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Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2020

The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2020 make amendments to six sets of regulations. The amendments are being made "in order to assist the children's social care sector during the coronavirus pandemic" and cease to have effect on the 31st March 2021. The regulations come into force on 25 September 2020, except for reg 7 which comes into force on 24 September 2020. They apply to England only.

Regulation 2 amends the Residential Family Centres Regulations 2002 which make provision about the conduct and management of residential family centres. The amendments provide that, where it would be contrary to any guidance relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus published by Public Health England or the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, or not reasonably practicable for a reason relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus, the interview required by regulation 25 of those Regulations may be carried out by telephone, video-link or other electronic means. Any use of the provision must be recorded.

Regulation 3 amends the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005 which set out the process for assessing the suitability of people to adopt a child and the suitability of children to be adopted. Regulation 3 amends the adopter approval process, to enable medical information that currently has to be collected during stage 1 of the approval process to be collected during stage 2 of that process. Any use of the provision must be recorded.

Regulation 4 amends the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 which set out the requirements of the care planning process. The amendments provide that, where it would be contrary to any guidance relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus published by Public Health England or the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, or not reasonably practicable for a reason relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus, the visits required to be carried out under regulation 28 and 48 may be carried out by telephone, video-link or other electronic means. Any use of the provision must be carried out in accordance with any recommendations made by the nominated officer and recorded.

Regulation 5 amends the Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011 which set out the process for approvals as local authority foster parents. The amendments provide that the fostering service provider may move on to collecting the information required by regulation 26(2)(a) of those Regulations even though they have not yet received the medical information required. Any use of the provision must be recorded.

Regulation 6 amends the Children's Homes (England) Regulations 2015 to provide that, where it would be contrary to any guidance relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus published by Public Health England or the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, or not reasonably practicable for a reason relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus, any meeting taking place under regulation 22(1) of those Regulations may be carried out by telephone, video-link or other electronic means. Any use of the provision must be recorded.

Regulation 7 amends regulation 14 of the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 to provide that the amendment made by regulation 12 of those Regulations ceases to have effect on 31st March 2021. Regulation 12 omits regulation 27 of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills (Fees and Frequency of Inspections) (Children's Homes etc) Regulations 2015 which sets out the frequency by which premises must be inspected.
The Secretary of State must review the effectiveness of the amendments made by these Regulations during the period in which the amendments have effect.

For the Amendment No 2 Regulations, click here. For a House of Commons Library briefing concerning the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, click here.

4/9/20