Regulations and Rules

New regulations on adoption and fostering are due to come into effect between April and July 2019. This page will be updated accordingly.

Regulations and rules made under Acts are known as ‘secondary’ or ‘subordinate’ legislation. They are written in documents known as statutory instruments. This page lists the relevant regulations and rules in children’s social care, within different caegories. Where indicated, some of these sets of regulations are supported by guidance.

Placing looked-after children

Before 6 April 2016:

Placement of Children (Wales) Regulations 2007 SI 2007/310 (W.27)

Sets out the details of what a local authority must consider when it is finding and maintaining any placement for a child, including health and education considerations. These regulations apply to local authority foster care placements and to resdential homes, but not to adoption placements. If the child is being placed with someone who already has a parental role, the next set of regulations might apply as well:

Placement of Children with Parents etc Regulations 1991 SI 1991/893 [revoked in England 2010]

These set out detailed requirements where a child is looked after while a care order or interim care order is in force, but is being placed by the local authority with someone who has parental responsiblity for the child.

Since 6 April 2016:

The above regulations are replaced by the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) Regulations 2015 1818 (W261) – specifically regulations: 4-15; 22 -30; 25 – 28 and 8-9.

Children’s Homes (Wales) Regulations 2002 SI 2002/327 (W40)

These regulations are issued under the Care Standards Act 2000 and are the basis for the regulation ans inspection of children’s homes. A children’s home is one that provides care and accommodation for children but not by their parents or foster carers. The following are not classed as ‘children’s homes’: establishments providing short-term overnight care, holidays, or other activities for less than 28 days a year in relation to any one child, and most establishments providing accommodation for those aged 16 or over unless, in either case, the establishment mainly accommodates children who are disabled. Further education colleges and establishments for young offenders are also excluded. The regulations are supported by national minimum standards.

Reviews: before 6 April 2016

Review of Children’s Cases (Wales) Regulations 2007 SI 2007/307 (W26)

These set out the planning and reviewing duties of the local authority while a child is looked after, including the role of the independent reviewing officer.

Reviews: From 6 April 2016

Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) Regulations 2015 1818 (W261) specifically regulations 53-54 and 38-44

Fostering services and foster carers

Fostering Services (Wales) Regulations 2003 SI 2003/237 (W35)

These set out the fostering agency’s responsiblities.

Note that under an important amendment to Reg 38, from 6 April 2016 there are new regulations for approving a temporary foster carer under Regs 24 – 27 Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2015 (above).

Independent Review of Determinations (Adoption and Fostering) Regulations Wales 2010 S1 2010/746 (W 75)

These regulations are about the procedures where a foster carer is not reappointed by the fostering panel. They are the basis for the Independent Reviewing Mechanism.

Leaving care

There are different regulations about the entitlements of young people when they are about to leave, or have left care, according to factors such as their age and needs, and how long they were looked after.

Before 6 April 2016 there were different provisions for these groups of young people:

  • eligible children – aged 16 and 17 and in care
  • relevant children- aged 16 and 17 who have left care
  • former relevant children – aged 18- 21 who were eligible or relevant
  • qualifying children – other young people who may qualify for assistance

The Children (Leaving Care) (Wales) Regulations 2001 No. 2189 (W. 151)

These are the regulations that were passed under the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 to insert new sections into the Children Act 1989 which set out the duties of local authorities toward young people who will be leaving or have left care.

The Children (Leaving Care) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2002 No. 1855 (W. 179) –

Amends the regulations to include a young person who returned home but for less than six months as a ‘relevant child’.

The Children (Leaving Care) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2004 No.1732 (W. 175) –

These Regulations make a minor amendment to 2001 Regulations above. They exclude children who would be eligible as “relevant children” (as defined in section 23A of the Children Act 1989) by virtue of being in hospital or in a form of detention on attaining the age of 16 and by having had a qualifying period of accommodation by a local authority, but where the qualifying period is made up entirely of short placements after which the child returned home.

From 6 April 2016, the regulations above are replaced by Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) Regulations 2015 1818 (W261) specifically regulations 45 – 52 and the The Care Leavers (Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1820). Note that there is substantial guidance on these regulations in the Part 6 Code of Practice, Chapter 5.

Other regulations about looked-after children

The Advocacy Services and Representations Procedure (Children) (Wales) Regulations 2004 SI 1448 –

These regulations set out the assistance that a young person should be given if they are making a complaint about the local authority, including their rights to independent advocacy.

It appears that these Advocacy Regulations have been revoked but we are unable to find the new ones and are making enquiries.

Before 6 April 2016:

Visits to former looked-after children in detention (Wales) Regulations 2011 SI no. 699 (W106) –

Regulations made under section 23ZA of the Children 1989 which placed a duty on a local authority to assist children who no longer have ‘looked after’ status because they are in custody or prison. Children who are detained should have regular visits by a representative of the local authority and have access to advice, support and assistance.

From 6 April 2016:

The Visits to Children in Detention (Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1823)

Children in long-stay special residential schools, hospitals or care homes

Visits to Children in Long-Term Residential Care Regulations 2011 SI 2011 1010 [applies in England as well as in Wales] –

Sections 85 and 86 of the Children 1989 Act provide that when children in England and Wales are not looked-after, but are accommodated by health authorities or by local authorities exercising education functions (s 85) or in a care home or independent hospital (s 86) for a consecutive period of at least three months, this must be notified to the relevant local authority. The ‘relevant local authority’ is where the child is ordinarily resident and these regulations place duties on it to ensure that there are regular visits. These regulations are explained in a memorandum issued in 2011.

These regulations are supported by statutory guidance.

Private fostering

Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) (Wales) Regulations 2006

These apply when a person who does not have parental responsibility has a child living with them for more than 28 days.

Disqualification from Caring for Children (Wales) Regulations 2004 –

Under regulation 4, a person convicted of certain offences is disqualified from private fostering. [The rest of these regulation have been repealed.]

Special guardianship

Special Guardianship (Wales) Regulations 2005 SI 1513 (W157) –

Regulations for the provision of support services for special guardians, and about the special guardianship report required by the court.

New updated regulations from 2 July 2018:

The Special Guardianship (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 SI No. 473 (W102)


Adoption Agencies (Wales) Regulations 2005 SI 1313 (W95)

These are the regulations about local authority adoption services, issued under the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

Adoption Agencies (Panel and Consequential Amendments) (Wales) Regulations 2012 No. 1905 (W 232) –

This amendment removed Panels’ power to make ‘best interests’ decisions re child in care proceedings. Decisions are now made by the agency decision maker. Panels continue to make recommendations on matching children and prospective adopters.

Voluntary Adoption Agencies (Wales) Regulations 2003 SI 1819 (W. 147)

These are the regulations about adoption services managed by charitable organisations such as St Davids and Barnardos.

Adoption Support Services (Local Authority) (Wales) Regulations 2005 SI 1512 (W116) –

Regulations for the provision of support services for adoptive families and also for birth parents of children who are being adopted.

The Adoption and Children Act 2002 (Joint Adoption Arrangements) Wales Direction 2015

This sets out the legal framework for the National Adoption Service for Wales, which was introduced in October 2014.

Other regulations about children’s social care

The Integrated Family Support Teams (Review of Cases) (Wales) Regulations 2012 SI No.205 (W.35) –

These are the regulations about reviews of cases by the Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS). They do not apply to looked- after children. Referrals of children in need of support can be made to the IFSS teams, which provide targeted support and help connect children and adult services, focusing on the family as a unit.

Social Services Complaints Procedures (Wales) Regulations 2014 – SI No 1794 (W187)

These regulations explains how a local authority must respond to a complaint it receives about a social care service or need.

The Representation Procedure (Wales) Regulations 2014 SI No. 1795 (W188) –

This is a relatively new procedure which local authorities must follow in the consideration of representations (including complaints) made to them about the discharge of specific functions under the Children Act 1989 and the Adoption and Children Act 2002. These regulations are supported by statutory guidance.

The Care and Support (Assessment) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1305) –

These regulations support Part 3 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, assessing the needs of individuals for care and support.

The Care and Support (Eligibility) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1578)


The Care and Support (Care Planning) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1335) –

These regulations support Part 4 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, meeting needs for care and support.


The previous Services for Carers and Children’s Services (Direct Payments) (Wales) Regulations 2011 and The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children (Wales) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/1674

are replaced by the regulations and codes of practice issued under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

The Disabled Facilities Grants (Maximum Amounts and Additional Purposes) (Wales) Order No.2370 (W.205) –

Specifies the maximum amounts of grant (currently £36,000) that may be applied for under the Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act 1996.

You can find the regulations about children’s services for inspection purposes on the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) website.

Court rules

The Family Courts Procedure Rules set out the courts’ requirements of judges and lawyers in the Family Court, the High Court (Family Division) and any appeals in family cases heard by the Court of Appeal. The rules are supplemented by Practice Directions which explain required practice in detail.