Delegated Authority in Foster Care: Empowering Carers and Supporting Children

Published 26 Mar 2023

Delegated authority is a crucial aspect of foster care, as it enables foster carers to make everyday decisions on behalf of the children and young people in their care. By providing clarity on the roles and responsibilities of foster carers and parents, delegated authority encourages collaboration and promotes the best interests of the child. In this blog, we will explore the concept of delegated authority, its benefits, and the factors contributing to successful implementation.

Understanding Delegated Authority in Foster Care

Delegated authority is the process that allows foster carers to make common sense, everyday decisions about the children and young people in their care. This can include tasks such as allowing children to go to friends' houses, signing consent forms for school trips, and arranging haircuts. Foster carers do not have parental responsibility passed to them for a fostered child.

The Importance of Delegated Authority

Delegated authority is essential for several reasons:

1. Empowering foster carers: It enables foster carers to feel empowered and confident in making decisions that affect the children's daily lives in their care. This helps to create a nurturing and supportive environment for the child.

2. Promoting normality: Delegated authority allows children in foster care to experience a sense of normality and participate in everyday activities with their friends, promoting their social development and emotional well-being.

3. Reducing delay in decision-making.

4. Encouraging collaboration: By clarifying roles and responsibilities, delegated authority fosters collaboration between foster carers, local authorities, and birth parents, ensuring that the best interests of the child are always prioritised.


Factors Influencing Delegated Authority

There are several factors that can influence the level of delegated authority granted to foster carers:

1. The child's age: Older children may be more capable of making certain decisions independently, so delegated authority may vary depending on the age of the child.

2. The child's views: It is important to consider the child's perspective when delegating authority, as this can help to ensure that their needs and preferences are respected.

3. Legal status and care plan: The child's legal status and care plan may impact the extent of delegated authority, as certain decisions may need to be made by specific individuals or agencies.

4. Parents' views: The opinions of birth parents should be taken into account when delegating authority, as they may have valuable insights into their child's needs and preferences.

5. Foster carers' experience and views: The experience and views of the foster carers may also influence delegated authority, as more experienced carers may be better equipped to make certain decisions.


Successful Implementation of Delegated Authority

To ensure the successful implementation of delegated authority, the following steps should be taken:

1. Clear communication: Foster carers, local authorities, and birth parents should communicate openly and regularly to establish a shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities involved in the child's care.

2. Training and support: Foster carers should receive appropriate training and support to help them understand the scope of their delegated authority and how to make informed decisions on behalf of the child.

3. Regular review: Delegated authority arrangements should be regularly reviewed and adjusted as needed to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of the child and promote their best interests.


Delegated authority plays a pivotal role in foster care, as it empowers foster carers to make everyday decisions that promote the well-being and development of the children in their care.  If you are interested in becoming a foster carer with an Independent Fostering Agency that has been rated Outstanding by Ofsted then please get in touch.

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