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7.6 Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers

AMENDMENT

This chapter was reviewed locally and updated throughout in November 2014, Section 8, Resignation by Foster Carers is new.


Contents

  1. Frequency
  2. Consultation with Foster Carer before the Review
  3. Formal Review Meeting
  4. Presentation to the Fostering Panel or Agency Decision Maker
  5. After the Fostering Panel
  6. Representations/Review Procedure
  7. Updates on Checks
  8. Resignation by 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.

As well as formal reviews, there will be regular dialogue and feedback between the supervising social worker and the foster carer during supervision sessions and general meetings.


2. Consultation with Foster Carer before the Review

Prior to the formal review, the supervising social worker will send to the Fostering Reviewing Officer (FRO) chairing the review and the foster carer a copy of the review report to enable them to prepare for the review in advance. The foster carer will be sent a form for communicating his or her views in writing, which is returned directly to the FRO.

The supervising social worker will also, as part of the formal review, seek the views of all members of the foster carer's household as well as the written comments and opinions of the foster carer/s from all social workers who have used the foster carer for a placement since the last formal review as recorded on the social worker's end of placement report. The supervising social worker will also seek and take into account the views of any child placed with the foster carer since the last review via the child's social worker. Information will also be sought through the Child in Care Review process.

All the above information will be sent to the FRO at least five working days prior to the review.


3. Formal Review Meeting

The review will be informed by a meeting held between the FRO, the fostering supervising social worker and the foster carer. The venue will be arranged to suit the formality of the event but can be held at the foster carer’s home if appropriate. At the review meeting, the agenda as set out in the Foster Carer Review Form will include an appraisal of the foster carer's training and development needs, an evaluation of the training received since the last review, and an evaluation of how the foster carer has met the expectation of their skills level and the fostering role in general. The foster carer's views of the service and support provided as well as the appropriateness of placements made will also be included in the review.

A Review report will be completed by the FRO along with any recommendations discussed with the foster carer and supervising social worker. In  circumstances when a foster carer is not in agreement with the recommendations of the Review the foster carer should be asked to put their views in writing, this will then be presented  to the Fostering Panel and/or the Agency Decision Maker (Fostering) along with the Review Form and any supporting information.


4. Presentation to the Fostering Panel or Agency Decision Maker

A 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. Reasons for presenting the review report to the Foster Panel may include; where significant changes to the foster carers 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 Service Manager Fostering for a decision as to whether the foster carer remains suitable to foster and whether the recommended terms of approval remain suitable. The Service Manager Fostering may present the report to the Agency Decision Maker or to the Foster Panel should they consider it necessary. Where it has been presented to the fostering panel, the Agency Decision Maker will take into account the panel’s recommendation.The Fostering Reviewing Officer 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.  The supervising social worker will attend Foster Panel to offer verbal information as required.

Where the Review recommends the termination of approval of the foster carer see 6.1 Proposal to Terminate Foster Carer’s Approval.

Where the review recommends a variation in terms of approval, the review report and supporting information will be presented to the Agency Decision Maker. In these circumstances there may also be a request for further assessment or training for the foster carer.

Where the Fostering Panel's recommendation is for a different category of approval, see 6.2 Proposal to Revise the Terms of the Foster Carer’s Approval.

Where the foster carer has decided to give up fostering, see Section 8, Resignation by Foster Carers.


5. After the Fostering Panel

The foster carer will be informed in writing of the outcome of the review in a letter signed by the ADM, and sent out by the panel administrator.

A copy of the Review Form and all supporting documents will be retained on the foster carer's case record.


6. Representations/Review Procedure

6.1 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 a review by an Independent Review Panel under the Independent Review Mechanism as set out in the Assessment and Approvals of Foster Carers Procedure, Representations / Independent Review Procedure. Notifications and 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.

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 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.

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

6.2.1 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 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.

6.2.2 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 6.1 Proposal to Terminate Foster Carer’s Approval will apply.


7. Updates on Checks

Disclosure and Barring 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 with the foster carers’ consent. 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. Resignation by 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