Delegated authority

Delegated authority is all about giving children in care as normal a life as possible, with the same opportunities as other children. At The Fostering Network, we have resources, helplines and an online community that can help foster carers understand what day-to-day decisions they can make on behalf of the children and young people in their care.

What is delegated authority?

Delegated authority is the process that enables foster carers to make common sense, everyday decisions about the children and young people they care for, such as allowing them to go to friends’ houses for sleepovers, signing consent forms for school trips and even arranging haircuts.

Holders of parental responsibility can delegate authority to foster carers to undertake such tasks and decisions. Foster carers never have parental responsibility for a fostered child, so they can only take decisions about the fostered child where that authority has been delegated to them by the local authority and/or the parents.

Clarifying who is best placed to take everyday decisions depends on many factors: the young person’s age, views, legal status and care plan, the parents’ views and the experience and views of the foster carers. Collaboration and consultation are essential for successful working partnerships.

How we can help foster carers

Supporting placement planning handbook

Our publication Supporting Placement Planning: Handbook on Delegated Authority is for foster carers and social workers and highlights key legislation and statutory guidance in relation to delegated authority.
We also have a Decision Support Tool which helps foster carers, social workers, parents and young people to talk to each other about delegated authority.

Members can download these resources free of charge.


The Fostering Network can provide an in-house training course on delegated authority, tailored to meet your service’s needs. Contact our training team for more information.

Our helplines

Our member helplines provide confidential and impartial advice for foster carers in the UK.

Our online community

Our members also have exclusive access to our online community where you can log in to share your experience and get advice from other foster carers. The community is a safe and secure area to discuss topics including being a foster carer and looking after a child, as well as advice on finances.