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Delegated authority

Delegated authority means allowing foster carers to make day-to-day decisions about a looked after child in their care. The foster carer does not have parental responsibility for the child. But they can make decisions such as whether a child can go on a school trip. For children who live in children’s homes, the manager will have delegated authority.

The idea is that allowing the foster carer to make common-sense decisions is much better for the child. It means the child does not miss out and is not made to feel different to their classmates and friends.

Delegated authority does not allow foster carers to take major decisions, such as a change of school. These remain matters for whoever has parental responsibility.

The child’s placement plan should set out how day-to-day decisions will be made. This includes matters that the foster carer can decide. Wherever possible, birth families should be involved in discussions about how decisions will be taken. If the child is accommodated by children’s services under a voluntary arrangement, the position is different. The birth family must be involved in all decision-making.

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