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Procedure for Family Finding for Looked after Children and Young People requiring Permanency via Long Term Foster Care

1. Introduction

The Fostering Service has the responsibility for family finding for children/young people where long term fostering is their agreed Permanency Plan.

When the plan for long term fostering has been confirmed at the Permanency Panel and ratified at the child's 4 month Lac Review, a referral needs to be made to the Placement Team requesting the provision of a long term placement. The Social Worker needs to complete a Placement Referral Form. This will be completed by the allocated Social Worker for the child/young person and must be signed off by their Team Manager.

A Social Worker from the Long-term Family Finding Team (part of the Placement Team) will be allocated as a Family Finder.

The Family Finder will organise an Initial Family Finding Meeting. This meeting will be attended by the Social Worker for the child/young person, the responsible Team Manager and the appointed Family Finder. The Family Finder will chair the meeting and ensure the minutes are uploaded on the child's/young person's electronic record. The child's Social Worker needs to provide a full background history of the child and the child's present functioning and needs, sharing any assessments of the child that have been completed.

The Family Finder will record on the Placement Matching Template on the child/young person's file all enquiries/actions taken regarding family finding. This is accessible to the child's Social Worker and Independent Reviewing Officer.

Review Family Finding Meetings set up by the Family Finder will take place every 3 months or earlier if needed. These meetings will be chaired by the Family Finder who will place the minutes of each meeting on the child/young person's electronic record.

The child's Social Worker is required to keep the Family Finder up to date with any changes in the child's circumstances that may impact on family finding.

Family Finding will be undertaken as required and there will be a period of up to 12 months for the Family Finder to try to identify a suitable foster family in house. However, this timescale is dependent on the child/young person's circumstances and needs and can be reviewed.

2. Identification of an 'in-house' placement

When a potential family is identified, the Family Finder will inform the child/young person's Social Worker and they will jointly consider the suitability of the match taking into account the views of the Supervising Social Worker and the child/young person's Social Worker.

The Family Finder will be responsible for collating all the relevant information for the match.  The Child/Young Person's Social Worker to complete Part A of the 'Matching Report' and the Family Finder will complete Part B.

3. Agency Decision Maker

The Family Finder will arrange, via the Panel Administrator, for the match to be considered by the ADM. Cases for the ADM are considered bi-monthly.

Once a decision is made by the ADM, the details of the decision and rationale are recorded on the child's electronic record and notices are issued in relation to the Foster Carer's approval, saved on the Foster Carer's File.

A Planning Meeting will then be convened by the Family Finder to agree a plan of introductions, consider the support needed for the child and the carers and to agree when the place will commence.

Please refer to Appendix A: Documents Required and Actions to be Taken for list of required documents for the ADM.

4. Identification of an External Placement

If there is no suitable 'in-house' placement, the Family Finder will make a request to the Commissioning Panel for agreement for funding to seek an external long-term placement.  A report will be completed by the Family Finder (See Appendix C: Report to Commissioning Panel Requesting Permission to search for a Long Term Placement with an Independent Fostering Agency) which will be considered by Commissioning Panel.

If the Commissioning Panel gives agreement to search for an external placement, the Placement Referral Form previously completed by the child/young person's Social Worker will be distributed to the Independent Fostering Agencies within the 'White Rose' Consortium.

If a potential suitable match is identified, a Planning Meeting will be held involving the child/young person's Social Worker and the Family Finder to consider the placement and make a recommendation. If the placement is deemed not to be appropriate, further searches will be made within the Consortium.

If there is a request that a child/young person remains in their existing fostering placement with an Independent Fostering Agency, this will be considered at a Family Finding Meeting alongside any current potential external placements on the 'White Rose' Consortium. 

At this stage the Family Finder will undertake an assessment of the current carer(s) ability to meet the long-term needs of the child/young person (See Appendix D: Kirklees Family Placement Unit - Initial Visit to Agency carers requesting to keep children long term) to formulate a recommendation whether to support the match.

If a recommendation is made for the match to proceed, then the case will be presented to the Agency Decision Maker following the process referred to in Appendix B: Matching with External Agency Foster Carers.

In addition to the documents in Appendix B, a breakdown of the costs of the placement will be completed by Family Finder.

Appendix A: Documents Required and Actions to be Taken

Matching with Kirklees Foster Carer

Form F and/ or update review - to be provided by Family Finder

Health and Safety Checklist - to be provided by Family Finder

Amendment to profile (if required) - to be provided by Family Finder

Matching Report prepared by Family Finder and Social Worker for the Child/Young Person

Safe Care Policy- to be provided by Family Finder

CoramBAAF Carers Report and/or Healthy Care Audit -prepared by the Foster Carer and Family Finder

It is the Family Finder's responsibility to make sure all these documents are supplied to the ADM for the match.

Paperwork needs to be in 3 weeks prior to ADM Meeting. It is the Family Finder's responsibility to book the matter on an ADM Meeting.

The Agency Advisor with the ADM will consider the match. The Social Worker for the child and the Family Finder are emailed by the Panel Admin to inform them of the ADM decision and the minutes are uploaded on to the child's electronic record. Panel Admin will also update Liquid Logic to reflect that a long term match has been agreed.

Appendix B: Matching with External Agency Foster Carers

Form F- Prepared by the Independent Fostering Agency

Latest Review Document for the Foster Carer - Prepared by the Independent Fostering Agency

Confirmation that the Foster Carers are approved as long term carers (either review or any other documentation) – Provided by the Independent Fostering Agency

DBS evidence – Provided by the Agency

Medical Reports to evidence 'medically fit to foster' – Provided by the Agency

Healthy Care Audit - Prepared by the Agency

CoramBAAF Carer's Report - Prepared by the Agency

Matching Report - Prepared by child/young person's Social Worker, Family Finder and Agency

Initial Visit Report-Prepared by Family Finder

It is the Family Finder's responsibility to make sure all these documents are collated and presented to the ADM for the match.

A memo requesting funding to be agreed in respect of a particular child is required. This is prepared by the Family Finder and needs to include the following.

  • A breakdown of current costs for the placement and costings for the following 3 years;
  • Any discounts to be applied associated with the placement being long term, caring for a sibling group etc;
  • Date permission was given by Commissioning Panel to search for a long term placement with an Independent Fostering Agency;

Appendix C: Report to Commissioning Panel Requesting Permission to search for a Long Term Placement with an Independent Fostering Agency

Click here to see Report to Commissioning Panel Requesting Permission to search for a Long Term Placement with an Independent Fostering Agency.

Appendix D: Kirklees Family Placement Unit - Initial Visit to Agency carers requesting to keep children long term

Click here to see Kirklees Family Placement Unit - Initial Visit to Agency carers requesting to keep children long term.

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