Procedure to Support Foster Carers through Practice Issues

This procedure relates to all foster carers. Standard 20 of the Fostering Standards places an expectation on the fostering service to ensure that carers are supported in their ongoing learning and development.  

Foster carers will have more successful placements and feel valued if they are well supported to ensure that their practice is of a high standard.

There are times when carers practice may fall below the standard required and support or training may be needed for further development to take place.

This procedure should be followed in cases where the usual training and supervision offered is not having the desired outcome in terms of meeting practice standards which ensure high standards are maintained within the placement.

A carer may be struggling to maintain the standards which are required for registration and this may come to the attention of professionals working with them as a result of one of the following:

  • A complaint by a child or parent;
  • Concerns arising from supervision;
  • Concerns expressed as part of the carers annual review;
  • Concerns expressed by another carer or professionals.

When there is an ongoing concern regarding practice, in the first instance it should be discussed with the carers in their supervision visit and consideration given to how  the carer can develop the skills required for improvement.

In a situation where a carer is unable or unwilling to make improvement then a Practice Improvement Plan should be put into place.

An example of this would be a continued failure to meet a requirement where the Supervising Social Worker has made repeated efforts for development to take place

Examples of areas of concerns could be record keeping, maintaining safety standards or standards of hygiene, non compliance with the requirements for National Training, Support and Development Standards portfolio, behaviour management methods used with children in their care.

In cases such as those outlined above or in other areas of concern relating to practice the following procedure must be followed.

Supervising Social Worker, SSW discusses the areas for development for the foster carer, (FC,) with the Team Manager, (TM). At this meeting any previous actions taken to resolve concerns should be discussed.

  • A meeting between F.C, S.S.W and TM should take place to discuss the issues;
  • Team Manager to write to the F.C outlining the areas for development and how this will be implemented;
  • A written Practice Development Plan should be drawn up with the carer with reasonable timescales. The objectives of this plan should be specific, e.g. the carer will produce daily records as of date. These will be checked by S.S.W;
  • The written Practice Development Plan should be agreed and signed by F.C, TM and carer;
  • Progress of the carers development should be discussed at supervision between the carer and Supervising Social Worker and updates reported to the appropriate Team Manager;
  • At the end of the agreed timescale the TM and S.S.W will review the plan;
  • It may be at this point that expectations have been met and no further action is required other than to record the outcome on the personal improvement plan;
  • If there is a continued inability to achieve the required competence/standards, a review will be held. This could be the next annual review depending on the nature of the concerns. Following the review a recommendation will be made to the fostering panel regarding the registration status of the carer.

Recommendations may cover the following options:

  • De-registrations;
  • Change of carer's profile;
  • Plan for further action.