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The majority of complaints made against foster carers concern practice issues such as the Carer’s style of parenting; the way the child is being cared for; the way a particular incident is handled; a lack of confidentiality; or the way the Carer is working, or perhaps failing to work, with other professionals involved. Concerns can be raised by the child or young person being cared for, the child’s family, the child’s Care Manager, or another professional. Concerns are most commonly voiced directly to the carer; to the child’s Care Manager; or to the Carer’s Fostering Social Worker.
Occasionally, the Department receives anonymous concerns. Whilst these are more difficult to deal with because the complainant cannot be questioned, they are treated with equal concern.
On receipt of a complaint regarding a Foster Carer, the level of seriousness has to be judged. This is decided by the Fostering Practice Manager in consultation with the Locality Practice Manager as necessary.
Dealing with Concerns
Dealing with concerns is normally an informal process that involves discussion between the Fostering Social Worker and the Carers. The child’s Care Manager may be involved if appropriate.
At the end of the discussion between the Fostering Social Worker and the Carers, the proposed conclusion/ resolution will be recorded. This will then be discussed with the Fostering Practice Manager who is responsible for agreeing a resolution and what action, if any, should be taken. The outcome will be passed on to whoever raised the concerns.
Following the conclusion, suggestions may be made to the Carers regarding future practice, and training needs may be identified. Where resolution has not been possible, for example if two people have differing opinions, this too will be recorded.