Foster Carer Post Allegation Review of Approval
RELATED CHAPTERAllegations Against Foster Carers Procedure
A full Post Allegation Review involves a significant piece of work with the foster carers, which will lead to a recommendation to the Fostering Panel about whether to re-approve the foster carers. This process will take place following an allegations management meeting where an allegation has been made against a carer, and there are serious concerns that they have acted inappropriately. The social worker for the child must ensure that the fostering social worker is made aware of any new information.
In the case of either an unsubstantiated allegation or one in which the investigation concludes that abuse has occurred, there may be a need for a full post allegation review. The foster carers must be told what the process is. A second fostering social worker or senior practitioner may be appointed to undertake the post allegation review with the foster carers' allocated fostering social worker. Workers will be supervised by the team manager of the allocated supervising social worker.
The social worker/s will meet together with the Supervising Team Manager to identify the issues to be considered during the process of the review. These will include matters raised by the evidence presented to the strategy meetings and any police statements. Such issues will include:
- Foster carers' record of fostering with the department, including any previous concerns of a serious nature;
- Foster carer' responses to the matters raised; although the foster carers will have had the opportunity of responding earlier in the process they may have been under considerable stress at the time and it will be crucial to explore with them in greater depth their views on the substance and context of the allegation;
- Child's behaviour patterns within the household, any changes in the child's immediate environment prior to the allegation, details of the care plan;
- Any information specific to the particular enquiry, which requires further clarification.
The Fostering Team Manager may decide to request an update of some or all references, for example personal references, school references.
The social worker/s will meet with the foster carers on a number of occasions to clarify the issues listed. The carers must be seen both together and separately. The stressful nature of this process for both carers and social workers must be acknowledged; it may be necessary to arrange for the interviews to take place away from the carers' home, and to limit the length of any one interview. Social workers should confirm again at this stage that foster carers have access to appropriate support. Records of these meetings should be given to foster carers and signed by the social worker and carers as accurate.
Usually the second social worker will take the lead in interviews with the carers' social worker recording and asking ancillary questions as necessary.
The Reports to be Presented to the Fostering Panel
The papers presented to the Fostering Panel in the case of post allegations review must include the following:
- Front sheet Detailing papers presented and reasons for any omissions;
- A full set of foster care review papers;
- The post allegation review report;
- In some situations it may be appropriate to update the original Form F assessment; this will be at the discretion of the Fostering Team Manager;
- Any report from, or on behalf of the foster carer.
The post allegations review report will be structured as follows:
- Introduction with reasons for the post allegation review;
- Details of the foster carers' record with the department including positive comments valuing the work done with children and young people where appropriate, and full details of any previous allegations or matters of concern and how these were resolved;
- Information about the child to whom the allegation relates, including behaviour within the home, background history as appropriate;
- Full details of the allegation and the process of investigation including the outcome of any Section 47 report;
- Carers' responses to the above;
- Summary of interviews with the carers;
- A full and careful analysis of all information collected which will lead to a conclusion and recommendation to the Fostering Panel;
- The conclusion and recommendation must indicate the social workers' views on whether or not the carers' approval should continue.