Kathleen Toner, director of The Fostering Network in Northern Ireland, outlines our role in shaping the proposed new children’s legislation in Northern Ireland and the merits of updating the law
legislation and regulations
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Andrew Walker, a member of The Fostering Network’s practice support team and a social worker, reflects on a summer of consultations and reports in England.
We believe the Bill provides an opportunity to improve outcomes for looked after children, but we are concerned that it has been introduced in the absence of a wider strategy on children in care.
We have a number of concerns about the Bill as it currently stands, in particular:
In England the main legislative body is the Westminster parliament and primary responsibility for fostering in England is held by the Department for Education. Read more about fostering legislation in England.
In Northern Ireland, the main legislative body is the Northern Ireland Assembly. Read more about fostering legislation in Northern Ireland.
The below legislation is a starting point and is not a comprehensive guide to all legislation relating to children and young people in foster care in England.
Children Act 1989 – available at www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/41/contents.
This is the primary legislation governing looked after children and fostering services.
Care Standards Act 2000 – available at www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/14/contents.
With 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. There are three key sites to consult.
Care Council for Wales – a comprehensive range of ‘child law’.
Cardiff University Law School – launched in 2015 and maintained by Julie Doughty, Cardiff University Law School, on child law relating to Wales.
The links below are a starting point to the laws and guidance relating to fostered children and young people in Northern Ireland, rather than a comprehensive list.
The Arrangements for Placement of Children (General) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996 – available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisr/1996/453/contents/made
The Children’s Hearings System
The Children’s Hearings System is the care and justice system for Scotland’s children and young people up until the age of 16 (for some children, until 18). Children and young people are referred to the children’s reporter because some aspect of their life is causing concern. This could be for a variety of reasons, including not attending school or committing offences, but it is generally because there are significant concerns about the child’s safety, health and welfare.