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6.7.2 Support, Training and Payment to Family and Friends - Connected Person Carers

This chapter is currently under review.

S30 of the Fostering National Minimum Standards 2011 (FNMS 2011) requires that there should be an equality of support to Family and Friends/Connected Person Foster Carers even if the support is delivered differently. S30 sets out that both mainstream and special training should be available to F&F/CP Carers as well as support groups with other F&F/CP carers.

The support provided to F&F/CP carers should recognise and support the family with the change in the status of the relationship between the carer and the child (S30 FNMS 2011).

S30 FNMS 2011 also sets out an obligation on the part of the placing authority to work with other agencies (e.g. Housing) to mitigate against the carer's limitations to look after the child.

The support and training needs of family & friends foster carers must be assessed and met in the same way as for other carers. Currently there is no expectation that Family and Friends (Connected Persons) Foster Carers will complete the Induction Standards of the Children’s Workforce although this option is available to all approved foster carers.

Family and Friends (Connected Persons) who are approved as foster carers will receive the fostering allowance including the holiday/clothing allowance.

Where there are exceptional needs, which will impact on the child's best interests, consideration must be given to making an exceptional payment.

Family and Friends (Connected Persons) foster carers must receive training, support and information that is relevant to their needs and enables them to provide safe and appropriate care for the child.

The responsibilities of the Family Placement Service for information, management, supervision and training, also apply to Family and Friends (Connected Persons) foster carers. The detail of how these operate in practice may need to be adapted to take into account the specifics of these placements. However, any changes must not result in poorer quality of service for the children or the carers.

The Family and Friends (Connected Persons) Team must allocate a Supervising Social Worker who will visit the carers monthly. In exceptional circumstances contact with the Family and Friends (Connected Persons) Team may vary. Any change to this standard must be recorded with the reasons why. There must be a minimum standard of four supervision visits per year.

All carers approved under the Fostering Services Regulations must have an annual unannounced visit.

Carers must be reviewed annually, the first review being presented to Fostering Panel and every third review after that to the Panel Chair. Other reviews must be presented to the manager of the Family and Friends (Connected Persons) Team for approval.

Following an investigation where there has been an allegation or serious complaint against a carer, the review must be presented to Fostering Panel for a recommendation to the agency decision maker on re-approval (please see the Allegations and Suspicions of Harm Concerning Foster Carers Procedure).