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12.6 Foster Carer Case Files

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter explains the process for initiating case records for a prospective foster carer from the point of enquiry. It also covers maintaining the case record and the expectation of what information should be held and for how long.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE

Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011, Regulation 30 and 32

Fostering National Minimum Standards 2011, Standard 26

The Children Act 1989 Guidance Volume 4 (2011) Chapter 5

AMENDMENT

This chapter was significantly updated in January 2016 and should be re-read throughout.


Contents

  1. Guidance on the Maintenance of Records
  2. Retention
  3. Contents
  4. Access to Records
  5. Security of Records
  6. Records of Persons Not Approved as Foster Parents Regulation 35 (Fostering Regulations 2011)
  7. Register of Foster Parents Regulation 31 (Fostering Regulations 2011)


1. Guidance on the Maintenance of Records

An electronic record should be started from the first point of contact with a foster carer enquirer.

Recording should be concise and accurate.

Additional adoption security should be applied in the event of a foster carer applying to adopt the child in her/his care.


2. Retention

Guidance on the RETENTION of records.

  • Foster carer records compiled under Regulation 30, must be retained for at least 10 years from refusal of approval, termination of approval, or death of foster carer.

Foster carer enquiry records, where application is refused or withdrawn, should be retained for at least three years from the date of withdrawal/refusal

  • Prohibited foster carers (Barred from Caring for Children: Disclosure and Barring Service) should be retained for 30 years from prohibition. NB. There may be some cases where the carer/applicant has not been 'prohibited' but where there are concerns on closure which suggests the records should be kept for longer than 10 years. This decision rests with the Service Manager (Fostering) at the time of closure;
  • Records compiled under Regulation 30.4 in relation to a person with whom a child is placed under Regulation 24 CPPR 2010 and any entry relating to such a person in the register maintained under regulation 31.1 must be retained for at least 10 years from the date on which the placement is terminated;
  • Records compiled under Regulation 35 must be retained for at least 3 years from refusal or withdrawal of the application to become a foster parent;
  • These requirements may be compiled with by retaining the original written records or copies or by keeping all or part of the information contained in them in another accessible form e.g. computer record;
  • Any records of register maintained in accordance with regulation 22.30 or 31 must be kept securely and may not be disclosed to any person except in accordance in any of the following - provision of or made under or by virtue of a statute under which access is authorised or any;
  • Court Order authorising access to such records;
  • A fostering service provider must make records in relation to a foster parent available to another fostering service provider within 1 month of a request under Regulation 26.2D.


3. Contents

The contents of a foster carer's record are as determined by Framework functionality. As such, the Children's Social Care Recording Policy, and standards therein, equally applies to a foster carer's record.

Standard expectations are that

  1. The primary and secondary foster carers are identified in a two foster carer household;
  2. Household members/relationships therein are updated regularly;
  3. Emergency planning documents are signposted on the front screen;
  4. Telephone numbers/email addresses are updated regularly;
  5. Carer data is updated regularly;
  6. The name of the supervising social worker is clearly recorded on the front screen;
  7. The uploading of emails, onto a foster carer's record, is restricted to business related correspondence and is relevant to the subject foster carer only;
  8. Case-notes are coherent, clearly expressed, non stigmatising and distinguish between fact, opinion and third party. All reports identify the author and the date written (Standard 26.5 NMS 2011). The record of supervision with the foster carer should be maintained in the same manner (Standard 21.8 NMS 2011);
  9. Supervision between the supervising social worker and the Team Manager should be clearly evidenced on the foster carer's file. This evidence can be provided either through an entry on case-notes or via the uploading of a document;
  10. The Compliments and Complaints episode should be regularly maintained;
  11. Foster Care Agreement to be annually maintained;
  12. Foster Carer household profile to be regularly maintained;
  13. Declaration of health and suitability to be regularly maintained;
  14. Foster Carer Training logs to be maintained;
  15. Notice of approval given under Regulation 27 5A;
  16. Any report of a review of approval prepared under Regulation 28. 4;
  17. Any notice given under Regulation 28.12;
  18. Any agreement entered into in accordance with Regulation 38.1A;
  19. The report prepared under Regulation 26.3B and any other reports submitted to the fostering panel and any recommendations made by the fostering panel;
  20. The case record must also include the following information – a record of each placement with the foster parent including name, age and sex of each child placed, dates on when each placement began and terminated and the circumstances of the termination;
  21. The information obtained by the FSP in relation to assessment and approval of the foster parent in relation to any review or termination of the approval;
  22. A case record for each person given temporary approval as a foster carer, as a person connected with a child under Regulation 24 CPPR 2010. Point ‘g’ must also be included for carers approved under Regulation 24.
There is a presumption of openness within Children's Social Care. Foster carer records should only be restricted in VERY exceptional circumstances. It is also expected for all information, written about the foster carer, to be shared openly with them UNLESS third party confidentiality or child protection reasons prohibit otherwise.


4. Access to Records

The records will need to be examined and third party information considered before a foster carer is given access. The Access to Records Policy applies.


5. Security of Records

Confidential information should be secured in cabinets or cupboards when not in use or at the end of the day. Confidential information should not be left out on desks overnight.

Access to records on Framework is governed by the Data Protection Act and workers should only access the records which their role/tasks authorize them to do so.

Confidential information must not be left in unattended parked cars.

If a breach in information security is indicated, a Manager (Fostering) should be notified immediately as well as ICT services.


6. Records of Persons Not Approved as Foster Parents Regulation 35 (Fostering Regulations 2011)

The FSP shall compile a record of each person whom it does not approve as a foster parent or who withdraws their application prior to approval which must include in relation to her or him the information obtained in connection with the assessment, any report submitted to the fostering panel and any recommendation made by the fostering panel and any notification given under regulation 27.


7. Register of Foster Parents Regulation 31 (Fostering Regulations 2011)

The FSP must enter in a register kept for the purpose of the – name, address, date of birth, sex of each foster parent and connected person with temporary approval as a foster parent under regulation 24 CPPR 2010. Date of her or his approval and of each review of his or her approval and current terms of her or his approval.

End