Southwark's family and friends policy

Southwark has a Family and Friends Policy, which states how we promote and support the needs of children who are cared for by members of their extended families, friends or other people who are connected with them for a variety of reasons and in a variety of different arrangements.

The main principle this policy seeks to promote is that children should be enabled to live with their families unless it isn't consistent with their welfare.

Those who cannot live with their parents should, where appropriate, remain with members of their extended family or friends, as this will provide a better alternative and avoid them growing up within the public care system.

Permanence forms the framework of emotional, physical and legal conditions that give a child a sense of security, continuity, commitment and identity.

For most looked after children, permanence is achieved through a successful return to their birth family, where it has been possible to address the factors which led to the child becoming looked after.

Where this isn't possible, family and friends care will often provide an important alternative route to permanence for the child, particularly where this can be supported by a residence order or a special guardianship order or through adoption.

We feel that support should be based on the needs of the child rather than merely their legal status and should seek to ensure that family and friends carers (whether or not they're approved foster carers) are provided with support to ensure that children don't become, or remain longer than is needed, voluntarily accommodated by the local authority. This will include assistance with obtaining benefits to which the child or carers are entitled.

Children should be active participants and their wishes and feelings should be taken into account in all relevant processes when decisions are being made to solve problems concerning their care.

Page last updated: 18 September 2017