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This is a legal term that means someone has a significant connection with a looked after child. This is because they are:
- A relative
- A family friend
- Or someone else who has a pre-existing relationship with the child. For example, a childminder.
If children’s services think it is not safe for a looked after child to live with either of their parents, the law says that children’s services should first consider placing the child with a relative or other connected person (if they are an approved foster carer) rather than with unrelated or ‘stranger’ foster carers (i.e. someone the child doesn’t know).
Relatives and friends can ask to be assessed and approved as foster carers (for that child). If the child needs to be placed straight away and there is not time for a full assessment, the relative (or other connected person) can sometimes be approved as a temporary foster carer. The social worker will need to carry out some immediate checks, however. The relative will also need to undergo a full fostering assessment if the child is to remain with them in the longer term.