In May 2016, the following was added to the list of factors which the social care worker should take into account before reaching any decision to place the child with a relative friend or other connected person:
'The likelihood of the carer being able to meet the needs of the young person until the age of 18 years'
1. Guidance – Who should be Considered?
The following individuals should be considered as potential carers for a child as an alternative to the child being admitted to Local Authority care:
- Parent(s) of the child;
- Step-parents of the child;
- A person who is not a parent, but has Parental Responsibility;
- Grandparents, whether full or half blood (by marriage or civil partnership);
- Full and half siblings;
- Aunts and uncles, whether full or half blood (by marriage or civil partnership);
- Other Connected Persons.
In reaching any decision to place the child with any of the above, the social care worker should take into account:
- The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child - considered in the light of the child's age and understanding;
- The wishes and feelings of the prospective carer(s);
- The wishes and feelings of other relatives;
- What the likelihood is of the child's relationship with the carer continuing, and the value to the child of its doing so;
- The likelihood of the carer being able to meet the needs of the young person until the age of 18 years;
- Whether the potential carer can provide the child with a secure environment in which the child can develop and have his/her holistic needs met.
In order to reduce delay in care planning for the child, information about possible alternative carers should be sought at the earliest possible opportunity in the context of the Single Assessment and/or the Gateway process of the Public Law Outline.
If addresses for family, friends and other connected persons are not known, efforts should be made to find where individuals live by the following means:
- Undertaking CYPD record checks –both in Derby and in other areas where the family is known to have lived;
- Checking electoral rolls;
- Asking other family members, including older children;
- Searching on the Internet;
- During Court proceedings, seeking an Order that the Department of Work and Pensions disclose an address.
Once in Court proceedings, applications should be routinely made ordering parents/parties to nominate, by a certain date, people they wish to be assessed as carers for the child, in the event of them not being able to care.
In any event, a Local Protocol issued by HHJ Orrell, Derby's Designated Family Judge, stipulates that parents must identify details of extended family members being put forward for assessment, within the parents' response document that are directed to be filed and served in advance of the Case Management Hearing.