View NSCB Procedures View NSCB Procedures

12.9 Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to all approved foster carers. It details what the foster carer can expect following approval from their supervising social worker. It also covers the supervising social workers role if there is an allegation against the foster carer.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE

Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011, Regulations 28 and 29

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

Fostering National Minimum Standards 2011, Standard 13

The Agency Decision Maker (Fostering) is a Senior Manager within Children's Services.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in May 2014, Section 8, Resignation by Foster Carers was added.


Contents

  1. Frequency Regulation 28 Fostering Service Regulations 2011
  2. Consultation with Foster Carer before the Review
  3. Formal Review Meeting
  4. Presentation to the Fostering Panel
  5. After the Fostering Panel
  6. Representations/Review Procedure
  7. Updates on Checks
  8. Resignation by Foster Carers


1. Frequency Regulation 28 Fostering Service Regulations 2011

A review must take place not more than one year after approval and thereafter whenever considered necessary but at intervals of not more than one year.

A foster carer's first annual review has to be considered by the fostering panel. Reviews will take place in the event of a significant change in circumstances of a foster carer, for example where there are concerns about the care provided by the foster carer as a result of a complaint or allegation, where there is a change in the foster carer's profile (health circumstances, offending history etc) and where there is a permanent change in the foster household membership.

The Framework episode, in respect of the foster carer review process, is to completed in respect of each foster carer review.

As well as formal reviews, there will be regular supervision between the fostering worker and the foster carer.


2. Consultation with Foster Carer before the Review

Prior to the formal review, the fostering social worker will provide a report of the foster carer's performance and any significant events or changes within their household. The fostering social worker will provide a copy of the report to their Team Manager or independent chair and to the foster carer, to enable them to prepare for the review in advance. The foster carer will have the opportunity to communicate his or her views verbally or in the form of a report for the review.

The fostering social worker will also, as part of the formal review, seek the views of all members of the foster carer's household as well as written views on the quality of the placement offered from all social workers who have used the foster carer for a placement since the last formal review. This will include contacting a social worker from outside the authority where appropriate.

The fostering social worker will also seek and take into account the views of any child placed with the foster carer since the last review via the child's social worker and, where considered appropriate, via direct consultation with the child concerned.

The fostering social worker will provide their Team Manager or independent chair of the review with all reports, including logs of training attended and placements provided; an up-dated health and safety checklist and safe caring policy and confirmation of statutory household checks.


3. Formal Review Meeting

The review will be informed by a meeting chaired by a fostering manager or an independent chair, held at the foster home, with the foster carer and, usually, the fostering worker. At the review meeting, the agenda will include an appraisal of the foster carer's training and development needs; an evaluation of the training received since the last review; the foster carer's views of the service and support provided as well as the appropriateness of placements made and the care provided by the foster carer. The review will also consider the quality of the foster carer's recording; the up-dated health and safety checklist and safe caring policy. The views of placing social workers, children placed and the foster carer's own children will also be considered. The review should also consider the suitability of existing bedroom arrangements, including a risk assessment if children over the age of three are sharing a bedroom i.e. to ensure compliance with Standard 10.6 NMS 2011.

Any recommendations arising from the review will be discussed with the foster carer and recorded by the chair and added to the review report. The completed report will be sent to the foster carer by the Fostering Team Manager, after the review meeting and prior to any presentation to the fostering panel. The foster carer should have the opportunity to put their views on the recommendations in writing i.e. to be presented to the fostering panel, if the review report is to be considered by the panel.

If the review is not being presented to the fostering panel, a review outcome notification should be issued to the foster carer. All foster carers are required to receive a notification of their terms of approval (Regulation 28(6) Fostering Service Regulations 2011)


4. Presentation to the Fostering Panel

A report must be presented to the fostering panel on the foster carer's first review for a recommendation, and thereafter may be presented to the fostering panel. This may include where significant changes to the foster carer's circumstances or the termination of the foster carer's approval are recommended or where any circumstances exist which may require consideration by the Fostering Panel. This will include the situation where an updating Disclosure and Barring Service check reveals a new concern about the foster carer or a member of the household. Whether presented to the fostering panel or not, the report will be presented to the Agency Decision Maker for a decision as to whether the foster carer remains suitable to foster and whether the terms of approval remain suitable. Where it has been presented to the fostering panel, the Agency Decision Maker will take into account the panel’s recommendation.

The fostering worker will present the review findings and recommendations to the Fostering Panel in a written report, with the views of the child or children placed, the written views of the foster carer and any report provided by a social worker, particularly where concerns have been expressed about a placement with the foster carer. Any recommendations for change in the foster carer's approval must be identified in the report.

Where the review recommends the termination of approval of the foster carer, the review should be presented to the earliest possible Fostering Panel. If the Agency Decision Maker decides, taking into account the Panel's recommendation, that they are no longer satisfied with the suitability of the carer and household, it must notify him/her in writing, giving reasons. It must invite him/her to submit any written representations within 28 days of the date of notice. (See Letter formats CH/FC/20, CH/FC/20A). Where the Fostering Panel's recommendation is for a different category of approval, the Panel may require further assessment or training for the foster carer.

Where the foster carer has decided to give up fostering, this should be recorded formally by the Fostering Panel as the termination of the foster carer's approval to take effect 28 days from the date when written notice has been received from the foster carer.

A copy of any notice given must be sent to the placing authority of children currently placed with the carer.


5. After the Fostering Panel

Where the review is presented to the Fostering Panel, the Panel's recommendation as to the future approval of the foster carer will be submitted to the Agency Decision Maker for a decision to be made.

The foster carer will be informed in writing by the Agency Decision Maker of the outcome of the review.

A copy of the review reports and a record of the outcome of the review will be retained on the foster carer's case record.


6. Representations/Review Procedure

6.1 Proposal to terminate foster carer’s approval

Where, as a result of a review, the termination of a foster carer's approval is proposed, written notice of the proposal and the reasons must be sent to the foster carer within 7 days of the recommendation and he or she must be advised that if they wish to challenge the recommendation, they have the opportunity to make representations to the Agency Decision Maker or to request a review by an Independent Review Panel under the Independent Review Mechanism as set out in the Assessments and Approvals of Foster Carers Procedure.

Notification/representations will need to be received by the Agency Decision Maker within 28 days of the date of the notice of the decision being sent to them. The matter will be referred to the fostering panel, and the panel Co-ordinator will then notify the foster carer within 7 working days of the date when the panel will reconsider the matter. If the foster carer has elected for the representation to be heard by the IRM, the panel coordinator will acknowledge receipt of this information within 7 working days.

The foster carer will not have the right to request a review by an Independent Review Panel is if he or she is regarded as disqualified as a result of a conviction or caution for a specified offence - see Persons Disqualified from Fostering Procedure.

If no written representations or notification of a request for a review are received within the period, a final decision to terminate or vary an approval can be made.

If written representations are received within the period, the matter may be referred to the Fostering Panel for further consideration or the foster carer may choose to refer to the Independent Review Panel.

Foster carers wishing to make representation to the Fostering Panel may be accompanied by a friend or supporter. Where a foster carer wishes to make representations in person, the Panel Chair may consider the Panel meeting as a smaller quorate sub-group. The Panel will make a new recommendation in relation to the foster carer and a final decision will be made by the Agency Decision Maker taking into account any fresh recommendation made by the Panel. Written notice of the final decision, together with reasons, must then be sent to the foster carer within 7 working days of the decision.

Foster carers wishing to make representation to the Independent Review Panel (IRM) will be provided with information as to how they should make such representation.

Where the termination of the approval of a foster carer is being considered, plans for the termination of any current placement will also be required and made as appropriate.

Where the approval is terminated, the Agency Decision Maker, in consultation with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)/Team of Designated Officers will decide whether to refer the former foster carer to the Disclosure and Barring Service for inclusion of the carer's name on the Children's Barred List.

6.2 Proposal to revise the terms of the foster carer’s approval

6.2.1 Where the Foster Carer is in Agreement

Where, as a result of a review, the it is proposed to revise the terms of the foster carer’s approval, a statement must be sent to the foster carer setting out whether it is considered that the foster carer or members of their household (including any children placed there) may have additional support needs as a result of the proposed revision and, if so, how those needs will be met, and request the foster carer’s agreement in writing to the proposed revision of terms.

Where the foster carer’s written agreement is received, the decision to revise the terms of approval may be made immediately.

The Agency Decision Maker’s decision in such circumstances is not a Qualifying Determination and the foster carer may not apply for an independent review of the decision by way of the Independent Review Mechanism.

Foster carers must not be pressured to accept changes to their terms of approval.

6.2.2 Where the Foster Carer is not in Agreement

Where the foster carer does not agree in writing to the revision of their terms of approval, then the representations/review procedure as set out in 6.1 Proposal to terminate foster carer's approval above will apply.


7. Updates on Checks

Disclosure and Barring Service checks must be updated every 3 years (unless the foster carers have subscribed to the Disclosure and Barring Service) and if necessary, a review of the foster carer's approval should be carried out immediately to take account of any new information. All foster household members must have a DBS check renewed every three years. All babysitters/ support carers to the foster household should have a DBS check undertaken every three years.

See Persons Disqualified from Fostering Procedure.

Medical information should also be updated at least every 3 years by seeking a reference of the foster carer's GP. In the event of any serious concerns about the foster carer's health, further medical advice should be sought of the agency's medical adviser with a view to convening a foster carer review if a significant change/concern is indicated.

Declarations of Health, and Declarations of Suitability, should be completed by the foster carer and relevant members of the foster household on an annual basis.

A foster carer agreement should be signed by the foster care, fostering social worker and Fostering Team Manager at the end of each review meeting.


8. Resignation by Foster Carers

A foster carer may give written notice at any time of their wish to resign from the role. Once written notice has been given, their approval will automatically be terminated 28 days after receipt of the notice. The foster carer cannot withdraw their notice once it has been received, nor can the Agency Decision Maker decline to accept the resignation. Should a foster carer who has resigned subsequently wish to foster again, they will need to be assessed under the procedure for Assessments and Approvals of Foster Carers Procedure. There is no requirement for the fostering panel to be notified of resignations. However the panel may find it helpful to be advised, as part of its monitoring role.

End