours after he receives the child or, as the case may be, after the child becomes a foster child.

(3) A notice under subsection (1) or (2) above shall specify—

(a ) the date on which it is intended that the child should be received or (as the case may be) on which the child was in fact received or became a foster child, and

(b ) the premises in which the child is to be or is being kept.

(4) Where a person who is maintaining one or more foster children changes his permanent address or the premises in which the child is, or the children are, kept, he shall give written notice to the local authority—

(a ) not less than two weeks and not more than four weeks before the change, or

(b ) if the change is made in an emergency, not later than 48 hours after the change,

specifying the new address or premises; and if the new premises are in the area of another local authority, or of a local authority in Scotland, the authority to whom the notice is given shall inform that other authority and give them such of the particulars mentioned in subsection (5) below as are known to them.

(5) At the request of the local authority, a person maintaining or proposing to maintain a foster child shall give them, so far as known to him, the following particulars—

(a ) the name, sex and date and place of birth of the child; and

(b ) 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 was or is to be received.

S-6 Notification by persons ceasing to maintain foster children.

6 Notification by persons ceasing to maintain foster children.

(1) If a foster child dies, the person who was maintaining him shall give, not later than 48 hours after the death, written notice of the death to the local authority and to the person from whom the child was received.

(2) Subject to subsection (3) below, where a person who has been maintaining a foster child at any premises—

(a ) ceases to maintain that foster child at those premises, and

(b ) the circumstances are such that no notice is required to be given under section 5(4) or subsection (1) above,

that person shall give written notice thereof to the local authority not later than 48 hours after he ceases to maintain that foster child at those premises.

(3) A person need not give the notice required by subsection (2) above in consequence of his ceasing to maintain a foster child at any premises if, at the time he so ceases, he intends within 27 days again to maintain that foster child at those premises; but if—

(a ) he subsequently abandons that intention, or

(b ) that period expires without his having given effect to it,

he shall give the said notice within 48 hours of that event.

(4) Where a foster child is removed or removes himself from the care of the person maintaining him, that person shall give the local authority at their request the name and address, if known, of the person (if any) into whose care the child has been removed.

Disqualification for fostering

Disqualification for fostering

S-7 Persons disqualified from keeping foster children.

7 Persons disqualified from keeping foster children.

(1) A person shall not maintain a foster child if—

(a ) an order removing a child from his care has been made against him under this Act or (whether before or after the commencement of this Act) under Part I of the Children Act 1958 ;

(b ) an order has been made under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 , the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 , or the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937 , or a supervision requirement has been made under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 , and by virtue of the order or requirement a child was removed from his care;

(c ) he...

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