The Children (Leaving Care) (England) Regulations 2001
8th August 2001
Laid before Parliament
8th August 2001
Coming into force
1st October 2001
The Secretary of State, in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 23A(3), 23B(5), (6), (8)(c), (10), 23D(2), 23E, 24B(6), 24D(2) and 104(4) of, and paragraphs 19B(2), (3), (7) and (8) of Schedule 2 to, the Children Act 1989(1) and of all other powers enabling him in that behalf, hereby makes the following Regulations:
Citation, commencement and extent
1. (1) These Regulations may be cited as the Children (Leaving Care) (England) Regulations 2001 and shall come into force on 1st October 2001.
(2) These Regulations extend to England only.
2. (1) In these Regulations, unless the context otherwise requires—
“the Act” means the Children Act 1989;
“placement” means the provision of accommodation and maintenance by a local authority for a child they are looking after by any of the means specified in section 23(2) (a) to (d) or (f) of the Act;
(a) in relation to an eligible child(2 ) , means the local authority looking after him; and
(b) in relation to a relevant child(3 ) or a former relevant child(4 ) , has the meaning given to it by section 23A(4) of the Act.
(2) In these Regulations, a reference—
(a) to a numbered regulation or Schedule is to the regulation in, or Schedule to, these Regulations bearing that number;
(b) in a regulation or Schedule to a numbered paragraph, is to the paragraph in that regulation or Schedule bearing that number.
3. (1) For the purposes of paragraph 19B(2) (b) of Schedule 2 to the Act, the prescribed period is 13 weeks and the prescribed age is 14.
(2) A child falling within paragraph (3) is not an eligible child despite falling within paragraph 19B(2) of Schedule 2 to the Act.
(3) A child falls within this paragraph if he has been looked after by a local authority in circumstances where—
(a) the local authority has arranged to place him in a pre-planned series of short-term placements, none of which individually exceeds four weeks (even though they may amount in all to the prescribed period) ; and
(b) at the end of each such placement the child returns to the care of his parent, or a person who is not a parent but who has parental responsibility for him.
4. (1) For the purposes of section 23A(3) , children falling within paragraph (2) are an additional category of relevant children.
(2) Subject to paragraph (3) a child falls within this paragraph if—
(a) he is aged 16 or 17;
(b) he is not subject to a care order(5 ) ; and
(c) at the time when he attained the age of 16 he was detained or in hospital and immediately before he was detained or admitted to hospital he had been looked after by a local authority for a period or periods amounting in all to at least 13 weeks, which began after he reached the age of 14.
(3) In calculating the period of 13 weeks referred to in paragraph (2) (c) , no account is to be taken of any period in which the child was looked after by a local authority in any of a pre-planned series of short-term placements, none of which individually exceeded four weeks, where at the end of each such placement the child returned to the care of his parent, or a person who is not a parent but who has parental responsibility for him.
(4) For the purposes of this regulation—
(a) “detained” means detained in a remand centre, a young offenders institution or a secure training centre(6 ) , or any other institution pursuant to an order of a court; and
(b) “hospital” means—
(i) any health service hospital within the meaning of the National Health Service Act 1977(7 ) ; or
(ii) any mental nursing home being a home in respect of which the particulars of registration are for the time being entered in the separate part of the register kept for the purposes of section 23(5) (b) of the Registered Homes Act 1984(8 ).
(5) Subject to paragraph (7) , any child who has lived with a person falling within section 23(4) of the Act(9 ) (“a family placement”) for a continuous period of six months or more is not to be a relevant child despite falling within section 23A(2) of the Act.
(6) Paragraph (5) applies whether the period of six months commences before or after a child ceases to be looked after by a local authority.
(7) Where a family placement within the meaning of paragraph (5) breaks down and the child ceases to live with the person concerned, the child is to be treated as a relevant child.
Assessments and pathway plans—general
5. (1) The responsible authority must prepare a written statement describing the manner in which the needs of each eligible and relevant child will be assessed.
(2) The written statement must include, in relation to each child whose needs are to be assessed, information about, in particular—
(a) the person responsible for the conduct and co-ordination of the assessment;
(b) the timetable for the assessment;
(c) who is to be consulted for the purposes of the assessment;
(d) the arrangements for recording the outcome of the assessment;
(e) the procedure for making representations in the event of a disagreement.
(3) The responsible authority must make a copy of the statement available to the child and the persons specified in regulation 7(5).
(4) Nothing in these Regulations shall prevent the carrying out of any assessment or review under these Regulations at the same time as any assessment, review or consideration under any other enactment.
Involvement of the child or young person
6. (1) The responsible authority in carrying out an assessment and in preparing or reviewing a pathway plan shall, unless it is not reasonably practicable—
(a) seek and have regard to the views of the child or young person to whom it relates; and
(b) take all reasonable steps to enable him to attend and participate in any meetings at which his case is to be considered.
(2) The responsible authority shall without delay provide the child or young person with copies of—
(a) the results of his assessment,
(b) his pathway plan, and
(c) each review of his pathway plan,
and shall ensure that the contents of each document are explained to him in accordance with his level of understanding unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so.
Assessment of needs
7. (1) The responsible authority shall assess the needs of each eligible child, and each relevant child who does not already have a pathway plan, in accordance with these Regulations.
(2) The assessment is to be completed—
(a) in the case of an eligible child, not more than three months after the date on which he reaches the age of 16 or becomes an eligible child after that age; and
(b) in the case of a relevant child who does not already have a pathway plan, not more than three months after the date on which he becomes a relevant child.
(3) Each responsible authority shall ensure that a written record is kept of—
(a) the information obtained in the course of an assessment;
(b) the deliberations at any meeting held in connection with any aspect of an assessment; and
(c) the results of the assessment.
(4) In carrying out an assessment the responsible authority shall take account of the following considerations—
(a) the child’s health and development(10 ) ;
(b) the child’s need for education, training or employment;
(c) the support available to the child from members of his family and other persons;
(d) the child’s financial needs;
(e) the extent to which the child possesses the practical and other skills necessary for independent living; and
(f) the child’s needs for care, support and accommodation.
(5) The responsible authority shall, unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so, seek and take into account the views of—
(a) the child’s parents;
(b) any person who is not a parent but has parental responsibility for the child;
(c) any person who on a day to day basis cares for, or provides accommodation for the child;
(d) any school or college attended by the child, or the local education authority for the area in which he lives;
(e) any independent visitor appointed for the child(11 ) ;
(f) any person providing health care or treatment to the child;
(g) the personal adviser(12 ) appointed for the child; and
(h) any other person whose views the responsible authority, or the child consider may be relevant.
8. (1) A pathway plan prepared under paragraph 19B of Schedule 2 to, or section 23B of, the Act, must be prepared as soon as possible after the assessment and must include, in particular, the matters referred to in the Schedule.
(2) The pathway plan must, in relation to each of the matters referred to in the Schedule, set out—
(a) the manner in which the responsible authority proposes to meet the needs of the child; and
(b) the date by which, and by whom, any action required to implement any aspect of the plan will be carried out.
(3) The pathway plan must be recorded in writing.
Review of pathway plans
9. (1) The responsible authority shall review the pathway plan of each eligible, relevant and former relevant child in accordance with this regulation.
(2) The responsible authority shall arrange a review—
(a) if requested to do so by the child or young person;
(b) if it, or the personal adviser considers a review necessary; and
(c) in any other case, at intervals of not more than six months.
(3) In carrying out a review, the responsible authority shall, to the extent it considers it appropriate to do so, seek and take account of the views of the persons mentioned in regulation7(5).
(4) The responsible authority conducting a review must consider—
(a) in the case of an eligible or relevant child, whether, in relation to each of the matters set out in the Schedule, any change to the pathway plan is necessary; and
(b) in the case of a former relevant child, whether in relation to the matters set out in paragraphs 1, 3 and 4 of the Schedule, any change to the pathway plan is necessary.
(5) The results of the review must be recorded in writing.
Retention and confidentiality of records
10. (1) Records relating to assessments, pathway plans and their review shall be retained by the responsible authority until the seventy-fifth anniversary of the date of birth of the child or young person to whom they relate, or if the child dies before attaining the age of 18, for a period of fifteen years beginning with the date of his death.
(2) The requirement in paragraph (1) may be complied with by retaining the original written records or copies of them, or by keeping all or part of the information contained in them in some other accessible form such as a computer record.
(3) The records mentioned in paragraph (1) must be kept securely and may not be disclosed to any person except in accordance with—
(a) any provision of, or made under, or by virtue of, a statute under which access to such records is authorised; or
(b) any court order authorising access to such records.
Support and accommodation
11. (1) For the purposes of section 23B(8) (c) (support for relevant children) , the responsible local authority must provide assistance in order to meet the child’s needs in relation to education, training or employment as provided for in his pathway plan.
(2) For the purposes of section 23B(10) , “suitable accommodation” means accommodation—
(a) which so far as reasonably practicable is suitable for the child in the light of his needs, including his health needs and any needs arising from any disability;
(b) in respect of which the responsible authority has satisfied itself as to the character and suitability of the landlord or other provider; and
(c) in respect of which the responsible authority has so far as reasonably practicable taken into account the child's—
(i) wishes and feelings; and
(ii) education, training or employment needs.
(3) For the purposes of section 24B(5) (provision of vacation accommodation) —
(a) “higher education” means education provided by means of a course of a description referred to in regulations made under section 22 of the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998(13 ) ;
(b) “further education” has the same meaning as in the Education Act 1996(14 ) save that for the purposes of this regulation it only includes further education which is provided on a full-time residential basis.
Functions of personal advisers
12. A personal adviser shall have the following functions(15 ) in relation to an eligible or a relevant child or a young person who is a former relevant child—
(a) to provide advice (including practical advice) and support;
(b) where applicable, to participate in his assessment and the preparation of his pathway plan;
(c) to participate in reviews of the pathway plan;
(d) to liaise with the responsible authority in the implementation of the pathway plan;
(e) to co-ordinate the provision of services, and to take reasonable steps to ensure that he makes use of such services;
(f) to keep informed about his progress and wellbeing; and
(g) to keep a written record of contacts with him.
13. (1) The Representations Procedure (Children) Regulations 1991(16 ) shall be amended as follows.
(2) In regulation 2 (interpretation) —
(a) in the definition of “complainant”, for “qualifying for advice and assistance” substitute “falling within section 23A, 23C, 24, or 24B(3) of the Act making any representations”;
(b) in the definition of “representations”, for “24(14) ” substitute “24D(1) ”.
(3) After regulation 3 (local authority action) , there shall be inserted the following new regulation—
“Local resolution 3A. (1) Where a local authority receive any representation from a person specified in section 24D(1) they shall—
(a) provide the person appointed under regulation 3(1) with a written summary of the representation;
(b) endeavour by informal means to reach a settlement to the satisfaction of the complainant within 14 days; and
(c) if at the end of 14 days no resolution has been achieved, notify the person appointed under regulation 3(1).”.
(4) In regulation 4 (preliminaries) , in paragraph (1) for the words from “a local authority” to “they” substitute—
“(a) a person to whom it applies is dissatisfied with the outcome of the procedure set out in regulation 3A; or
(b) a local authority receive representations from any other complainant, except from a person to whom section 26(3) (e) may apply,
the local authority”.
14. Where a child who becomes a former relevant child on or before 1st January 2002 does not already have a pathway plan, the local authority shall (as the circumstances require) assess his needs and prepare a pathway plan for him in accordance with these regulations as if he were (as the case may be) still an eligible child or a relevant child.
Signed by authority of the Secretary of State for Health
Jacqui SmithMinister of StateDepartment of Health8th August 2001