The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) Regulations 2015 were published 21 October 2015.
These Regulations make provision about care planing for looked after children (i.e. children who are looked after by a local authority ('LA'), whether or not they are in the care of the LA by virtue of a care order), and associated matters.
They are made under provisions within Part 6 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 ('the 2014 Act'), which replaces, in relation to Wales, the provision formerly made by Part 3 of and Schedule 2 to the Children Act 1989 (as amended in particular by the Children and Young Persons Act 2998) ('the 1998 Act') and under provisions within Part 4 of the 1989 Act.
They are also, in part, consolidating Regulations which revoke and replace provisions in earlier Regulations (details of which are set out in Schedule 11) dealing with care planning, placement decisions and the review of a looked after child's case.
Part 2 deals with the LA's arrangements for looking after the child. It specifies when the La's plan for the care and support of the child (the care and support plan) must be produced (Regulation 4), its content (Regulation 5) and makes provision for the LA to revise the plan and provide copies (Regulation 6). It makes provision for a registered medical practitioner or registered nurse to carry out an assessment of the child’s health, and for the provision of health care (regulation 7). It sets out the steps to be followed when a LA makes a decision under section 34(6) of the 1989 Act to refuse to allow contact with a child (regulations 8 and 9).
Part 3 contains general provisions about placements. It contains provisions about the placement plan to be prepared by the LA (regulation 10), about steps to be taken to avoid disruption of a child’s education as a result of a change in placement (regulation 11), special provisions about placements outside Wales and outside England and Wales (regulations 12 and 13), to whom notification of a placement must be given (regulation 14) and the circumstances in which a placement may be terminated (regulation 15).
Part 4 makes provision about particular types of placement – with parents (regulations 16 to 21), and with local authority foster parents (regulations 22 to 26).It also makes provision about the placement of children with particular prospective adopters in accordance with section 81(11) of the 2014 Act and about the temporary approval of such persons as local authority foster parents in respect of a particular child. It also contains provision about other arrangements under section 81(6)(d) of the 2014 Act (regulation 30).
Part 5 specifies arrangements to be made for a child to be visited by a representative of the LA, the frequency, circumstances and consequences of such visits (regulations 31 to 33 and 35), and the advice and other support that must be made available to the child between such visits (regulation 34). Part 5 also contains details of the considerations a LA must have in mind when deciding whether to appoint an independent visitor for a looked after child.
Part 6 contains provisions about the LA’s reviews of the child’s case – the general responsibility for carrying out reviews (regulation 38), the timing and conduct of reviews, including the role of the independent reviewing officer (regulations 39 to 42) and arrangements for implementing decisions and keeping records of reviews (regulations 43 and 44).
Part 7 sets out arrangements to be made by the LA for ceasing to look after a child. This Part is a re-enactment of provisions which were formerly in the Children (Leaving Care) (Wales) Regulations 2001, which prescribed (in accordance with paragraph 19B of Schedule 2 to the 1989 Act) the criteria required for a child to be designated as an “eligible child” for the purposes of the 1989 Act. The 2014 Act does not replicate the terminology contained within the 1989 Act and regulation 47 of these Regulations specifies the relevant period and age in accordance with section 104(2) of the 2014 Act in order to determine if a child who is looked after by a LA is a category 1 young person for the purposes of the 2014 Act. It contains new obligations for a LA to provide information about the making of and the support available for persons who wish to make a post-18 living arrangement (in accordance with section 108 of the 2014 Act). Part 8 deals with the additional functions, qualifications and experience of independent reviewing officers (regulations 53 and 54) and the definition of an independent visitor appointed under section 98 of the 2014 Act (regulation 55).
Part 9 deals with the application of the Regulations, subject to specified modifications, to children who are remanded to local authority accommodation or youth detention accommodation and to children who are in the care of a local authority who, having been convicted of an offence, are detained in prison or youth detention accommodation or who are required to reside in approved or other specified premises. Part 10 contains miscellaneous provisions including the application of the Regulations (subject to modifications) to short break placements. Part 10 also contains provision about a LA’s responsibilities in relation to the keeping of records.
The Welsh Ministers’ Code of Practice on the carrying out of Regulatory Impact Assessments was considered in relation to these Regulations. As a result, a regulatory impact assessment has been prepared as to the likely costs and benefits of complying with these Regulations. A copy can be obtained from the Department of Health and Social Services, Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ.
The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) Regulations 2015 are available to download here.