Foster Parent Handbook
Colour Code Key:
Fosterplus Policies, Procedures and Guidance
Legislation and Government Guidance
General Sources and Good Practice Information
How do children and young people get placed in foster care?
The local authority’s care planning, placement and case review responsibilities
The legislation and regulations governing these processes are the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, The Children’s Hearing Act 2011, The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and the Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009.
All of these can be found uploaded onto CHARMS or by going on the Scottish Government Website.
How do children and young people come to be looked after children?
A child is defined as looked after when they are in a local authority’s care because of a compulsory supervision order (including an interim supervision order); or if the child is provided with accommodation for more than 24 hours, with the parent/s’ agreement, or with the child’s consent if they are over the age of 16 years.
Children who are placed away from home under an emergency protection order, made the subject of police protection or remanded into the care of the local authority by criminal courts are also looked after. A child subject to a supervision order who is placed at home with their parents or other significant person is still looked after.
What are Fostering Services?
Under the Looked After Children (Scotland ) Regulations 2009 local authorities must make available sufficient accommodation to meet the needs of children and young people who may need to be looked after, either by agreement with their parent/s (or those with parental responsibility) or through a care order.
Fostering services can be provided by fostering agencies (often known as independent or voluntary fostering providers or IVPs) and by local authorities. Legally they are collectively known as ‘fostering service providers’.
What laws govern fostering?
All fostering service providers have to comply with requirements set by Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 as well as Health and Social Care Standards for foster care and family placement services.
The main legislation governing looked after and accommodated children are:
Children (Scotland) Act 1995
Sets out many of the duties, powers and responsibilities local authorities hold in respect of their looked after children and care leavers.
Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001
Enhances the provision of services to children and young people who cease to be looked after or accommodated.
Support and Assistance of Young People Leaving Care (Scotland) Regulations 2003
Sets out the aftercare services for young people who have been in care. Also provide for throughcare preparation for young people leaving care.
Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007
Sets out the law relating to adoption.
Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009
Sets out what should be included in a child’s plan. Also includes legislation around foster and kinship care.
Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011
Governs the children’s hearing system. The Act updates the old system and strengthens the place of children, ensures better support for families, and ensures consistency across Scotland.
Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
Updates the law on creating a child’s plan, corporate parenting, aftercare, continuing care, kinship care and the adoption register. This was enacted in April 2015 although there are still some parts of the act which have not yet been implemented for example the named person.
What is a foster parent?
Foster parents care for the majority of children in Scotland who are looked after by local authorities. Foster parents have to be approved to foster by a fostering service provider, following an assessment, recommendation by the provider’s fostering panel and a decision by the provider’s decision maker. All this is set down in law.
A foster parent cannot be approved by more than one fostering service at the same time. If a foster parent wishes to move to a different fostering service, their approval by the existing service must be terminated (which will usually be by way of the foster parent’s resignation, but could be termination instigated by the fostering service) before a decision by the new service to grant approval can be implemented.
Policies and procedures
Fosterplus's policies and procedures can be accessed once you log into CHARMS by clicking on Download
Terms of approval
Approval of a foster parent always includes the terms of the approval, which are written into the foster parent agreement. There is no ‘correct’ formulation for terms of approval – the regulations and statutory guidance say only that a fostering service may set them and that, where they are set, placements should not be made outside of them. In Fosterplus we have adopted the designation of the government placement descriptors for children to describe the types of care a foster parent is registered to provide.
Terms of approval may specify suitability for a maximum number of placements, an age range, or one or more types of fostering – typically within Fosterplus, the latter will be drawn from: interim, long term, permanent, short break, parent and child. These will match the placement descriptors for children previously described.
Interim – this is defined as foster parent who will provide care for a child under 24 months and the intention is that children/young people will return to their family, be bridged to adoption or to other placements, in the case of older young people be bridged to independence etc.
Long Term – defined in relation to foster parents who will provide care for a child for longer than 24 months and up to several years including, for example, some teenage placements and unaccompanied asylum seeker placements, where permanent fostering is not sought
Permanence – defined as foster parents who will provide permanent care for children and young people who have a plan for permanence in foster care and the Local Authority have gained or are seeking a permanence order to secure the child, (this will always require completion of the Form F2 or permanency assessment and presented to the Fosterplus panel for approval).
Short Break Only – is a foster parent who will only be used for a limited time which will generally be no more than a few weeks.
Parent and Child – some foster parents will offer placements for children with one or both parents (this will require specific training and completion of the Form F Parent and Child Addendum).
Can children be placed with foster parents outside of their terms of approval?
The intention is that terms of approval should reflect the children it is appropriate for foster parents to care for. They should reflect foster parents’ skills, experience and confidence. The ADM has the power to make a temporary change of approval, out with the terms of a foster parent’s registration if they are satisfied that the proper safeguards are in place but this requires to be ratified at the first available panel.
Review of Approval
A foster parent will attend for a number of reviews at the fostering panel, these will routinely be at the end of their first year and thereafter every three years. The panel will review their service and either continue approval as it stands or recommend changes which will need to be ratified by the ADM. In the intervening years they will be subject to an internal review which will be chaired by a manager who does not have line management responsibility for them. If the internal review considers that the terms of their registration should be changed for any reason this would require to be referred back to a panel for consideration.
Outwith this it is possible for the foster parent to be referred back to panel if there are circumstances that require their consideration due to a significant change in circumstances or if there have been issues of practice that have caused concern e.g. a child protection referral.
The usual fostering limit
The Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 (2014 amendments ) limits the number of children who may be fostered by a foster parent (i.e. in a fostering household) to be no more than three with the exception of a sibling group being placed or an emergency placement of less than 4 weeks.
A child who is not looked after does not count towards the usual fostering limit. Nevertheless, the needs of all children within the household must be taken into account in deciding whether to grant an exemption from the usual fostering limit.
If the parent in a parent-child placement is not looked after (for example, if they are an adult) then they too do not count towards the usual fostering limit. However, they must be taken into account when considering the suitability of further placements. A foster parent will attend for a number of reviews at the fostering panel, these will routinely be at the end of their first year and thereafter every three years. The panel will review their service and either continue approval as it stands or recommend changes which will need to be ratified by the ADM. In the intervening years they will be subject to an internal review which will be chaired by a manager who does not have line management responsibility for them. If the internal review considers that the terms of their registration should be changed for any reason this would require to be referred back to a panel for consideration.
Outwith this it is possible for the foster parent to be referred back to panel if there are circumstances that require their consideration due to a significant change in circumstances or if there have been issues of practice that have caused concern e.g. a child protection referral.
Types of Placements
Fosterplus provides a range of foster placements to meet the differing needs of children and young people. The types of placements that foster parents offer should be consistent with their terms of approval in their foster parent agreement. Placement moves are highly disruptive for children, impacting negatively on their social, emotional and educational development. It is therefore operative that we match children and young people with parents who are best placed to meet their needs and your terms of approval is one indicator of how this match will be made. The different types of fostering are described in the Glossary.
An unplanned placement made in an emergency, where no other placement type has been identified by the local authority. (Under the Looked After Children Regulations 2009 an emergency placement must be reviewed by a local authority within 3 days, and may be extended for a period not exceeding 12 weeks.)
For a child this will mean that there are immediate concerns for their safety and wellbeing and they require to be removed from their home environment as quickly as possible while the care planning process establishes the best option for the child.
A placement which provides a series of short breaks (including emergency placements with a parent who is already providing planned short-break placements to the child or young person).
For a child this will mean that because of special circumstances they and their parent will benefit from therapeutic services or periods of respite. Fosterplus does not automatically build in respite for parents but will plan these based on need.
A placement which has been in place for less than 24 months, not secured by a Permanence Order. Agencies must differentiate between interim placements which are:
- Part of a concurrency plan
- Working towards rehabilitation with birth parents or other parents (not part of a concurrency plan)
- Working towards Permanence Order with a different foster parent
- Working towards Adoption Order or Permanence Order with current parent (see definition above)
For a child this means that the care planning process has concluded that they will benefit from spending some time being cared for away from home and there is a time-linked plan for rehabilitation with parents or an alternative care placement is being sought.
A placement which has been in place for longer than 24 months not secured by a Permanence Order. (This should be an exceptional situation and an indicator that the placement requires close scrutiny) Agencies must differentiate between long-term placements where:
- An Adoption order is being sought
- A Permanence Order with authority to adopt is being sought
- Child’s care plan indicates that the placement will be maintained into adulthood (18+ years of age) without a Permanence Order being sought
- Child’s care plan indicates that alternative placements are being sought (including with birth family)
- The child’s care plan gives no indication of the placement’s objective or expected duration and therefore requires close scrutiny
Permanence is long term foster care where attachments have been formed and it has been agreed through the care planning and review process that this is where the child or young person will remain until adulthood. In some cases, foster parents may choose to apply for a residence order. See section on Permanence below which explains it in more detail.
Placements for unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASMs)
There are a number of unaccompanied children arriving in the UK seeking asylum. Their experiences have often been traumatising, having left their families, homes and familiar culture and arriving in a place where the language and customs are strange to them.
Our aim is to provide the best possible care and support for these young people, so that their future offers greater opportunities to maximise their potential. At the same time, we must be mindful of their cultural and religious background.
Parent & child placements
Some foster parents provide accommodation for parents and their children where parenting skills can be developed and assessed by the local authority. A foster home provides a non-institutionalised environment which promotes a feeling of safety and well-being. The child and parent/s may or may not be looked after (i.e. legally fostered), but either way the government is clear that taking a parent-child placement does not turn you into a residential home.
Usually, the placing local authority has concern for the parent/s’ ability to carry out their parenting safely and effectively. The main objective for the foster parent/s is to help parents to understand their children’s development and respond to their changing needs. Foster parents will also need to record observations of parenting and may be asked to contribute to any assessment. It a requirement that foster parents offering these placements first attend the agency’s Parent and Child Placements training and are assessed – using the Form F Parent and Child Addendum report - to prepare them for this specialist task. Our supervising social workers are also trained and able to offer practical advice and support on all aspects of parenting and child development.
Placements for children with disabilities and complex health needs
Some children require parents with specialist skills to help them manage physical, emotional or learning disabilities and/or complex health needs. Children with disabilities and complex health needs are matched with foster parents who have the appropriate specialist training and experience. All placements are supported by our professional staff who continually assess the child’s needs and develop support plans for their future.
Once young people reach the age of 18 they are no longer looked after children or in foster care, but legislation requires local authorities to support them to remain living with their former foster parents if this is what everyone wants. Each continuing care arrangement is individual and local authorities may elect to deal directly with the parents around financial and other support, or to contract with Fosterplus to provide continued supervision and support services. In the latter case, a young person in a continuing care arrangement will not count as a fostered child or affect the foster parent’s approval terms, but they will be regarded as a household member in relation to matching.
What is permanence?
The objective of planning for permanence is to ensure that children have a secure, stable and loving family to support them through childhood and beyond. Permanence provides an underpinning framework for all social care work with children and families, from family support through to adoption.
A placement secured by a Permanence Order for a child, this means that the care planning process has concluded that they will thrive best if they are cared for away from home on a permanent basis. A Permanence Order, which is applied for by the local authority through the courts, can provide the local authority, child and their foster parent with the legal security, the stability and the time for strong relationship bonds and a sense of belonging to develop.
Routes to permanence
There are several legal routes to permanence:
Return to birth family
For many children, permanence is achieved through a successful return to their birth family, where it has been possible to address the factors in family life which led to the child becoming looked after.
Family and friends (Kinship Care)
For other children routes to permanence may include family and friends care, particularly where such care can be supported by a legal order such as a residence order, special guardianship order or, in a few cases, adoption.
Permanent foster care
Another important route to permanence is long term foster care where attachments have been formed and it has been agreed through the care planning and review process that this is where the child or young person will remain until adulthood. In some cases, foster parents may choose to apply for a special guardianship order.
For children who are unable to return to their birth or wider family, adoption offers a lifelong and legally permanent new family. An adoption order transfers full parental responsibility for the child to the adoptive parents. The child then usually takes on their adoptive parents’ surname, is issued with an adoption certificate and legally becomes a full member of the adoptive family. They would cease to be looked after.
Residence Orders were introduced in Scotland in 2007. A residence order would give the foster parents parental responsibilities and rights which, depending on the nature of the order applied for, or obtained, might or might not be shared with a parent or someone else with parental responsibilities and rights. This is a route that many kinship carers take to secure a child in their care
Under the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007(Section 80) a permanence order is a court order which will regulate the exercise of parental responsibilities and parental rights in respect of children who cannot reside with their parents but where contact or shared exercise of parental responsibilities and parental rights is or may be appropriate. A permanence order may remove some or all parental responsibilities and parental rights and grant them to other persons specified in the order.
What is the process if a foster parent is asked or wishes to consider permanency?
Any decision on the part of the foster parent/s to apply to be a permanent foster parent for the child must be properly considered as part of the care planning process for the child. If this is agreed then Fosterplus would undertake to assess the foster parents as permanent foster parents, and the local authority would apply to their fostering panel to approve the match.
If foster parents are directly approached by a local authority to be permanent foster parents for a child already placed with them, they should refer the local authority to their supervising social worker. Permanence decisions should not be taken in haste or because foster parents feel under pressure; there needs to be a real commitment for the long term care of children by foster parent/s wishing to consider permanence.
Can a foster parent who has a child placed on a permanent basis continue to foster other children?
Fosterplus will consider the foster parents’ continuing status as a foster parent/s for other children as part of the foster care review process, just as we would any other significant change in family circumstances. The local authority for the child placed permanently would be consulted prior to any placement being made.
Health and Social Care Standards
Scottish Ministers developed the Health and Social Care Standards to ensure everyone in Scotland receives the same high quality of care no matter where they live. The Standards explain what you can expect from any care service you use, written from the point of view of the person using the service. They also help you raise concerns or complaints. There are five main principles behind the Standards:
Dignity and respect
Responsive care and support
The standards cover, children, foster parents, staff and panel and outline the minimum that can be expected of a service. All services must comply with this and should go beyond the minimum.
The standards were reviewed and updated in 2018.
The Role of a Foster Parent
A foster parent is someone who is approved under the Looked after Children Regulations (Scotland) 2009 to provide an appropriate placement for a looked after child. Regulations and statutory guidance state that foster parents should care for any child placed as if the child is a child of the foster parent’s family.
The Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 state the duty of a foster parent amongst other things as outlined in Section 36 (3) is:
“To care for the child as if that child were a member of that person’s family and in a safe and appropriate manner;”
Foster parents are expected to work as part of the ‘corporate parent’ team helping the child or young person. The role of the corporate parent is to act as the best possible parent for each child they look after and to advocate on their behalf to secure the best possible outcomes – in effect, to do exactly what they would do for their own child. It is the job of Fosterplus to help foster parents to provide the level of support that fostered children deserve.
Once a foster parent is approved by Fosterplus, they will be notified in writing of this fact and of the terms of their approval as outlined in Regulation 24. They will also be required to enter into a signed foster parent agreement. By law, the foster care agreement must cover the following as outlined in Schedule 6 of the Looked After Children Regulations 2009:
1. The support and training to be given to the foster parent.
2. The procedure for the review of approval of a foster parent.
3. The procedure for handling of complaints against foster parents.
4. The procedure in connection with the placement of children, and in particular
- The matters to be covered in foster placement agreements and the respective obligations, under any such agreements, of Fosterplus and the foster parent;
- The financial arrangements which are to exist between Fosterplus and the foster parent, including any special financial arrangements in relation to particular categories of children who may be placed with the foster parent;
- Fosterplus’s arrangements for meeting any legal liabilities of the foster parent arising by reason of a placement; and
- The procedure available to foster parents who wish to make representations to the local authority which placed the child.
5. The foster parent’s obligation to give written notice to Fosterplus forthwith, with full particulars, of
- Any intended change of address;
- Any change in the composition of the household, any other change in personal circumstances, any other event affecting either the foster parent’s capacity to care for any child placed or the suitability of the household and any criminal convictions arising between approval and subsequent reviews; and
- (Any further request or application of a kind mentioned in paragraph 11 of Schedule 3.
6. The foster parent’s obligation
- Not to administer corporal punishment to any child placed with them;
- To ensure that any information relating to a child placed with them, to the child’s family or to any other person, which has been given in confidence in connection with a placement is kept confidential and is not disclosed to any person without the consent of Fosterplus;
- To comply with the terms of any foster placement agreement, to care for the child placed with the foster parent as if the child was a member of that person’s family and in a safe and appropriate manner and to promote the child’s welfare having regard to the local authority’s immediate and longer-term arrangements for the child;
- To notify Fosterplus immediately of any serious illness of the child or of any other serious occurrence affecting the child; and
- Where the placement is terminated, to allow the child to be removed from their home by the local authority.
Foster Parent Agreement
A full copy of your Fosterplus foster parent agreement can be accessed from going to your charms account and looking at progress notes to see the Agreement relevant to you which requires to be digitally signed.
Foster parents and data protection
In addition to the clause on confidentiality required by fostering regulations, since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA2018) Fosterplus has included the following expectations of foster parents in the foster parent agreement:
- To hold and keep all information securely and to comply with Fosterplus’ Information Governance and Data Protection policies.
- To use the CHARMS system and/or encrypted e-mails and/or other secure forms of delivery for recording and communicating personal data about a child placed with them.
- When an individual child's foster placement with them ends, to ensure that any information held by them about the child is returned to Fosterplus.
Significant changes to the foster parent/s' household
The foster parent agreement states that foster parents must immediately inform Fosterplus where there is any change in the foster parent(s) personal circumstances (or that of a significant other household resident), which affects or might reasonably be expected to affect the foster parent(s) capacity to care for any child placed, or the suitability of the household, [for example changes in employment status, health issues, marital/relationship difficulties, financial difficulties, serious child management issues/concerns]. This will usually trigger a review of the circumstances, normally in the form of a Foster parent Review.
What happens if a foster parent has a new partner?
The fostering regulations refer only to approval of individuals, not households. Statutory guidance makes it clear that where two people will be sharing the care of a child, whether they be a couple or any other partnership, they should be jointly assessed but each will be approved as a foster parent.
Fosterplus has a Significant Relationship Policy which outlines the stages of our involvement and what needs to happen depending on the status of the relationship. If you enter into a new relationship or intend for any other adult to become part of your household, which does not necessarily mean they intend to move in, you should talk with your supervising social worker before this happens and at the earliest possible time. This policy can be accessed via Downloads on CHARMS.
What if foster parents want members of their extended family or friends to move into the household?
The foster parent agreement requires that foster parents inform Fosterplus of any proposed changes to the household, such as adult children or elderly relatives moving in. Advance notice will allow sufficient time for reflection and discussion about the impact this may have on currently fostered children and future capacity to foster and whether any safeguarding checks – such as a Disclosure check – should be undertaken.
Fosterplus may place a foster parent ‘on hold’ from undertaking any fostering activities in circumstances where any adult joins the foster parent household without prior agreement.
Fosterplus has a Significant Relationship Policy and Guideline which outlines at what stage certain things require to happen to ensure we are within the law and also safeguarding children and foster parents.
What if a foster parent becomes pregnant?
Fosterplus regards pregnancy as another ‘anticipated significant change in your circumstances’ and we would expect to be advised as early as possible that a foster parent is pregnant. As well as bringing joy, both pregnancy and the arrival of a baby can place great demands on a family. Pregnancy can have a major impact on a foster parent's feelings about fostering. For some foster parents it can signify a time when they choose to stop fostering, at least temporarily, in order to concentrate on the needs of their own family. For others, a new baby can simply be a wonderful addition to their family which has little impact on their fostering activities.
Some foster children will feel anxious and worried that they will be moved from their foster family when a new baby is born. These fears can be very powerful when a foster child is in a long term placement. We do not believe foster children should be moved from a successful and stable placement simply because of pregnancy. However, it is important that foster parents discuss their feelings and views with their supervising social worker from early in their pregnancy so that proper arrangements can be made to support the whole family and each individual member in making the right decision.
In all cases, we would want to review with the foster parents, as sensitively as possible, their capacity to continue fostering both in the immediate and longer term, without making any assumptions.
Foster parents and child minding
Separate to their fostering activities, some foster parents choose to provide child minding services. Child minding is subject to registration and (for minding children under 8 years old) regular inspections from the Care Inspectorate. The two roles are not necessarily incompatible, but inevitably one activity will have an impact on the other: for example, being available early each morning to welcome the 'minded' child for the day may mean being unavailable to take a foster child to school. Importantly, some foster children may present a risk to young children because of certain dangerous behaviours.
Foster parents considering offering child minding services must always discuss this with their supervising social worker before applying to the Care Inspectorate.
What are foster parent reviews?
Fostering regulations require that every foster parent’s approval must be reviewed within a year of approval, at Panel every 3 years following and internally every year and whenever the fostering service thinks this is necessary. The review must consider whether the foster parent/s and their household continue to be suitable to foster and whether their terms of approval are still appropriate.
Fosterplus expects foster parent reviews to look closely at the fostering undertaken by the foster parents, including successes and challenges, as well as the services and support provided by the agency. First reviews and then every third review thereafter will are always brought to a fostering panel and foster parents are expected to attend.
Foster parent reviews are not to be confused with the foster child’s LAAC review or child’s attendance at the Children’s Panel.
Foster Parent Reviews Policy
A copy of the Fosterplus policy for foster parent reviews can be viewed on CHARMS under policies and procedures.
Go to: Downloads
Process for Internal foster parent reviews
The local Fosterplus office is responsible for arranging and overseeing each internal foster parent review, which will normally involve preparation of reports, obtaining people’s views and a meeting with the foster parent/s. Each review meeting will be conducted by a reviewing officer who is another Fosterplus Service Manager which allows for a more independent eye to review the work of the foster parent and the support in place.
Information collected for the review
As part of the review process, Fosterplus must make whatever enquiries it considers necessary to inform a judgement about continuing approval. This may include checks, such as disclosures, in relation to any new members of the household.
We are required by law to take into account the views of the foster parent/s, any child placed (if they are able to contribute) and any social worker responsible for a child who has been in placement since the last review (or since approval, if it is the foster parent’s first review). In addition, we invite comments from children of the foster parents and anyone else professionally involved with the foster parents; for example, schools. Supervising social workers prepare a report that takes into account all the gathered views. Foster parents will have sight of this report prior to the review.
Matters covered by the review
The focus of a foster parent review is on the foster parents - to acknowledge both achievements and difficulties, and note any specific fostering work carried out by the foster parents, and any training undertaken. The review will involve discussion and consideration of the views that have been collected. The review will identify any learning and development needs and how these are to be met. It will consider the impact of any support which has been provided and whether any additional support is required. However, these matters will also be addressed when they arise and not just saved until the next review.
In effect, the review will provide an "overview of the year", and will act as an annual update of the circumstances of the foster parents as well as planning for future placements. The review will update the health and safety standards checklist, as well as confirm insurance arrangements are in place. The review will place a big emphasis on the training requirements and whether foster parents have attended mandatory/core training and if not the reasons for this and identify further training needs. The review will make recommendations as to the continued registration of the foster parents.
The review reports
The agency decision maker will consider the review reports, and the recommendation/s (of the review) and make their decision as appropriate.
Foster Parent Review Report Forms
A copy of the review report forms can be downloaded from CHARMS, along with all the other forms used to collect people’s views:
Go to: Download – Foster Parent Review Documents
Proposals to change foster parents' terms of approval
If having considered the review reports the Fosterplus decision maker thinks it is appropriate to change the foster parent/s’ terms of approval and the foster parents are not in agreement with this, the foster parent has 28 days to make representation and request a review of the decision.
If the foster parent is in agreement with the proposed change to their approval terms, then as long as Fosterplus identifies in writing any additional support needs, the decision maker can proceed to an immediate decision.
Role of the supervising social worker in relation to foster parent reviews
The supervising social worker is responsible for:
- Ensuring all records in the foster parent/s’ case record on CHARMS are up to date;
- Meeting with each foster child to ensure they know of the child’s wishes and feelings and act accordingly;
- Inputting into the review process through discussions with the service manager or reviewing officer;
- Supporting fostered children/young people to complete their review forms, where requested;
- Completing the supervising social worker’s review report;
- Attending the review meeting;
- Arranging circulation of the review reports to the independent reviewing service manager and foster parents
- Noting from the completed reports any recommendations about the support needs of the foster parents and ensuring that these are implemented;
- Liaising with the Learning and Development Team to ensure training needs are met.
Every fostering service must convene fostering panels to carry out the functions listed below. Fostering panels play a very important quality assurance role, providing objectivity and the ability to challenge practice which is felt to fall short of the regulations or health and social care standards, or not to be in the interests of children. They bring a degree of independence from the fostering service and cannot make decisions themselves, but rather make recommendations which the agency decision maker (ADM) must take into account. They are also required to give feedback to Fosterplus following every panel. This feedback is considered and acted upon if appropriate.
Who sits on a Fostering Panel?
Fosterplus fostering panels generally meet monthly in both Glasgow and Edinburgh Fosterplus offices (or online). Foster parents are given the opportunity and encouraged to attend and be heard at all panel meetings at which their approval is being discussed and to bring a supporter to the panel if they wish.
The fostering panel includes a mixture of professionally qualified, foster parents and lay people who are independent of the service. There is one Fosterplus representative who sits on all panels. The chair of the panel is independent. The panel also has a medical adviser who advises on health issues and a legal adviser if required. The medical advisor and legal advisor do not sit on the panel. There will generally be 6 people on each panel. A full list of panel members can be requested. An annual report of the previous year’s business is published each year and this contains information about panel members. This can be requested if you wish to see a copy.
Core Functions of a Fostering Panel
- To consider applications for approval and recommend whether or not a person is suitable to act as a foster parent and, if so, the terms on which they should be approved e.g. number, age and gender of children to be placed;
- To consider the first review of approved foster parents, thereafter 3 yearly panel reviews and any subsequent reviews referred to it by the fostering service, and recommend whether or not they remain suitable to act as foster parents, and if the terms of the approval remain appropriate;
- To consider any representations from applicants or foster parents in relation to matters of approval;
- To oversee the conduct of assessments carried out by the fostering service;
- To monitor and advise on the procedures for undertaking reviews of foster parents;
- To give advice and make recommendations on any other matters relating to the panel business.
A copy of the Fosterplus Fostering Panel Policy can be accessed on CHARMS / Download