Change in Composition of Foster Carer Households
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter should be read in conjunction with New Partners of Approved and Prospective Foster Carers Procedure.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was substantially revised and updated in March 2014 and should be re-read.
The Foster Carer Agreement and undertaking requires all foster carers to notify the fostering service in writing without delay of any change in the composition of their household. If a foster carer embarks on a new relationship and the new partner is staying overnight then an assessment is required of the change of circumstances. On supervising social worker's visits, where there is a new partner, there must be discussions as to the amount of time s/he spends in the household, the contact s/he has with any fostered children and a judgement formed as to when to begin an assessment. The supervising social worker should also discuss this in supervision to make their manager aware.
If the supervising social worker discovers that there has been a change in the foster carer's household without prior notice, the manager must be informed and an immediate review of the foster carer's approval must be convened - see Foster Carer Reviews Procedure
In these circumstances, a suspension of the foster carer's approval may have to be considered at the review.
Where a foster carer proposes that any person will join the household, notice must be given before this occurs in sufficient time to enable a Disclosure and Barring Service enhanced check to be carried out on the relevant person and an assessment at the appropriate level to be undertaken before the change in household composition occurs. The required detail of the assessment will depend on the extent to which the new member of the household will undertake a caring role in relation to any child placed. Where the new member of the household will play a part in caring for the child in the placement, consideration will be given to the need for a full Assessment as for any new partner of the foster carer. Otherwise, the assessment will be considered at a Foster Carer Review which should be convened to consider the change in the foster carer's circumstances - see Foster Carer Reviews Procedure
This will determine whether any change to the foster carer's terms of approval is required and if so, a report to the Fostering Panel will be prepared.
For Exemptions to the usual limit of three children and Alterations or other Extensions to Approval, see Exemptions and Variations of Approval Procedure
Any new household members over the age of 18 years must undertake an enhanced DBS disclosure immediately.Where the new household member is a partner, see: New Partners of Approved and Prospective Foster Carers Procedure. An Immediate DBS check, must be undertaken.