Fostering is a devolved issue in the UK. Legislation about foster care therefore varies across the UK. In Wales, the legislative body is the Welsh Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament. 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, guidance or resources; 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.
Social Care Wales works with people who use care and support services, and organisations, to lead improvement in social care in Wales.
The Care Inspectorate Wales registers, inspects and takes action to improve the quality and safety of services 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.
To accompany the Act, Welsh Government have produced Codes of Practice and guidance. Code of Practice 6 (Looked After and Accommodated Children) is dedicated to children and young people looked after and accommodated including children and young people who are leaving or have left care.
The following three fostering services regulations were introduced following the 2014 and 2016 Acts:
The guidance in this code sets out how local authority fostering services providers and local authority managers may comply with the requirements imposed by the Regulations.
Parts 2 to 11 of the Regulations set out the requirements on independent service providers in relation to the standard of service that must be provided. Parts 12 to 16 of the Regulations set out the duties placed on the designated responsible individual in relation to a regulated service.
These Regulations set out the requirements on fostering service providers (both local authorities and independent providers) in relation to the establishment and functions of fostering panels.
This statutory guidance for 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.
The Welsh Government Code of Practice on Special Guardianship sets out a local authority's legal responsibilities in respect of assessing and preparing an application for a Special Guardianship Order.
When I am Ready
The Good Practice Guide supplements the statutory Code of Practice 6 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, setting out a local authority’s legal responsibilities in respect of living arrangements to support care leavers who want to continue living with their foster carers once they turn 18.
You can find additional information on our webpage about When I am Ready.
National Minimum Allowances for Foster Carers 2023 - 2024
National minimum weekly maintenance allowances for foster carers are set by Welsh Government.
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) Cymru
IRM Cymru independently reviews, 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.
Paragraphs 247-261 in Code of Practice 6 talks about foster carers' delegated authority. Delegated authority is all about giving children in care as normal a life as possible, with the same opportunities as other children.
Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children
The Fostering Network has worked with the Department for Education and Refugee Council to produce a Kindle guide to help foster carers care for unaccompanied asylum seeking children.
See also The Fostering Network's resources pages.
Induction framework for health and social care
The All Wales Induction Framework for Health and Social Care includes the knowledge, understanding and practice which should be demonstrated over time, by workers who are new to their role. It includes guidance, progress logs, workbooks, resources and a glossary to help you implement the Induction Framework.
Wales Safeguarding Procedures
These national Wales Safeguarding Procedures detail the essential roles and responsibilities for practitioners to ensure that they safeguard children and adults who are at risk of abuse and neglect.
Kinship Care Guide for Wales
National Fostering Framework
National Fostering Framework was 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. The successor Foster Wales is carrying on with this work.
The children’s commissioner champions the rights of children and young people in Wales.
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. They have produced a range of fact sheets for children including How the Law Affects Me.
The voice of children in the family courts and helps to ensure that their welfare is put first during proceedings.
Children in Wales is the national umbrella body for organisations and individuals who work with children, young people and their families in Wales. They have produced a range of publications for children and young people.
Welsh Government have also issued a statement for people who need care and support and carers who need support.
For more information, contact Fosterline Wales.