What Decisions can I Make?


Many foster carers and children who are looked after face obstacles to everyday activities, like going for haircuts, school trips and sleepovers, which can make children’s lives more difficult.

Delegated authority is the term used when the responsibility for making day to day decisions about a child/young person is passed to you.

An officer of the local authority such as a social worker can pass the delegated authorities onto you if they have an Emergency Protection Order or a Care Order. If they don’t have an order the only person that can pass the delegated authorities on is the person with Parental Responsibility which is usually the parent.

It is the social workers responsibility to work with parents sensitively to make sure you are well prepared and clear about what decisions you can make. The Kent County Council Standard Agreement on Delegated Authority for Children in Care sets out who can make which decisions and the Placement Planning meeting which is held when a child is placed with you should clearly state what decisions you can make about everyday life.

This includes things like when a child wants to stay with a friend; use of social media and decisions around education. You can make a decision as any good parent would about whether this is safe and appropriate. Further Information is available in the Delegated Authority: Frequently Asked Questions guide. All decisions to delegate authority should be recorded in the Placement Plan.

How this can help:

  • Reduces delays in decisions being made;
  • Reduces the emotional stress delays can cause to the child/young person;
  • Reduces the stress for you and your family;
  • Acknowledges you as a professional and part of a team working with the child;
  • Normalises the child/young person’s experience of being in foster care;
  • Better use of resources and people’s time.

The law says that the person who has care of the child (you) can do what is reasonable in all circumstances for the purpose of safeguarding and promoting the child’s welfare. This means in an emergency if no agreement has been made about what to do, you should do what is reasonable.

If the young person is 16 there are some things that they can give consent to in their own right. Younger children may be able to consent if they are of sufficient age and understanding. This will be for the medical professional to decide, depending on the individual circumstances. They can also consent to their own Care Plan if there is no court order.

Delegated authorities should be consistently monitored in case there is a need for change and discussed at the child’s review or with the child’s social worker if the decision needs to be taken quickly.

Appendices

The Kent County Council Standard Agreement on Delegated Authority for Children in Care

Delegated Authority: Frequently Asked Questions

Parent’s Guide to Delegated Authority when your child is placed in the care of Kent County Council