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5.7.11 Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers

POLICY

The Calderdale Fostering Service aims to maintain the standard of foster care provision by reviewing foster carers on an annual basis.

SCOPE

This procedure must be applied to all foster carers approved by the Fostering Panel in order to meet the statutory requirements of the Fostering Regulations 2011.


Contents

  1. Frequency of Foster Carer Reviews
  2. Carrying out Reviews
  3. Consideration of Review by Fostering Panel or Agency Decision Maker
  4. After the Fostering Panel
  5. Representations / Independent Review Procedure
  6. Foster Carers who Cease Fostering
  7. Updating Checks
  8. Retention of Foster Carer Files


1. Frequency of Foster Carer Reviews

Foster carer reviews will be carried out at least annually. The due date of the review is calculated from the date of approval or the date of the last review

Reviews should also be carried out:

  • If serious allegations are made about carers or members of their household;
  • If foster carers' circumstances change;
  • If there is a request for change of approval.

Areas of concern or the need for additional support that are identified between reviews should be addressed at the time rather than waiting for reviews.

The decision to undertake additional reviews should be made by the Fostering Team Manager based on information from the foster carers' Supervising Social Worker.


2. Carrying out Reviews

The following pro formas should be used in completion of the Review:

  1. Foster Carer Comments Report to be completed by carer;
  2. Foster Carer Review Report to be completed by Supervising Social Worker;
  3. Questionnaire completed by children of the foster carer/s'
  4. Reviewing Officer Report to be completed by person chairing the Fostering IRO;
  5. Questionnaire to be completed by foster children in placement at the time of the Review;
  6. Report to be completed by the child's Social Worker in respect of each child currently in placement with the foster carer being reviewed; and
  7. End of placement reports to be completed by children and their Social Workers who have moved on from the foster carers within the review period.

Personal Development Plans must be completed for each carer and this should be linked to their training and their annual review.

The review reports and feedback requests should be sent in advance of the review meeting. The Supervising Social Worker’s report should be quality assured by their Practice Manager prior to the Fostering IRO and the foster carer receiving the paperwork, as per the process guidance.

Disclosure and Barring Service checks should be updated every three years (unless the Disclosure and Barring Service Update Service is used). Carer health checks should also be completed every 3 years and reviewed as part of the review meeting.

The review must consider the following:

  1. Any convictions or cautions made in respect of the carer or people in the household during the period since the last review;
  2. The views of the foster carers (see FOS-03(i));
  3. Whether the accommodation remains suitable;
  4. The health of the carer/s;
  5. The views of those who have placed a child with the foster carers during the period since the last review (including placements which are ongoing). This information should be sought from the allocated Social Worker/s of the child or children placed.

A review meeting will be held involving the foster carer/s and the Fostering Social Worker. Minutes are taken by the person chairing the review meeting.

The IRO Report should incorporate the views of those present at the review meeting as well as the views of all who have submitted reports.

The IRO Report should make recommendations about terms of approval and fee level which will be endorsed by the Agency Decision Maker. In cases where the Review Report is presented to the Fostering Panel, it should be endorsed by the Fostering Team Manager and a copy of the report will be provided to the foster carer in advance of the Fostering Panel meeting.


3. Consideration of Review by Fostering Panel or Agency Decision Maker

The Review 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 approval or the termination of the foster carer's approval are recommended or where any circumstances exist which in the opinion of the Agency Decision Maker require consideration by the Fostering Panel. This may include the situation where an updated 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 Panel must decide:

  1. Whether to recommend to continue or to terminate the carer/s approval;
  2. Whether to recommend revising the terms of approval.

The fostering worker will present the review findings and recommendations to the Fostering Panel or Agency Decision Maker 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, see Section 5.1, Proposal to Terminate Foster Carer’s Approval.

Where the Fostering Panel's recommendation is for a different category of approval, see Section 5.2, Proposal to Revise the Terms of the Foster Carer’s Approval.

Where the foster carer has decided to give up fostering, see Section, 6 Foster Carers who Cease Fostering.

The Summary Report (and any attachments) should be sent to the Panel Administrator at least 10 working days before the relevant Panel meeting.

Foster carers should be invited to attend the Fostering Panel when their review is being considered, and the Panel Administrator should be informed if they intend to do so.


4. After the Fostering Panel

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.

Whether or not the foster carers are present at the Panel, the Fostering Team Manager will inform them in writing of the outcome of the review.

The Fostering Social Worker will write to any Social Worker from outside the authority with a child placed with the foster carers to inform them of the outcome of the review.

A copy of the Summary Report will be retained on the foster carers' file, together with a record of the outcome of the Panel review.

The Fostering Panel Administrator will also record any change in the foster carers' approval on the Register of Foster Carers. Where such a change has been agreed, the Fostering Social Worker will send an amended Foster Care Agreement to the foster carer for signature and return for retention on the records.


5. Representations / Independent 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 Agency Decision Maker or to request an independent review under the Independent Review Mechanism.

Details of the representations and Independent Review process are provided in the Appeals Process for Foster Care Applicants and 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 Administrator will then notify the foster carer within 7 working days of the date when the Panel will reconsider the matter.

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

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.

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, 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 that the foster carer agrees 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 above will apply.


6. Foster Carers who Cease Fostering

A foster carer may give written notice at any time of their wish to resign from the role. Where a foster carer has decided to give up fostering, this should be notified to the Fostering Panel and recorded formally as the resignation of the foster carer, to take effect 28 days from the date when written notice has been received from the foster carer. 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 of Prospective Foster Carers.

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. An exit interview should also be conducted where possible.

Where foster carers change their status in relation to a child placed with them, e.g. where they obtain a Child Arrangements Order or a Special Guardianship Order, the Fostering Social Worker must inform the Fostering Panel.


7. Updating Checks

Disclosure and Barring Service checks should be updated every 3 years (unless they have registered with the Disclosure and Barring Service Update Service) 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 carer’s health, a review of the foster carer’s approval should be carried out immediately.


8. Retention of Foster Carer Files

Foster carers' files should be retained for a minimum of 10 years after their approval has been terminated.

End