Guidelines for Recording - Fostering Files on Electronic Records


  • A case file should be a tool that assists and supports effective working partnerships between Children and Young People's Service and foster carers.
  • A case file should contain all information and documentation about Children and Young People's Services' involvement with the foster carer.
  • Files should provide an accurate record of factual information and work done.

The Directorate of CYPS aims to comply with Fostering Services National Minimum Standards and Regulations.


This guidance was reviewed locally in December 2015 and updated as required.

1. Purpose

A record is needed of Children and Young People's Services' involvement with a foster carer for the following reasons:

  • To facilitate and record their career as a foster carer;
  • As a quality assurance tool for Supervising Social Workers to use;
  • As a means by which to ensure accountability and adherence to procedure and statutory regulations;
  • As a source of written evidence for investigations and enquiries;
  • As a quality assurance tool for managers to monitor the quality of work;
  • As a source of information for the foster carer. They have a right to request access to the file.

2. Structure and Content of Foster Carer Files (Approved)

A separate file must be kept for foster carers.

See: Contents of Foster Carer Files Procedure for the structure and content of files, including sections and records within the sections.

3. Short Breaks Forms - Disabled Children

Copies of the following forms will be kept in the file, as well as centrally, along with:

  • record of medication in the Medication Log (foster carers must keep a written record of all medication, treatment and first aid given to a child during the placement);
  • Short Breaks - Foster Care Disabled Children Parental Consent;
  • Short Breaks - Foster Care Disabled Children Guidelines.

4. Daily Record - What and How to Record

The following information provides guidelines on how to keep clear, concise, accurate and daily record on the electronic record.

Types of 'contact' can be: a home visit, office visit, telephone call to or from a foster carer or professional, or a meeting (which is not minuted in any other formal way).

If the type of contact is a home visit, then it should contain the following elements:

  • Home Visit;
  • First line of address recorded, e.g. 28 Horsfall House;
  • Date and time recorded;
  • Purpose of visit - e.g. to discuss concerns about.......;
  • Persons present - record full names;
  • Details of key issues;
  • Agreed action.

Author's full name and title -

In addition, include:

  • Full names and titles of other people referred to: family, friends and professionals;
  • Record if any member of the household is seen and spoken to alone during the context of a visit;
  • Cross reference any other records which contain the main body of information being referred to e.g. foster carer review reports.

Other contacts such as telephone calls should be recorded with similar detail. It would include: who the other party is (full name, etc.), date, purpose of call, key issues and agreed action. Again, full names and titles of other people referred to should be recorded. The author's full name and title should be recorded after every entry.

Any confidential information obtained and recorded should be suitably identified in the electronic record.

Opinion and facts should be clearly distinguished.

The style of recording should reflect anti-discriminatory, non-stigmatising and good equal opportunities practice.

There should be evidence of foster carers' opinions and contributions, including agreements and differences of opinion as appropriate. There may be similar reference to comments made by other members of the household if appropriate to record.

Information shared with foster carers should be recorded, e.g. copies of documents or reports and leaflets. This should then correspond with the specific documents and a reference made on the documents that a copy has been given, with the date recorded.

5. Daily Record - When to Record

It is recommended good practice that at least, some 'rough' notes of contact with foster carers or professionals, should be made within 24 hours of the contact.

Actual case notes for inclusion in the file, should be written up within 5 working days of the contact.

Generally, given that foster carers have access to their records under the Data Protection Act 2018, workers need to ensure that data recorded is fair, accurate and up-to-date.

When managers inspect case recording, they should record their name and title, along with the date.

6. Record of Supervisory Visits to Foster Carers

These should be completed at minimum 3 monthly intervals.

Records of both supervisory visits and daily record sheets should be routinely shared with foster carers. Sharing of information is good practice.

All the points which are mentioned in above guidance on daily record sheets apply to record of supervisory visits, i.e. non stigmatising, fair and accurate etc.

7. Record of Discussions about Foster Carers

Inevitably there will be occasions when there is a need for detailed discussions or management decisions other than in staff supervision.

The manager is responsible for ensuring that such decisions/discussions (as above) are recorded on the pro forma Record of Discussion/Decision.

Completed Record of Discussion should be passed to the responsible worker who must place it on the file.

8. References

It is important to ensure the Summary of Checks is kept up to date on the electronic record.

There may be some references where confidentiality is requested. These should be identified.

9. Opening a New Foster Carer File

All files should contain the following sections.

  • Updated carer details (basic information);
  • Placement record (most recent page);
  • Current Placement Information Record/Placement Agreement;
  • Foster Care Agreement;
  • Most recent foster carer review;
  • Insurance cover document;
  • Original assessment & other relevant assessment documents.

10. Structure and Content of Applicants' Assessment Files

A separate file must be kept for each applicant.

Records must contain the following 5 sections:

Section 1: Application and Assessment

Application form

Initial Assessment

Assessment report.

Section 2: References

Please note that references are held centrally by the team clerk until all are returned.

Section 3: Correspondence

Section 4: Record of Contacts

Includes any Records of Discussion.

Section 5: Excluded from Access

In addition, the Evidence of Competencies Portfolio will be held in a ring binder with the Assessment File.

11. File Retention

Files held on individual foster carers are retained for 10 years from termination of approval or death, whichever is the sooner.

Files on individual foster carers where child placed under Regulation 38 are retained for 10 years after termination of the placement.

Files held on applicants who are not approved or where the application has been withdrawn prior to approval shall be retained for 3 years.