Responding to Enquiries about Fostering
Calderdale Fostering Service aims to recruit and approve sufficient foster carers to meet the range of needs presented by children of different racial, cultural and religious heritages, different ages and children with disabilities and to offer a choice of placement.
It will pro-actively seek foster carers from a range of racial, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds. It will not discriminate on grounds of race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, sexuality or age but will make an assessment of each individual or family based on their ability to meet the needs of Children Looked After.
While the Fostering Service will not preclude people from fostering on grounds of health or disability, they have a duty to satisfy themselves that foster carers with whom a child is to be placed have a reasonable expectation of continuing good health and will consider:
- Links between age and health and the continuing good health of the carers for the duration of a placement;
- Health conditions or disabilities which may limit foster carers in providing children with a range of beneficial experiences and opportunities or place children at risk through an inability to protect the child from common place hazards.
Calderdale Fostering Service will not preclude people from becoming foster carers on grounds that they smoke but it will take into account the adverse effects of passive smoking when considering the age and type of children who may be placed with them, especially babies and very young children, or children who have heart or chest complaints or a history of asthma.
In accordance with current CoramBAAF Guidelines, the Fostering Service will not approve as foster carers for children under the age of 5 any household in which a smoker resides.
Where a placement is with a Connected Person Carer, the Council may agree to waive this part of the procedure in the interests of the child/children.
These procedures should be followed for all enquiries from people wishing to become foster carers.
Please refer to the Placements with Connected Persons Procedure, if the enquirer is a relative, friend or other person connected with a child and wishes to be assessed to care for this child.
Placements of Looked After Children with Connected Persons who have not been approved as foster carers can be made under Regulation 24 of the Care Planning, Placement and Review (England) Regulations 2010.
Relative is defined as "a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt (whether of the full blood or half blood or by marriage or civil partnership) or step-parent".
AMENDMENTIn December 2015, this chapter was reviewed locally and updated as required to reflect current processes.
1. Enquiries about Fostering and Information Meetings
NOTE: The enquiry stage of the process is defined as: From the point of contact/enquiry with Calderdale Fostering Service until receipt of the application form by the Fostering Service.
An enquirer may contact Calderdale Fostering Service to express interest in fostering, either by email to email@example.com or by phone 01422 256053 to speak to the recruitment team.
Should a member of the public make contact with any other section of Calderdale Council in respect of a fostering enquiry they should be re-directed to Customer First. This should be either by forwarding the enquirer's name and address to Customer First or by advising the enquirer of contact details for Customer First.
If the enquirer has made their first contact other than directly to Customer First, their name and address must be supplied to Customer First on the same day in order to enable them to contact them within 2 days of the first contact.
Customer First complete the First Enquiry Sheet and an Enquiry Tracking Form. Customer First will send the enquirer an Enquirer Information Pack within 24 hours.
Customer First will check the CASS database for previous information regarding the applicant and enter the applicant's details into the CASS Fostering Module.
NOTE: Where there are existing relevant files on the enquirer or their family, but they are not available due to (i) being in the adoption bank, or (ii) because a Locality Social Worker is using them, Customer First should notify the Fostering Social Worker of this information.
The fostering recruitment team will monitor all enquiries and their outcomes.
The fostering recruitment team will contact the enquirer within 2 weeks of the first contact. The aim of this contact is to discuss any questions the enquirer may have after reading the information pack and to encourage the enquirer to progress to the next stage.
If the fostering recruitment team is unable to make contact by telephone a standard letter and monitoring questionnaire will be sent to the enquirer by the fostering recruitment team with an SAE.
If the enquirer decides not to proceed, the fostering recruitment team will establish the reason why, complete the Enquiry Tracking Form and note the reason on the CASS. The file is then closed.
Closed enquiry files will be retained for 2 years and then destroyed.
The Enquiry Tracking Form is passed to the fostering recruitment team practice manager by Customer First on a weekly basis for monitoring purposes.
2. Application to Foster
The application stage of the process is defined as: From receipt of the Expression of Interest form - held in the Enquirer Information Pack - by the Fostering Team until withdrawal, turn down or approval. (It should be noted that although this is described as the application stage, it is also a stage of initial assessment).
On receipt of the Expression of Interest the applicants are sent an acknowledgement letter by the fostering recruitment team within 2 working days. The fostering recruitment team inputs the information from the Application Form into CASS Fostering Module.