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4.3.6 Numbers of Children in Foster Placements

Please see relevant section of Forms Library to access the required template.


  1. Key Points
  2. Procedure for Authorising over the Usual Fostering Limit

1. Key Points

  1. When planning to place a child, consideration must be given to the "usual fostering limit" of three children. The limit does not apply if the children are siblings. This does not mean that the placement of three in a foster home should be taken as the norm. In many cases the welfare of a child needing placement will be best served by being the only foster child in the family. Where more than one child is to be placed, the interests of both must be carefully considered and weighed. The needs of the foster carers' own children must also be considered. These points should be borne in mind in decisions to approve a foster parent for the placement of two or more children who are unrelated.
  2. Local authorities have power under paragraph 4 of Schedule 7 to grant exemption from the usual fostering unit. The factors to be taken into account in considering whether to grant exemption are set out in paragraph 4 of Schedule 7. These are:
    1. The number, ages and circumstances of children whom the person proposes to foster
    2. The arrangements that the person proposes for the care and accommodation of the fostered child/ren
    3. The intended and likely relationships between the person and the fostered children;
    4. The period of time for, which they propose to foster the children
    5. Whether the welfare of the fostered children (and any other children who are or will be living in the accommodation will be safeguarded and promoted; and if, there are within the foster home any other child care activities (e.g. child minding) which might influence a foster carers capacity to provide sufficient care for children fostered.

2. Procedure for Authorising over the Usual Fostering Limit

  1. Where it is decided to place a child in a foster home which would take a child/ren above the 'usual fostering limit (see key point 2 above for factors), the fostering social worker will apply for an exemption to the Foster Carer’s Terms of Approval for that particular child, having discussed the matter with the Fostering Team Leader. The fostering social worker will complete the Exemption Notice Form, which should be signed and agreed by the Service Manager or the Area Manager with responsibility for childcare.
  2. The signed Exemption Notice will be returned to the Fostering Team by the Service Manager or the Area Manager.

    The fostering social worker will send copies to:
    1. The Child's Social Worker
    2. The Foster Carer
    3. Information Monitoring
  3. Before the exemption period expires, consideration must be given to the application for a further Exemption Notice within the context of the Care Plan for the child and the longer term appropriateness of the placement (repeat procedure steps 1 & 2)
  4. Where it is proposed to place a child in a foster home, where the foster carer is also registered as a child minder, the number of children in the household should be limited to six at any time. This includes the foster carer's own children, and applies to all children in the household aged 14 and under. There should be no more than three children under 5 in the household and no more than two under 12 months at any one time.