Foster carers should understand that each fostering service provider conducts its reviews in their own way. This will be made clear in the agency’s fostering handbook. It is common for the annual review process to be managed by the foster carers supervising social worker. At the minimum level, the carer(s) have to be consulted with – along with any children in placement they have had covering the year of their review.
The annual review process
It is good practice for a fostering service provider to have a discussion with the birth children still living at home. The review is likely to extend to a meeting with the foster carer in their own home. The aim of the review is to take into account any changes that have occurred since the last review. This must include any significant changes within the household. A record should be made of the carer’s progress – training and development made over the course of the year. If a carer needs additional support, this should also be noted.
Before the report is returned to the panel, the foster carer should have sight of it first. The leading charity, The Fostering Network, advises that a carer should be able to read their annual review report two weeks before the panel is date is set. Foster carers are also entitled to submit their own written responses as part of the review for the panel to consider. On the day of the panel meeting, a foster carer is also entitled to bring a supporter to the meeting.
Making changes to a carers terms of approval
It is common practice for carers to be given terms of approval which will specify the number of children, age-range and gender that they can look after. the terms will include any other information pertaining to the type of foster carer they can offer. When carers have been fostering for longer, they may seek to make changes in their terms of approval. As examples, they might want to look after older children or sibling groups. This often happens when carers have completed training courses that allow equip them with the additional skills needed. Where higher levels of training are needed – such as for therapeutic fostering which is meeting the needs of children coming into care have experienced trauma – the carers approval terms will be changed. This can be understood in the context of the significant demands that will be faced by a carer as the children may have been neglected or abused. This can make it hard for them to trust other people and build relationships. This can result in challenging behaviours because their needs are complex. Depression, anger or withdrawn behaviour can be common amongst such children. In such cases, we seek to place a child with a carer who has been trained in therapeutic foster care. The child then has the chance to build a trusting, enduring relationship with their carer. Whilst in placement, a child may receive additional therapy, which can enable them to overcome the traumatic experiences they have undergone.
Changes might also be suggested by the foster carers supervising social worker.
The process of terminating a carers approval
There can be several reasons a carer might have their approval terminated. Most commonly these are a carer retiring, moving to another fostering service provider or an allegation being made. When an allegation is made this can be very distressing for a foster carer. If a judgement goes against a carer then the fostering service provider might want to terminate the approval. But before this can happen, a carer will have had the chance to see any report and include their own written response for the panel to consider. When a carer is unhappy with the decision, they are permitted to make ‘representations’ and inform their service provider that they want them presented to the panel. In England and Wales, the foster carer also has the option of their case being reviewed by the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM). A recommendation will then be made. It is ultimately up to the Agency Decision Maker to make the final decision taking into account all the information available and recommendations made.
In 2020 we’re looking for new applicants in Birmingham, Manchester and Hampshire.
We offer a wide range of professional fostering career choices. You can consider training to foster siblings, or to foster teenagers – perhaps specialising in parent and child placements. Our trained and knowledgeable professionals will discuss your motivations to foster and give you as much information as you want. Just call us on 020 8427 3355 or make use of our National Line 0330 311.
Rainbow Fostering has now been established for over twenty years. We are delighted to have been rated ‘Outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted. This means we are a leading uk fostering agency. And certainly, one we trust you can depend on for all the support and training needed to become an experienced and skilled carer.
We work to ensure that our website is a dynamic and informative resource. Please make use of it and remember it has news – as well as general information about a great many issues that relate to fostering.
Please take the time to visit: http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/news/
For our current Blog recommendation http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/society-owes-foster-children-fair-chance/
More useful general information is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fostering-services-assessment-and-approval-of-foster-carers