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6.4.2 Termination of Approval of Foster Carers and Supported Lodgings Carers

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

It should be noted that foster carers, Supported Lodgings Carers (and prospective foster carers) are able to request an independent review through the Independent Review Mechanism of any decision by their agency not to approve them or to terminate or change their approval.

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AMENDMENT

The hyperlinks in this chapter were revised and updated in March 2014.


Contents

  1. Uncontested Termination of Approval
  2. Contested Termination of Approval
  3. Foster Carer's Attendance at Panel Following an Allegation or for Contested Termination of Approval

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1. Uncontested Termination of Approval

Where the carers wish to resign or agrees with the Supervising Social Worker's recommendation to de-register, they must be asked to formally tender their resignation in writing to the Fostering or Supported Lodgings Team Manager.

The Fostering or Supported Lodgings Team Manager must consider whether the request requires presentation to Panel because of concerns about practice. A Termination of Approval form must be completed and returned for the file. The formal de-registration letter must be recorded on the carer's file and the file closed.

The Fostering Services Manager must be informed and sent a copy of the termination of approval form by the Team Administrator.

The de-registration must be entered on LCS by the Team Administrator.


2. Contested Termination of Approval

All cases where the recommendation to de-register is contested must be referred to Panel and the carers must be invited to attend.


3. Foster Carer's Attendance at Panel Following an Allegation or for Contested Termination of Approval

This procedure should be read in conjunction with the “Managing Allegations Against Adults Who Work with Children and Young People Procedure" (of the Hertfordshire SCB Procedures).

Foster carers or Supported Lodging Carer’s must always be invited to attend Panel in these circumstances and strongly encouraged to attend. Foster carers or Supported Lodging Carers must also be formally advised that Panel has the power to recommend de-registration in these circumstances and that it is in the carer's interests to attend to put their view directly to Panel.

Where they decline to do so, the Supervising Social Worker must write to the carers confirming that they have declined to attend against advice of the fostering service. The carer's written comment on their review form or appended to their review will be the only information presented to Panel in these circumstances and late written information will not be accepted.

When booking Panel, the Supervising Social Worker must make it clear that carers will attend. A 40 minute slot will be allocated.

A letter of invitation to attend Panel together with all the information to be presented to Panel must be sent to the foster carer(s) at least 4 weeks prior to the Panel date by the Supervising Social Worker.

Two weeks prior to Panel, papers must be sent to the Panel Administrator together with any written information received from the carers. The Supervising Social Worker must confirm with the Panel Administrator the carer(s) intention to attend Panel.

If the  carers wish to make a complaint, they should be advised to do so separately in accordance with CS&SS complaints procedure. They cannot lodge a complaint via the Panel process, which must proceed regardless of the fact that a complaint has been made.

The carers must be advised that they may invite a friend to support them in Panel. However, the supporter may only speak in Panel if the carer feels unable to speak for her or himself.

If carers wish to invite a solicitor, they must be informed that the solicitor can only act as supporter and not as legal representative or advocate. Where a carer intends to bring a solicitor, they must give two week's notice in order for the Department to consider whether to take legal advice.

Papers presented to Panel should include:

  • Panel front sheet;
  • The most recent review and minutes of that review if within the last 6 months a newly completed review;
  • Summary of any issues raised at previous Panels (to be summarised by the Supervising Social Worker from the Panel minutes);
  • Summary of the allegation, complaint or issues of concern. This must include written confirmation of the outcome of any child protection or complaint investigation. The Social Worker's report must also include an evaluation of the information and recommendation, with reasons, endorsed by the Team Manager. The recommendation in cases where the allegation or complaint was founded in whole or in part must as a minimum include a plan of action to address the concerns. In cases of serious concern the recommendation will inevitably be for de-registration;
  • Any written report from the carers;
  • Post placement review forms from the carers and Social Workers;
  • An IRO report.

Panel should not receive any paperwork which the carer does not have access to. In exceptional circumstances where this is not possible, the situation must be discussed with the Panel Chair at least two weeks prior to Panel.

The Supervising Social Worker and their Team Manager will be asked to join the Panel to answer any questions arising from the report before the foster carer(s) are invited to join the Panel. Questions from members of Panel will be under the direction of the chair.

The Social Worker, Team Manager and carer(s) must withdraw whilst Panel deliberates and comes to a recommendation. All parties will be advised of the recommendation immediately following the Panel by the Panel Chair and supported by the Panel Advisor.

The recommendation and decision-making process must take place in the usual way. See Assessment and Approval of Foster Carers Procedure, Representation/Independent Review Mechanism. If no representations are made within 28 days, the decision must be confirmed in writing and de-registration confirmed.

Where the approval is terminated, the Agency Decision Maker, in consultation with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) will decide whether to refer the former carer to the Disclosure and Barring Service for inclusion of the carer's name on the Children's Barred List.

Where there may be some doubt, the Fostering Services Manager must discuss the matter with the Head of Child Protection and Review.

End