View Working Together 2013 View Working Together 2013

7.1.7 Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers

AMENDMENT

This procedure was updated in September 2018, with a new process of Annual Review for Fostering which provides timescales for the Review.


Contents

  1. Frequency
  2. Annual Foster Carer Review
  3. Presentation to the Fostering Panel or Agency Decision Maker
  4. After the Fostering Panel
  5. Representations / Review Procedure
  6. Updates on Checks
  7. Resignation of Foster Carers


1. Frequency

Formal reviews of foster carers will take place at least annually.

Reviews will take place more frequently 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 or as the result of a significant change in the household composition.

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


2. Annual Foster Carer Review

See Fostering Annual Review Process for timescales.

The Fostering Service (England) Regulations 2011 and the Children Act 1989 Fostering Guidance state that the approval of all foster carers must be reviewed within a year of approval, and thereafter whenever felt necessary but at least annually.

Each review must consider whether the foster parent continues to be suitable to be a foster carer and the foster carer’s household continues to be suitable, having taken account of the view of any child or young person placed in the foster home, the foster carer and the placing authority (Swindon Borough Council).

At the conclusion of the review the fostering services provider must complete a written report setting out if the carer “... continues to be suitable to act as a foster carer and their household continues to be suitable” and whether “the terms of their approval continue to be appropriate”.

The fostering services’ provider must refer its report, of the foster carer’s first review, to the authority’s fostering panel. A random selection of subsequent review reports will be referred to the fostering panel.

In circumstances where the fostering service provider finds it necessary, for example following an allegation or complaint investigation, a review may be referred to the fostering panel outside of the usual timescales.

Everyone involved in the review process will be expected to make adequate preparation.

The review will include:

  • Confirmation that CRB and medical checks are up-to-date;
  • Record any changes in the foster home;
  • Health and safety check of the foster home;
  • The home environment;
  • Foster carer’s Safe Caring policy and practice;
  • Assessment of the foster carer’s performance and competency;
  • Training carried out during the past year;
  • Gaps in the foster carer’s knowledge and needs for their development to inform their professional training programme for the following 12 months.

Performance feedback sheets will be requested from:

  • Carer’s own children;
  • Children in placement;
  • Child’s social worker;
  • Supervising social worker;
  • Other people nominated by foster carers;
  • Looked after children nurse;
  • Independent reviewing officer.

The review will usually take place in the foster carer’s home and be conducted by the Foster Carer Independent Reviewing Officer, who is part of the IRO team. This person is independent of the fostering team and will make recommendations around training, support and development for carers as well as whether their approval as carers should remain the same or change. Each will sign the completed report before it is sent to the fostering manager for their signed approval that the carer is suitable to continue to foster.

Newly approved foster carers will be reviewed after a year, which will be presented to the fostering panel. After that, the review will be presented to the fostering panel every three years.

Following a review indicating that there are significant concerns about the quality of service the foster carer has offered, the review report will be referred to the fostering panel for consideration. Where this happens the carer will be notified and be invited to attend the fostering panel.


3. Presentation to the Fostering Panel or Agency Decision Maker

A report will be presented to the Fostering Panel on the foster carer's first review, but thereafter the report will be presented to the Team Manager of the Family Placement Team unless significant changes to the foster carer's approval or the termination of the foster carer's approval is recommended or where any circumstances exist which in the opinion of the Team Manager Family Placement Team 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.

The fostering worker will present the review findings and recommendations to the Fostering Panel or Team Manager Family Placement Team in a written report which incorporates 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 should be highlighted 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.

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.


4. 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 fostering worker of the outcome of the review.

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


5. Representations / Review Procedure

5.1 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 decision and he or she must be advised that if they wish to challenge the decision, they have the opportunity to make representations to the Panel or to request a review by an Independent Review Panel as set out in the Assessment and Approvals of Foster Carers Procedure, Representations / Independent Review Procedure. Notification / representations / will need to be received by the Panel Administrator within 28 days of the date of the notice of the decision being sent to them. The Panel Administrator will then notify the foster carer within 7 working days of the date when the Panel will reconsider the matter.

The only circumstances where 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 must be referred to the Fostering Panel for further consideration. Foster carers wishing to make representations in person to the 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.

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) 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.

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

5.2.1 Where the Foster Carer is in Agreement

Where, as a result of a review, 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.

5.2.2 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 Section 5.1, Proposal to Terminate Foster Carer’s Approval will apply.


6. Updates on Checks

Disclosure and Barring Service checks should be updated every 3 years and if necessary, a review of the foster carer's approval should be carried out immediately to take account of any new information.

See Persons Disqualified from Fostering Procedure.

Medical information should also be updated at least every 3 years by writing to the foster carers GP. In the event of any serious concerns about the foster carers health, a review of the foster carers approval should be carried out immediately.


7. Resignation of 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 Assessment 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