Public children—fostering
Produced in partnership with Maud Davis of TV Edwards LLP
Public children—fostering

The following Family guidance note Produced in partnership with Maud Davis of TV Edwards LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Public children—fostering
  • Looked after children who are fostered
  • Placing in foster care
  • Foster carers whose approval is refused, or terminated—England and Wales
  • Foster carer allowances and fee schemes
  • Early permanence—England
  • Fostering to adopt—Wales

This Practice Note distinguishes between English and Welsh law, which are quite different in many ways, in both statute and regulations, while setting out areas of law that are common to both countries.

Looked after children who are fostered

England and Wales—general

A child is looked after if they are in the local authority’s care (which includes both interim care orders and full care orders), or if they are accommodated by the local authority under any of its social services functions other than certain exceptions. These are:

  1. sections 17, 23B and 24B of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989) (in England)

  2. sections 15, 109, 114 and 115 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (SSW(W)A 2014) (in Wales), and

  3. SSW(W)A 2014, Pt 4 (in Wales)

When balancing the available options, the court must consider the welfare checklist in full, including the proportionality of state interference with rights under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. See also Practice Note: Welfare principle in public law proceedings.


One of the most important local authority duties to accommodate children, other than through care proceedings, is the duty to provide accommodation for any child in need in its area who requires it as a result of the factors set out in ChA 1989, s 20(1). In ChA 1989, s 20 cases,