What is a connected carer?
A connected carer is a relative, family friend, or anyone else that has an existing connection with the child. If a child cannot return to the care of his or her parents then preference should be given to placing a child with a connected carer, if appropriate, instead of in foster care or up for adoption. This is because every child has a right to grow up in his own family or community if possible.
What is a Regulation 24 carer?
A regulation 24 carer is a connected carer who has been temporarily approved as a Local Authority foster carer in circumstances in which the Local Authority share parental responsibility for a child. A child can be placed with a regulation 24 carer for a period not exceeding 16 weeks pending a full assessment of their suitability being undertaken. These types of placement are therefore interim placements only and are usually put in place to secure a child’s welfare whilst care proceedings are ongoing.
What happens after 16 weeks has concluded?
The Local Authority can extend temporary approval of a regulation 24 carer for a further period of 8 weeks if it does not feel it has completed the necessary assessment. If the assessment is positive the Local Authority are likely to recommend that the child remain in the care of the connected carer under a final Care Order, therefore affording the carer similar rights to a Local Authority foster carer including the right to financial support.
We regularly advise and represent connected carers to ensure that they have the correct package of financial and practical support, understand and have a voice in Court proceedings and to ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved at the end of care proceedings which will afford them a chance of successfully caring for the child. Legal aid is available in some circumstances and it may be possible to obtain financial support from the Local Authority for legal advice – please do ask us.
Contact our Fostering and Reg 24 Solicitors in Wakefield on 01924 332395.