Children Act 1989: Statutory Guidance

Children Act 1989: Guidance (statutory)  and regulations.

This is statutory guidance from the Department for Education. It is issued as guidance under section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 which requires local authorities in exercising their social services functions, to act under the general guidance of the Secretary of State. This guidance should be complied with by local authorities when exercising these functions, unless local circumstances indicate exceptional reasons that justify a variation.


Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations;


Volume 1: Court orders and pre-proceedings for local authorities:

Statutory guidance about court orders and the roles of the police and the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. It provides information about the range of court orders set out in the Children Act. It also describes the principles underpinning the act and the roles of the police and of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass).


Volume 2: Care planning, placement and case review.

Statutory guidance about local authority support to children and families. This guidance sets out the functions and responsibilities of local authorities and partner agencies under Part 3 of the Children Act 1989, which concerns the provision of local authority support for children and families. In particular, it describes how local authorities should carry out their responsibilities in relation to care planning, placement, and case review for looked after children.

These responsibilities are designed to support the local authority in its primary duty set out in section 22(3) of the 1989 Act to safeguard and promote the welfare of the looked after child and to act as good corporate parents to enable each looked after child to achieve his/her full potential in life.

This guidance should be read alongside the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 SI No.955


Volume 3: Planning transition to adulthood for care leavers

Statutory guidance for local authorities on helping care leavers aged 16 and 17 prepare for adulthood. These regulations and guidance are designed to ensure care leavers are given the same level of care and support that their peers would expect from a reasonable parent and that they are provided with the opportunities and chances needed to help them move successfully in to adulthood. The guidance largely concerns information about the support provided to young people who have ceased to be looked after (i.e. those referred to in the legislation as “relevant” and “former relevant” children).

Guidance in relation to young people entitled to support to prepare them to leave care but who remain looked after (i.e. “eligible children”) is included in Volume 2 of the Children Act 1989 Guidance – Care Planning, Placement and Case Review regulations and statutory guidance (‘the Care Planning regulations’). This describes a comprehensive framework of assessment, care planning, intervention and case review that must be followed by local authorities to plan the support they will give to prepare 16 and 17-year-olds for the time when they will not be looked after. This guidance should be read alongside The Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010 No. 2571


Volume 4: Fostering services

Statutory guidance on fostering services for looked-after children. This guidance sets out the functions and responsibilities of local authorities and independent fostering agencies in relation to fostering services for looked-after children. This guidance covers fostering services for children who are looked after by local authorities. This guidance does not cover private fostering arrangements, which are the subject of separate statutory guidance; Statutory guidance Children Act 1989: Private fostering.


Volume 5 - Children’s homes regulations

Statutory guidance for those providing residential children’s homes for vulnerable children including the quality standards. This guide accompanies the Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015. It provides further explanation and information for everyone providing residential child care. The Regulations include Quality Standards which set out the aspirational and positive outcomes that we expect homes to achieve. They also set out the underpinning requirements that homes must meet in order to achieve those overarching outcomes.




Children Act 1989: Private fostering

Statutory guidance for local authorities on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of privately fostered children. The legislation relevant to private fostering is set out in Part 9 of, and Schedule 8 to, the Children Act 1989, and regulations made under Part 9 of that Act. The measures in section 44 of the Children Act 2004 and the Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005 are intended to strengthen and enhance the Children Act 1989 private fostering notification scheme. Along with the National Minimum Standards, they are intended to focus local authorities’ attention on private fostering by requiring them to take a more proactive approach to identifying arrangements in their area.


Children Act 1989: Family and friends care

Statutory guidance for local authorities about family and friends providing care for children who cannot live with their parents. This statutory guidance is for local authorities (LAs) and their staff. It sets out the duties of LAs in the Children Act 1989 regarding children and young people who, because they are unable to live with their parents, are being brought up by; (i) members of their extended families, (ii) friends, (iii) other people who are connected with them. This guidance applies in relation to England only.


Children Act 1989: Special guardianship guidance

Statutory guidance on the special guardianship services local authorities need to provide in accordance with the Children Act 1989. A special guardianship order is an order appointing a person or persons to be a child’s special guardian. Applications may be made by an individual or jointly by two or more people to become special guardians. Joint applicants do not need to be married. Special guardians must be 18 or over. The parents of a child may not become that child's special guardian.


Children Act 1989: Former looked-after children in custody

Statutory guidance for local authorities on children who lose their looked-after status when remanded or sentenced to custody. It applies to children who lose their looked-after status on entering custody. This means children who were; (i) looked-after under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 before being remanded or sentenced to custody, (ii) looked-after by being remanded to local authority care under section 23(1) of the Children and Young Person’s Act 1969 on being sentenced.








Note:  Statutory guidance and regulations are updated as the Acts of parliament upon which they are based are amended (revised). The pdfs we reproduce here may not be the latest version (they are included only to integrate the material into the site as a whole). The above hyperlinks are the latest versions;






Crown copyright material is reproduced here under the Open Government Licence for public sector information.

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.


Right Click

Only subscribers can copy.