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Undermining children’s safeguarding duties

Major changes to the law concerning the protection of looked after children (among other things) have been brought into effect via the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

Article 39 the Children’s Rights charity has produced a very troubling analysis of these changes (listed below) which can be accessed by clicking here.

A significant dilution / removal of the duties concerning the following:

  • Social worker visits to children in care
  • Routine independent reviews of a child’s care
  • Adoptions – (the duties to ‘approve’ a placement and to prepare a placement plan)
  • Notification of Oftsed of the commission of relevant criminal offences (forstering)
  • Preparing placement plans for kinship care arrangements
  • Children’s homes care standards
  • Twice-yearly Ofsted inspections
  • Independent visits and reports on children’s homes
  • ‘Emergency’ foster care placements
  • Short breaks (these can now last for more than 75 days without triggering the care planning safeguards);
  • Local authority action in relation to children who are privately fostered;
  • Adoption agencies (concerning the need to have adoption panels, and fostering panels);
  • The assessment of the suitability of foster carers;
  • The time limits for holding an independent review of children’s social care complaints
  • ‘Children’s homes’ (ie registered homes) as a place of detention for children potentially infected with COVID-19;
  • Fostering services duty to report infectious disease to Ofsted.