Connected Person fostering
Connected Person fostering is a legal arrangement where a child who cannot be cared for by their parents, is looked after by a relative, family friend or any other person with a connection to the child in a personal or professional capacity.
When a child is at risk of becoming looked after, or has become looked after, Brent is committed to exploring potential Connected Person foster carers before considering children with stranger foster carers. If a child becomes looked after by a relative or friend, this person becomes the child's connected foster carer and will be looking after the child on our behalf.
A family group conference will be offered to the parents and extended family and friends network to plan who the child should go to live with.
Prospective Connected Person foster carers will need to be assessed by a social worker from the Brent Placement Service and approved at the Fostering Panel.
If you have come forward to care for a child who is in the care of the local authority, or who could potentially come into care, you are required to undergo an assessment.
If a looked after child is placed with you in an emergency you are considered to be a Connected Person foster carer from the date that the child was placed. Your fostering assessment should begin following placement and needs to be completed within 16 weeks. This type of placement is referred to as a Regulation 24 placement (CPPRR 2010)
The assessment process will usually start with a Viability Assessment which is carried out by the child's social worker in conjunction with a Placement social worker.
It will include:
- the carer being visited at home on a number of occasions by a placement social worker
- the social worker assessing that the home environment is suitable for the child to live in
- DBS and other checks including medical checks, Housing and Local Authority checks. Personal, ex-partner and employment references
- an assessment of the carers suitability to care for the child.
All Connected Person foster carers will receive support through an allocated placement social worker. They will receive regular home visits from their social worker. Your social worker will provide practical help and advice as well as emotional support.
Connected Person foster carers will receive equipment they need to care for the child and will be offered training opportunities as a local authority foster carers.
Connected person foster carers will also receive a fostering allowance to care for the child.
How long Connected Person Foster Care lasts
Connected Person fostering arrangements could last a few weeks or a few years or longer, depending on the parent's situation and the needs of the child.
If a child is to remain living with a connected foster carer in the long term, the kinship service can advise the carer about legal orders they can apply for to make the care arrangements more secure and permanent. These include special guardianship order, residence order or adoption order.
Alternatively, the connected foster carer may wish to be assessed as a long-term foster carer for the child.
Legal rights you would have for the child
The child's birth parents will retain parental responsibility for the child unless the local authority are issued with a care order, at which point the local authority will share parental responsibility for the child with the birth parents.
Connected Person foster carers will be asked to sign an agreement with social services, called a Placement Agreement Plan, about how the day-to-day responsibilities for the child are to be carried out, for example dental and medical appointments and who will attend school meetings.
Connected Person foster carers are expected to work in partnership with social services to ensure that the child's needs are being met.
Will the child still see the parents?
In most Connected Person foster care arrangements it is important for the child to maintain contact with their birth parents and other significant people in their friend and family network. We will support Connected Person foster carers to promote this through the local authority contact service.