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Foster care basic terminology for fostering explained 2

Foster care the basic terminology 2

Foster care explaining terminology 2

Foster carers would all probably agree that; and this is true of nearly all occupations, the world of fostering has its own unique language and jargon. There are plenty of acronyms that are used by service providers, local authorities, social workers and other professionals in the foster care sector. The terminology can be confusing for anyone new to fostering and carers are often left to slowly acquire the vocabulary over time. This is not ideal and so this short series of blogs aims to introduce the main terms and acronyms in current usage. A brief explanation will also be provided where necessary – such as the scope of a job role such as RM (Registered Manager)

Foster care abbreviations.

Young person- usually refers to a teenager (YP); Independent Fostering Agency (IFA); Local Authority (LA) are used commonly. ADM – this stands for Agency Decision Maker. For all fostering applicants, this is a key role as this will be the person who will make the decision as to whether an applicant will be ‘Approved’ to foster. They are the person within a fostering service who makes decisions on the basis of the Fostering Panel’s recommendations. An Agency Decision Maker is able to make a different decision one recommended by the Panel. The National minimum standards for Fostering 2011 state that the ADM for a fostering services provider should be a senior individual who is a social worker a minimum of three years post-qualifying experience working in childcare social work, They must have knowledge of childcare law and practice.

FC – Foster carer either working with a local authority or an Independent Fostering Agency. A Foster carer is someone who has been vetted and ‘Approved’ to foster – providing care for a child or young person.

LAC – ‘Looked After Child’. This is a child who is accommodated by the local authority where they live. This can be with one of the authority’s own foster carers, or those with a particular IFA. A child coming into care will be subject to either an Interim Care Order (ICO), a full Care Order (CO) or an Emergency Protection Order (EPO). A Child may also be remanded by a court into local authority accommodation or in certain circumstances, Youth Detention Accommodation. Looked After Children  can be placed with foster parents – including relatives and friends under Kinship Care arrangements, in Children’s Homes or in secure accommodation. 

LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer). All local authorities in England have ‘designated officers’ whose role is involved in the management – along with the oversight – of individual cases where allegations of abuse have been made against individuals working with children.

Looked After Review. These can also be referred to as Statutory Reviews. They are held at regular, specified intervals and relate to foster children. The Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) will normally chair the Review. Its purpose is to make sure that the plans in place to safeguard and promote the welfare of a child are adequate. Recommendations may be made from time to time to change aspects of the Care Plan (CP). Looked After Reviews take place at these intervals: 

  • within twenty eight-days of a child becoming Looked After;
  • following that, within 3 months of the initial review; 
  • any subsequent reviews should be conducted not more than 6 months after any previous review has been held.

The IRO (Independent Reviewing Officer).

If an IRO requests it, a review can take place sooner if it is judged by the social worker that there is a risk to the child’s welfare and they are not being adequately safeguarded. The requirement for Looked After reviews end when a child or young person ceases to be Looked After. In some cases where a local authority can place for the adoption of a child, there will be a requirement to hold adoption reviews on a regular basis.

IRO (Independent Reviewing Officer). When a local authority has a child in care it must appoint an Independent Reviewing Officer who will be responsible for that child’s case. The role of the IRO was extended in April 2011. It now has two separate aspects: chairing the Review of a Looked After Child and monitoring its case on an ongoing basis. The IRO has the responsibility of identifying areas of pro practice. This could include more general concerns about fostering service delivery. All IROs have to be qualified social workers. They can be employed by a local authority but cannot have line management responsibility fo a child’s case.

Foster with Rainbow for a rewarding career.

Maybe you’ve been thinking about fostering for some time. If so, and you’re ready to enquire further, please get in touch. There is no obligation to proceed – you might simply want to find out more information about what fostering involves. We’d be glad to answer any questions you might have.

There are a great many children and young people who need to be found a loving and secure foster home. Right from babies up to teenagers. our children come from a very wide range of backgrounds. Most often they have come into care due to unfortunate or unforeseen circumstances. This means they feel sad, lonely and lost. A growing number come into care having suffered trauma and need time and space to recover with foster carers who will devote themselves to meeting their needs.

Rainbow is supporting foster care placements in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Hampshire. Our Team at Rainbow now has well over two decades of experience. Rainbow has been rated ‘Outstanding in all areas’ by Ofsted. This means our applicants and foster carers can depend on receiving the best support, guidance and training available.

Find out more about the varied career opportunities fostering now offers. Call our team on 0330 311 2845 today. 

Fostering is open to people who are (over 21) married, divorced, single or cohabiting. You can foster children or young people whatever your sexual orientation, ethnicity or cultural background. There is no upper age limit to being a foster carer. You should be reasonably fit. You do not have to own your own home.

Now another national lockdown is in force, we are holding initial interviews online via Skype. So you can apply to foster with us right now. It’s an easy process – a member of our recruitment team will be available to help you.

Today’s recommended blog can be found at:

Please make sure and check the latest advice and guidance to stay safe and well – visit –

Foster care: contact.

All our contact details and regional office locations can be found via the link below. If you prefer, you can leave your contact details on our website and arrange for a member of our team to call you later at a time to suit you. We very much look forward to hearing from you! 

Remember Hands, Face, Space – protect the NHS.

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