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6.2.3 Assessment and Approval of Foster Carers

NOTE

Approved prospective adopters - for temporary approval as foster carers of, see Fostering for Adoption Procedure

If the enquirer or applicant is a Friends and Family or Connected Person, the process below applies but Viability Assessment/Regulation 24 CS0221F10 constitutes the formal application and the stage 2 assessment is undertaken as a Full Assessment of Relative/Friends/Connected Person Wishing to Care for Children as a Family & Friends Foster Carer  CS0221F14

Click here for LCS Guidance

AMENDMENT

This chapter entirely replaces the previous chapter and should be read in full.


Contents

1. Responding to Initial Enquiries
2. Initial Visit: Enquiry stage progressing to Application Stage 1
3. Training Course: Assessment Stages 1 and 2
4. Application - Assessment - Stage One
5. Checks and References - Enquiry and Application Stage 1 and 2
  5.1 Checks (Enquiry and Stage 1 Assessment)
  5.2 Where Disclosure and Barring Service checks produce a trace (Enquiry and Stage 1 Assessment)
  5.3 References (Stage 1 and  2 Assessment)
  5.4 Sharing of information for the purposes of foster carer or adopter assessments to/from other foster services/adoption agencies (Enquiry and Stage 1 Assessment)
6. Decision not to proceed with assessment following Stage 1
7. Assessment - Stage Two
  7.1 Stage Two Assessment: Framework and Timeframe
  7.2 Stage 2 Assessment Content
  7.3 Progression to Fostering Panel Recommending Approval
  7.4 Progression to Fostering Panel recommending ‘not suitable’
8. Foster Panel Administration Process
9. The Foster Panel Recommendation and Decision Making
10. Representations / Independent Review Mechanism (IRM)
11. After the Approval
12. Register of Foster Carers
13. Flowchart


1. Responding to Initial Enquiries

All members of the public who make an initial enquiry by telephone, email or letter in relation to becoming a foster carer will be referred to the Fostering Recruitment Service from Customer Services. All enquirers will be treated as a potential resource and given a prompt response. During the ensuing phone call basic information for the Enquiry stage of the process will be obtained and the Adoption and Fostering Service Recruitment Form Initial Telephone Enquiry (link to follow) will be completed and entered onto electronic records (LCS) and the enquirer will be provided with basic information about fostering. Section 13 of the Fostering National Minimum Standards 2011 (FNMS 2011). Section 19 of the FNMS 2011 requires that recruitment is undertaken in a formal manner which is fully recorded  F

The preliminary basic information includes numbers in the household, the availability of a separate bedroom for foster children, working hours. A check will be carried out in relation to enquirers and all members of their household on Children's Services records.

Where the enquirers are not previously known, they will be sent an Information Pack and letter, that will include the Smoking Policy for Foster Carers CS0332HCC Policy on Pets in Foster Carers Homes CS0333 and Foster Carers Accommodation Policy CS0331 and Use of Alcohol Policy (to follow). The Information Pack will be sent within 1 working day of the enquiry. 

Where the enquirer or a member of the household is known to Children Services, the enquiry will be passed to the Team Manager for a decision on how to proceed. At this early stage, it may also be appropriate to advise these enquirers against pursuing fostering if they clearly do not meet the basic criteria (see Criteria for Foster Carers Procedure). The Team Manager's decision will be communicated to the person concerned, with reasons given, and the decision will be recorded. Where the decision is not to proceed the referral will be closed. Where the decision is to proceed, the enquirer will have been sent an Information Pack and the same procedure will be followed as for all other enquirers.


2. Initial Visit: Enquiry stage progressing to Application Stage 1

A Placement Recruitment Team worker will visit the prospective carers in their home to have an in depth discussion regarding the fostering task. Initial Visit Form CS0252F8 will be completed by the worker, and this constitutes part of the formal application. Checks (see Section 5, Checks and References - Enquiry and Application Stage 1 and 2), will be started as soon as information and consents available.

To continue with application enquirers must be told that:

  • They must have sufficient accommodation in line with Foster Carers Accommodation Policy CS0331 i.e. each child over 3 has their own bedroom, or sharing is agreed by HCC;
  • They must be prepared to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service enhanced check, health and local authority checks, and to provide names of suitable referees, including a referee from any current and any previous employment related to children and consent to ex partners being contacted;
  • They must (both in respect of couples) be prepared to undertake Skills to Foster training, usually prior to approval, and following approval;
  • They must be made aware of:
  • If they have lived abroad for 6 months in the past 10 years they must be prepared to get a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country where they lived;
  • They should sign Consent to checks form.

The foster home will also be thoroughly checked to ensure it provides appropriate and safe accommodation for the child, as well as safe transport. Each child over 3 has their own bedroom, or, where this is not possible, the sharing of the bedroom has been agreed by the placing authority. A risk assessment must be conducted in regard to pets: CSF4492 Pet Assessment will be undertaken.

The outcome of this visit will be written in the Initial Visit Form CS0252F8 for the Placement and Recruitment Team Manager, who will decide whether the application continues or not, taking account of HCC’s Policy on equality of opportunity.

If the Placement and Recruitment Team Manager believes the application should continue, CSF4399 Invitation to Skills to Foster Course Letter must be sent when a training group has been organised.

If the Fostering Team Manager does not think the application should continue s/he must write a personal letter to the applicant outlining the reasons for not pursuing the application.

However teams, according to local need, may fast-track enquiries and the enquirers may attend the Skills to Foster Course at a later stage, prior to presentation to Fostering Panel.

Click here for LCS Guidance


3. Training Course: Assessment Stages 1 and 2

The Skills to Foster Training Course will cover in detail all aspects of the fostering task.  Enquirers/applicants will be booked on the course once their completed Initial Visit Form CS0252F8 is accepted. All enquirers/applicants will be required to attend this training, which is an integral part of the assessment process. Trainers will inform enquirers/applicants of this at the start of the course. It may only be undertaken post approval in exceptional circumstances.

Should the trainer become aware of any concerns during the course, s/he will raise these with the eqnirer(s)/applicant(s) and then, with the Team Manager. The Team Manager will decide whether the concerns are addressed and if it is appropriate to continue with this process.

The objectives of the course are:

  • To raise awareness and understanding of the key issues which need to be addressed by all foster carers;
  • To assist applicants to consider more thoroughly the implications of fostering;
  • To assist applicants to determine the type of resource they can offer to the children needing foster placements.
The trainers will provide written feedback on issues relating to the applicants, including evidence of competencies met, for the assessing social worker, which must be used in his/her assessment.


4. Application - Assessment - Stage One

When the initial enquiries lead to a decision to assess the enquirer’s suitability to become a foster carer he/she will be asked to complete Application to Become a Foster Carer CS0252F1 The Enquirer then become the Applicant. This Application Form, Initial Visit Form CS0252F8 and the Adoption and Fostering Service Recruitment Form Initial Telephone Enquiry  are the full application.  Where the Enquirer is a Friends and Family or Connected Person Viability Assessment/Regulation 24 CS0221F10 constitutes the formal application. This obtains the following basic information relating to the applicant and other members of their household and family:

  • Full name, address and date of birth;
  • Details of health;
  • Particulars of any other adult members of the household;
  • Particulars of the children in the family, whether or not members of the household, and any other children in the household;
  • Particulars of their accommodation;
  • The outcome of any request or application made by them or any other member of their household to foster or adopt children, or for registration as an early years provider or later years provider under Part 3 of the Childcare Act 2006), including particulars of any previous approval or refusal of approval relating to them or to any other member of the household;
  • If the applicant has, in the preceding twelve months, been a foster parent approved by another fostering service provider, the name and address of that fostering service provider;
  • Names and addresses of six persons who will provide personal references see Section below;
  • In relation to the applicant and any other member of the applicant ’s household who is aged 18 or over, an enhanced criminal record certificate;
  • Details of current, and any previous, marriage, civil partnership or similar relationship;
  • The views of, the local authority, in whose area the applicant  lives, if different;
  • Where the applicant  was approved as a foster carer by another fostering service provider, and consents,  access may be requested to the relevant records compiled by that other fostering service provider in relation to the applicant  That agency must provide the information within 15 working days;
  • Where the applicant  has been approved as a prospective adopter by an adoption agency, and consents, access may be requested to the relevant records compiled by that adoption agency in relation to the applicant. That agency must provide the information within 15 working days.

Any health concerns must be raised in a preliminary discussion with the appropriate Medical Adviser and applicants must be told if the Medical Adviser's view is that the concerns may preclude approval 

On receipt of the completed application form, consent to medical checks and authorisations for the statutory checks/references, the administrative staff will input the date of the application and details of the household members on the electronic records.


5. Checks and References - Enquiry and Application Stage 1 and 2

5.1 Checks (Enquiry and Stage 1 Assessment)

These will be started at the Enquiry stage and continued through the Stage 1 of the Application process by the Adoption and Fostering Recruitment Team.

Consents: Individual applicants must sign CSF4175 Consent to Checks Letter, CSF4176 Medical Consent to Checks Letter and CSF4177 Notes on Patients Rights to consent to checks being made with the Disclosure and Barring Service, the local authority where the applicants have lived during the last 10 years, Health Visitors, General Practitioners and schools (where carers have children in school).

DBS: Evidence, verifying identity of each individual must be seen i.e. birth certificate, passport or driving licence) - see Disclosure and Barring Service Guidance Notes. The applicant's right to work in the UK must also be checked (S19 FNMS)

The following checks will be made on all members of the household aged 18 and over: Disclosure and Barring Service, Ofsted, Probation, Health Trust, Education, Children's Services (including the List of Children with a Child Protection Plan) and the NSPCC, and whether the applicant's have a right to work in the UK. If the applicants live or have lived outside the local authority area, the checks must be made with the local authority and medical check with relevant GP where the applicants live/have lived. These checks should be recorded including the date when the checks were made. (S19 FNMS 2011).

Nobody may be approved as a foster carer if they have been cautioned for, or convicted of, a specified offence, unless they were under the age of 18 at the time of the offence. 

Health: CSF 4178 Letter to the GP will be sent to the enquirer/applicants' General Practitioner with enclosures. On return of reports, CSF4182 letter to Medical Adviser will be sent to the county Medical Adviser. CSF4179 Form to Health Visitor will be sent to the Health Visitor.

LA Checks: Where the applicant or any member of the household has been known to Children's Services, information should be obtained from the relevant social worker. See also Section 1, Responding to Initial Enquiries

Applicants have recently moved to the UK (within the last 10 years):  checks may be made through Protecting Children and Uniting Families Across Borders (formerly known as International Social Services) and/or the relevant Consulate on all members of the household aged 10 and over. Additionally applicants will be required to obtain a certificate of good conduct from their respective embassy.

Education: The Assessing Social Worker will send CSF4180 School Reference Letter/Form to the school.

Other Fostering Agencies/Adoption Agencies (where relevant): Assessing Social Worker will request relevant records which will be provided within 15 working days of receipt. See Section 5.3, References (Stage 1 and  2 Assessment)

Early Years Provide (where relevant): Assessing Social Worker will request relevant records.

5.2 Where Disclosure and Barring Service checks produce a trace (Enquiry and Stage 1 Assessment)

Where the checks reveal that the applicant or a member of the household is a Disqualified Person (Foster Carer), see Persons Disqualified from Fostering Procedure, the Team Manager will carry out a risk assessment and forward to the Human Resources DBS Team to present to the Operations Director of Specialist Services who must assess the trace against the likely risk to any child placed, taking account of the specified offences set out in the Fostering Services Regulations 2011.

Where the information relates to an offence, which does not automatically disqualify the applicant, for example because the applicant is seeking approval in relation to a specific child only, the Team Manager must consider whether the application should still proceed. Such convictions will not necessarily preclude an application, but this will depend on the seriousness of the offence and how long ago it was committed. In a case where the conviction would usually disqualify an applicant, the case should be referred to the Fostering Panel and the Agency Decision Maker (Fostering) for a preliminary decision - see Persons Disqualified from Fostering Procedure. In any other case where there is doubt, an early referral should be made to the Fostering Panel and/or Agency Decision Maker (Fostering).

Information relevant to the application that has been obtained from the Disclosure and Barring Service may only be retained on the applicant's file for a limited period and should be destroyed when a decision is made on the application. The manager should note on the file that the Disclosure and Barring Service information has been destroyed and that the information led to a particular view, without citing the information itself.

See also New and Ex Partners of Approved and Prospective Foster Carers Procedure

Click here for LCS Guidance

5.3 References (Stage 1 and 2 Assessment)

Where the applicant has been a foster carer within the preceding 12 months and was approved as such by another fostering service provider, a reference must be requested from that other fostering service provider. There is no requirement to also interview personal referees in this circumstance (although there is a power to do so).

Otherwise, each applicant will be asked to provide the names of six personal referees, who are adults who know the applicants well.  One will be related to one of the applicants, others will have known the applicants for at least three years, and one referee will be an employer. Less than 3 years will only be acceptable with the Team Manager's approval and this will be shared with the Fostering Panel.

The assessing Social Worker will contact at least three of the six for references for a written reference (CSF4183 Personal Reference Letter/Form). These three referees will be interviewed in person or, exceptionally over the telephone if agreed by the Team Manager.

Referees and any other family members spoken to during the preparation of the report should be informed in writing about the position in relation to confidentiality. A written reference will not be shown to an applicant unless the applicant requests disclosure and the referee consents to disclosure. The same applies to information and opinions shared in the course of conversation. These will not be disclosed to an applicant without permission. However, referees and others should be made aware that it will often be necessary to discuss with applicants information and opinions expressed although where this happens, the particular source of the information or opinion will not be disclosed but an applicant may make a challenge through an access to records request. Referees should be sent a written record of the discussion held with the assessing social worker and be asked to sign their agreement to it being a true record.

Information cannot be kept confidential if there are any safeguarding issues.

When prospective foster carers have children from a previous relationship, Assessing Social Workers should usually seek a reference from previous partners and/or adult children (taking care not to disclose confidential personal information about the applicant).  If this is not possible, or the applicant has a good reason why they do not want this (i.e. an abusive relationship) a reference must be sought from someone who knew the foster carers as a couple. Where there were any children of the relationship or where children were cared for jointly, the social worker will arrange to interview them face-to-face wherever practicable. All adult children of the applicant(s) living away from home will also be contacted, where possible.

Where there is a joint application, referees should usually know both applicants, or additional referees will be required.

A written reference must be obtained from each applicant's current employer regardless of the applicant's occupation. In addition, where the applicant has frequently changed jobs, written references should also be obtained from past employers.

Where the prospective applicant has made a previous application to foster or adopt, the relevant agency must be asked to confirm in writing the outcome of the application and provide a written reference.

On receipt of the references electronic records will be updated.

See also New and Ex Partners of Approved and Prospective Foster Carers Procedure

Click here for LCS Guidance

5.4 Sharing of information for the purposes of foster carer or adopter assessments to/from other foster services/adoption agencies (Enquiry and Stage 1 Assessment)

Sharing of information about a person that is held in their existing foster carer or adopter records is permitted for the purposes of informing a new assessment of a person’s suitability to foster or adopt. Personal data is information about a living person,

Foster services and adoption agencies are required to provide information to assist in a current assessment. Information should only be shared with the informed, explicit consent of all parties referred to, including young people (or their parent/person with PR)

If consent is refused the fostering service or adoption agency should only be shared if it is considered that there is information in the records that is a cause for concern. Documents may need to be redacted to remove information relating to individuals that have refused consent.

If consent is given the following should be shared:

  • Original assessment (if recent enough to be relevant;
  • Last review or any other review considered useful;
  • Details of any concerns and how addressed;
  • Details of any allegations(see Children Act 1989 Guidance Volume Fostering Services para 3.79);
  • Any other information considered to be relevant to the assessment of the person’s suitability to foster/adopt.
Request for information should be accompanied by written consent(s). The receiving service should acknowledge the request in two working days, seek consent from all other referred to in the information withing five working days and the information, redacted where necessary, should be provided within 15 working days.


6. Decision not to proceed with assessment following Stage 1

If the Team Manager decides, because of information obtained, that the applicant is not suitable to become a foster carer, the applicant must be notified in writing with reasons. This notification may be given whether or not all of this information has been obtained. Such a notification may not be given more than 10 working days after all the information has been obtained. The applicant has no right to make representations, or to have their case reviewed, under the Independent Review Mechanism, but will be informed that they can complain via the fostering service’s complaint process Complaints, Compliments and Representations if they are unhappy with the way in which their case has been undertaken. The Complaints process will address whether or not the applicant’s case has been handled in a reasonable way, rather than question the applicant’s suitability to foster.

Where all the specified information has been obtained and notification has not been given within 10 working days that the applicant is not suitable, then the application will proceed to Assessment - Stage Two.


7. Assessment - Stage Two

7.1 Stage Two Assessment: Framework and Timeframe

The Fostering Panel must make its recommendation on the application within eight months of the receipt of the formal application

Where the Assessment - Stage One information has been obtained, and no notification has been given within 10 working days that the applicant is not suitable to be a foster carer, either:

will be undertaken by a suitably qualified Social Worker or student Social Worker who is closely supervised by a suitably qualified Social Worker.

A brief report or a partially completed report may be completed when the decision is that the applicant is not suitable to foster if where, having regard to the information obtained (notwithstanding that not all the information has been obtained), it is decided that the applicant is unlikely to be considered suitable to become a foster parent,

The assessment  will gain evidence of the applicant(s)’ competencies to become foster carer(s). The evidence could include testimonials from a range of sources in addition to direct observation of their interaction with children.

When sharing information about an individuals applying to foster, it is important this is done in a way that protects their personal information e.g. health information between partners.

The assessment will

  • Use the Fostering Network Assessment (link to follow);
  • Be accompanied by the Application Form (link to follow) and Initial Visit Form CS0252F8 or  Viability Assessment/Regulation 24 CS0221F10;
  • Check that the applicants have signed the mutual application form at the beginning of the assessment;
  • Be undertaken over a series of visits;
  • Have at least one session individually with each applicant, and any children of the household where of appropriate age and understanding;
  • Include contacting ex-partners, personal referees and adult children;
  • Include a tour of the property to complete CSF3936 Health & Safety Checklist - Fostering, signed off by the Team Manager;
  • Team Manager must initial Disclosure and Barring Service check to confirm satisfactory on Fostering Network Assessment (link to follow) or Viability Assessment/Regulation 24 CS0221F10.

The assessing social worker will draw up a written agreement (link to follow) setting out the dates for the assessment visits and the date for the presentation to the Fostering Panel inform the applicant(s) of any revised timescales if there are delays.

The applicant(s) will be:

  • Notified that the case is to be referred to the fostering panel;
  • Given a copy of the report;
  • Invited to send any observations in writing within 10 working days (beginning with the date on which the notification is sent);
  • Advised of their right to attend the meeting of the Fostering Panel, which considers their application.
At the end of the 10 working days, (or when the applicant’s observations are received, whichever is sooner), the report, the applicant’s observations on that report, if any, and any other relevant information obtained, will be sent to the fostering panel

7.2 Stage 2 Assessment Content

The information gathered during the assessment, the Preparation/Training Course and the checks and personal references, will form the basis of the assessment set out in the Fostering Network Assessment (link to follow) or Viability Assessment/Regulation 24 CS0221F10

The following will be undertaken:

  • Obtain the following  information relating to the applicant and other members of  the household, together with any other relevant information:
    • Details of personality;
    • Religious persuasion, and capacity to care for a child from any particular religious persuasion;
    • Racial origin, cultural and linguistic background and capacity to care for a child from any particular racial origin or cultural or linguistic background;
    • Past and present employment or occupation, standard of living, leisure activities and interests;
    • Previous experience (if any) of caring for their own and other children;
    • Skills, competence and potential relevant to their capacity to care effectively for a child placed with them;
  • Consider whether the applicant  is suitable to be a foster parent and whether the applicant ’s household is suitable for any child;
  • Prepare a written report, on the applicant  which includes the following matters:
    • The information required to be obtained, as set out above;
    • Any other relevant information;
    • An assessment of the applicant’s suitability to be a foster parent;
    • Proposals about any terms of approval.

The assessing social worker will complete all parts of the assessment, which will record all appropriate factual information and address issues including the applicants' understanding of the following areas:

  • Child rearing;
  • Caring for children born to someone else;
  • Contact between children and their families;
  • Helping children to make sense of their past;
  • Sexual boundaries and attitudes;
  • Awareness of sexual and other forms of abuse;
  • Health and health promotion;
  • Promotion of education;
  • Approaches to discipline;
  • Awareness of how to promote secure attachments between children and appropriate adults
  • Religion;
  • Standards of living and lifestyles;
  • Racial, cultural and linguistic issues;
  • Experiences of disability and attitudes to disability;
  • Awareness of equal opportunities;
  • Understanding and dealing with young people's behaviour including encouraging children to take responsibility for their behaviour and helping them to learn how to resolve conflict.

The list is not exhaustive - other issues relevant to the individual applicant and his or her family may need to be addressed. The skills and personal qualities that need to be evidenced will be different according to the type of fostering the applicants want to do, e.g. babies and toddlers, short term or permanent.

Applicants will be encouraged to be actively involved in contributing towards the assessment, and supported to provide their own written report/portfolio for Panel to evidence their capabilities and to support their application.

Any further enquires required to complete the reference checks will be undertaken see Section 5.3, References (Stage 1 and  2 Assessment)

7.3 Progression to Fostering Panel Recommending Approval

Once the assessing social worker has completed a draft, it should be submitted to the Team Manager for discussion in order to identify whether there are any issues that are unclear or need further work before the assessment is completed.

The final draft will then be sent to the applicants.  The applicants should be asked to sign and return the report, if agreed, and/or send their comments in writing to the assessing social worker.  It should be explained to them that they have 10 working days to do this, (or they can be asked to sign a disclaimer stating they do not wish to take 10 working days to comment) and that any written comments they make will be circulated to Fostering Panel members, with the report.

The Assessment will then be passed to the Team Manager to be endorsed and counter-signed.

The social worker will then send the Assessment and the applicants' written comments (if any), a full health report, the report on the interviews with the referees, the report from the local authority for the area where the applicant lives (if they live in a different local authority area) and any other relevant documents, to the Panel Administrator at least 10 working days before the relevant Fostering Panel meeting. This should be held to enable the Fostering Panel to make its recommendation on the application within eight months of the receipt of the formal application.

A letter will be sent to the applicants with the date, time and venue of the Fostering Panel as soon as possible, together with written information about the Panel process, who will attend and their respective roles. If the applicants know a particular Panel member, the applicants may request that the Panel member stand down. (Panel members are in any event expected to declare an interest in these circumstances - see Fostering Panel Procedure).

7.4 Progression to Fostering Panel recommending ‘not suitable’

If before the assessment is completed in Stage 2, information comes to light indicating that the applicant is unlikely to be suitable to foster, ‘a brief report’ can be complies setting out details of the assessment done and the reasons for considering the applicant unsuitable.

The applicant must be informed that

  • The brief report is to be sent to the Fostering Panel;
  • Provided with a copy of the brief report;
  • Given 10 working days from the date of the notification to send their observations to the Team Manager;
  • They are invited to attend the Fostering Panel, with date, time and venue and information about the Panel process.

The brief report or assessment report should then be presented to the fostering panel for consideration along with any observations submitted by the applicant and any other relevant information. See Fostering Panel Procedure

The Fostering Panel makes a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker.  When the Agency Decision Maker determines that the applicant is not suitable to foster, the applicant will be sent a copy of the report and informed in writing that they may (within 28 calendar days) seek a review of this Qualifying Determination by the Independent Review Mechanism or make representations/complaint to the Team Manager.

See Fostering Panel Procedure, Representations and the Independent Review Review Mechanism (IRM).


8. Foster Panel Administration Process

The Assessing Social Worker will book a Fostering Panel date, with the panel administrator, as soon as applicant(s) are allocated to him/her to assess. S/he must ensure that 14 days before the Panel 1 copy of the report, and any written observations of the applicants, are provided for the Panel Administrator. See Fostering Panel Procedure

Late papers will not be circulated.

Click here for LCS Guidance


9. The Foster Panel Recommendation and Decision Making

Please see Fostering Panel Procedure, Recommendations and Decision Making for coverage of recommendations and decision making

The Fostering Panel will consider the reports together with all the supporting documentation and any additional information presented verbally, and make a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker (Fostering) regarding the suitability of the applicant for fostering.

The recommendation, with reasons, will be recorded in writing and, where approval is recommended, the category of fostering, any limitations of the approval to named children (for example in the case of a Family and Friends Foster Carer) or conditions as to the age range or number of children to be placed in the foster home will also be specified

If the decision is to refuse approval, the Assessing Social Worker and Team Manager will assess the need for further counselling and arrange any necessary follow-up action e.g. offer to write to the GP.


10. Representations / Independent Review Mechanism (IRM)

When the Agency Decision Maker determines that the applicant is not suitable to foster, the applicant will be sent a copy of the report and informed in writing that:

See Fostering Panel Procedure, Representations and the Independent Review Review Mechanism (IRM).


11. After the Approval

Once approved, the Panel Administrator will enter the foster carers' approval details, including their first review date, on the Fostering Register database (see Section 12, Register of Foster Carers) and update the electronic records. They will also send notice of the outcome to all agencies consulted during the assessment and approval process.

see Support and Supervision of Foster Carers Procedure, Support Provided by the Supervising Social Worker including Post Approval

The supervising social worker will continue to provide support and supervision to the foster carer up to, during and after all placements and ensure that they understand the need to undertake Disclosure and Barring Service and other checks and assessments on any new member of the household - see Change in Composition of Foster Carer Households Procedure and New and Ex Partners of Approved and Prospective Foster Carers Procedure or, where there is any significant change in their circumstances which affects their fostering, for example any new relationship, pregnancy or bereavement and the need to repeat Disclosure and Barring Service checks on themselves every three years - see Foster Carer Reviews Procedure.


12. Register of Foster Carers

A Business Object Report has information downloaded from LCS of all approved foster carers. This will have:

  1. The name, address, date of birth, sex and ethnic origin of each foster carer;
  2. The date of approval and of each review of the approval;
  3. The category and current terms of the approval;
  4. The name, address, date of birth of each Connected Person with whom a child is placed under Regulation 24 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 and who has been granted temporary approval as a foster carer, together with the date and terms of the temporary approval.
Once approved, the foster carers' approval details, including their first review date, will be added.


13. Flowchart

Note: Hertfordshire Stage 1 and 2 are undertaken concurrently. This diagram, devised by the Department for Education as part of Assessment and approval of foster carers: amended guidance illustrates how stages 1 & 2 of the assessment process fit together. It is not intended to cover all actions a Fostering Service must undertake as part of the process - Foster Services must refer to the regulations and statutory guidance for this information. It should be noted that at any point in the process applicants (1) can withdraw, in which case the process ends; and (2) can complain to the FS (and must be informed of their right to do so if they are turned down in stage 1).

Stages 1 and 2: Foster carer assessment & approval process

End