Fostering legislation in Wales

Social care is one of the many devolved issue in the UK. Legislation about care and foster care therefore varies across the UK. In Wales, the legislative body is the Welsh Assembly. There is a wide range of law and guidance that has relevance for foster care in Wales

During the evolution of Welsh Government legislative powers, there is currently no single source or site providing a comprehensive collection of all current UK and Welsh legislation, however, the following may be useful:.

Cardiff University Law School  – Children’s social care law in Wales was launched in 2015 and maintained by the Cardiff University Law School.

Welsh Government – launched in 2015, this site provides information about Wales' constitutional arrangements and law made in Wales.

In addition, the below legislation and guidance is a starting point and is not a comprehensive guide to all legislation relating to children and young people in foster care in Wales.


Social Services and Well Being (Wales) Act 2014 

Code of Practice 6 (Looked After and Accommodated Children)
Code of Practice and guidance on the exercise of social services functions and partnership arrangements in relation to Part 6 (looked after and accommodated children) of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. Including children and young people who are leaving or who have left care.

Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 

Statutory guidance

The following three regulations were introduced following the 2014 and 2016 Acts:

1. The Local Authority Fostering Services (Wales) Regulations 2018

Guidance to help local authorities follow the law on fostering services. 

2. The Regulated Fostering Services (Service Providers and Responsible Individuals) (Wales) Regulations 2019

Parts 2 to 11 of the Regulations, made under section 27 of the Act, set out the requirements on a service provider in relation to the standard of service that must be provided. Parts 12 to 16 of the Regulations, made under section 28 of the Act, set out the duties placed on the designated responsible individual in relation to a regulated service. 

3. The Fostering Panels (Establishment and Functions) (Wales) Regulations 2018 

These Regulations set out the requirements on fostering services providers (both local authorities and independent providers) in relation to the establishment and functions of fostering panels. They are intended to replace and update the requirements in Part IV of The Fostering Services (Wales) Regulations 2003 (‘the 2003 Regulations’).


This statutory guidance for regular services relates to the Regulated Advocacy Services (Service Providers and Responsible Individuals) (Wales) Regulations 2019. It only applies to advocacy services for children, arranged by local authorities. April 2019 

When I am Ready 

The guide supplements the statutory Code of Practice relating to Part 6 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. The code sets out a local authority’s legal responsibilities in respect of post-18 living arrangements to support care leavers who want to continue living with their foster carers once they turn 18.  April 2015  

In  addition, The Fostering Network in Wales has developed frequently asked questions  about When I am Ready aimed at providing additional information.  

Also see our webpage about When I am Ready.

National Minimum Allowances for Foster Cares 2017-2020

National minimum weekly maintenance allowances for foster carers are set by Welsh Government. See here for the latest allowances

Private fostering

New legislation, standards and guidance were introduced in Wales from 1 April 2006 to strengthen the requirements of the notification system first introduced by the Children Act 1989. Private foster carers and parents of children placed are required to notify the social services department in the area where the child is placed of the arrangement made.

Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) 

The IRM Panels independently review, on behalf of Welsh Government, adoption and fostering suitability applications from potential and current adopters and foster carers, whose agency or fostering service provider has decided not to approve them as a foster carer or adopter, or to terminate or change the terms of their approval.  

Other guidance

Delegated Authority to Foster Carers 2011 

Delegated authority is all about giving children in care as normal a life as possible, with the same opportunities as other children. The Fostering Network, has resources, helplines and an online community that can help foster carers understand what day-to-day decisions they can make on behalf of the children and young people in their care.

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

Guidance for foster carers on what to expect when fostering children who are seeking asylum.  April 2019

Social Care Wales - All Wales Induction Framework for Health and Social Care

The new Induction Framework became operational in April 2019 and designed for all social care workers. It provides a structure for common induction across Wales, outlining the knowledge and skills professionals need to gain during their induction period. All Fostering Managers have a responsibility to make sure that their newly approved foster carers receive a robust, structured induction using this framework.   Foster carers are not required to register with Social Care Wales, but new carers are expected to complete the relevant sections of the induction framework (sections 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7). 

All Wales Child Protection Procedures 2008 

The 2008 procedures -currently being reviewed- combine the shared knowledge and experiences of Wales's Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) and updated on a regular basis since the production of the All Wales Procedures in 2002.

Kinship Care Guide for Wales 

This guide, sponsored by the Welsh Government and developed by Children in Wales, is designed to offer information to kinship carers

National Fostering Framework

National Fostering Framework is a national programme to increase co-ordination; more sector-led improvement; a means of measuring, monitoring and improving performance and resource management; greater accountability and a search for economies of scale where appropriate.



Other resources

Social Care Wales: Information and Learning Hub

A one-stop-shop for information and resources on Wales's social care legislation. 

Children’s Commissioner for Wales

The children’s commissioner champions the rights of children and young people in Wales

Children’s Legal Centre

The Children’s Legal Centre for Wales wants to make sure that every child in Wales knows what his or her rights are and that there are laws in place to protect their rights.


The voice of children in the family courts and helps to ensure that their welfare is put first during proceedings.

Care Inspectorate for Wales

The Inspectorate is responsible for inspecting social care and social services to make sure that they are safe for the people who use them.

Welsh Government

Well-being Statement for People Who Need Care and Support and Carers Who Need Support

For more information, contact Fosterline Wales.