Fostering - Introduction, Purpose and Overview
The forms used by the Fostering Service are available on Links to all Fostering Forms.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was reviewed and hyperlinks updated in March 2018.
These fostering procedures are concerned with recruitment, assessment and support of foster carers, the placement of children and young people and related matters.
All members of the community have equality of access to be considered to train as a foster carer. However no-one has a right to be a foster carer, we may prioritise as determined by the needs of the service. All foster carers are recruited and approved in relation to the needs of the children in the county. Training places are offered to those judged to offer what is needed at the time of recruitment.
The legal framework guiding work in this arena is the:
- Statutory Guidance Assessment and Approval of Foster Carers. July 2013;
- Fostering Services National Minimum Standards 2011;
- Fostering Services Regulations 2011;
- Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2010;
- Children Act 1989;
- Care Standards Act 2000;
- Adoption and Children Act 2002.
Each section in these procedures contains the process to be followed with details of the standard letters or formats that need to be completed.
H.C.C. values its foster carers and in line with Fostering Services National Minimum standards 2011 does have a Foster Carers Charter in place.
The Fostering Services Regulations 2011 sets out a values statement which underpins the National Minimum Standards and Regulations as follows:
- The child's welfare, safety and needs are at the centre of their care;
- Children should have an enjoyable childhood, benefiting from excellent parenting and education, enjoying a wide range of opportunities to develop their talents and skills leading to a successful adult life;
- Children are entitled to grow up in a loving environment that can meet their developmental needs;
- Every child should have his or her wishes and feelings listened to and taken into account;
- Each child should be valued as an individual and given personalised support in line with their individual needs and background in order to develop their identity, self confidence and self-worth;
- The particular needs of disabled children and children with complex needs will be fully recognised and taken into account;
- The significance of contact for Children Looked After, and of maintaining relationships with birth parents and the wider family, including siblings, half-siblings and grandparents, is recognised, as is the foster carer's role in this;
- Children in foster care deserve to be treated as a good parent would treat their own children and to have the opportunity for as full an experience of family life and childhood as possible, without unnecessary restrictions;
- The central importance of the child's relationship with their foster carer should be acknowledged and foster carers should be recognised as core members of the team working with the child;
- Foster carers have a right to full information about the child;
- It is essential that foster carers receive relevant support services and development opportunities in order to provide the best care for children;
- Genuine partnership between all those involved in fostering children is essential for the NMS to deliver the best outcomes for children; this includes the Government, local government, other statutory agencies, fostering service providers and foster carers.
3. Identity, Self Esteem and Development
The Fostering National Minimum Standards 2011 reinforce the developing identity and self esteem as fundamental to the fostering task.
Standard 2 of the Fostering National Minimum Standards 2011 requires fostering services to take steps to promote the child's identity, self-esteem and confidence through a range of measures which respect the child's identity. Including:
- Enabling children to develop emotional resilience and self esteem;
- Allowing children to exercise choice about what they eat, preparing meals and snacks within the limits that a reasonable parent would set;
- Enabling children to exercise choice about clothes and personal requisites;
- Children receiving a personal allowance appropriate to their age and understanding.
Standard 4 of the FNMS 2011 requires that foster carers encourage children to take risks that are age appropriate and teach them to stage safe including their use of social networking and the internet.
Standard 8 of the FNMS 2011 requires that fostering agencies have an education policy which requires foster carers to encourage a child's educational attainment (including pre and post school) through working with teachers and other education settings as appropriate.Standard 11 of the FNMS requires that carers are supported to maintain links with children who leave their care and Standard 12 explicitly requires that foster carers and the fostering agency should be fully involved in supporting young people into adulthood.
4. Equality and Diversity
Hertfordshire County Council Fostering Service is committed to openness and equality, treating all children and families with dignity and respect. No child, family, foster carer or foster family will be discriminated against because of their disability, colour, ethnic or national origins, race, gender, sexual orientation, and political or religious beliefs.
In accordance with S2 of the Fostering National Minimum Standards 2011 (FNMS 2011) the fostering service values diversity and key role this plays in the development of identity, self-esteem and resilience. Accordingly the service routinely acts to promote the identity, self-esteem, emotional resilience and confidence of children in foster care.
5. Equality in Employment and Service Provision
Throughout this policy reference to the terms in bold type should be read as indicated by the explanatory note.
This policy has been written to comply with requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, the Disability Discrimination, Act 1995 and Hertfordshire County Councils Putting People First Equalities Policy.
- Children and Young People: Refers to all children and young people regardless of race, ethnicity and cultural heritage. No child or young person will be discriminated against because of their disability, gender or ethnicity;
- Foster carer: In order to become an approved foster carer for Hertfordshire County Council applicants must demonstrate their commitment to equality of opportunity throughout the assessment process and their fostering career;
Foster carers are recruited from the general population. We aim to recruit foster carers who are representative of the local community. Individuals, couples and families will be recruited and assessed, with the assessment being taken to Panel for approval, taking account, and not discriminating against, individuals on the basis of their disability, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, colour or ethnicity;
Training and information about training: is available to all foster carers approved by Hertfordshire County Council Fostering Panel. We aim to provide training at a venue suitable for all;
- Support: is provided consistently to all approved foster carers regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, heritage and religion;
- Supervising Social Workers: are recruited, inducted and provided with training that supports Hertfordshire County Councils 'Putting People First' equalities policy. Supervising Social Workers are allocated assessments and carers to support based on their current work load and any assessed match, taking account of the Fostering Service commitment to equality of opportunity;
- Professional Assistants: are recruited, inducted and provided with training that supports Hertfordshire County Council's 'Putting People First' equalities policy. Professional Assistants support placements based on assessed need taking account of gender, disability, religion and ethnicity whilst promoting equality of opportunity;
- Senior Practitioners: are recruited, inducted and provided with training that supports Hertfordshire County Council's 'Putting People First' equalities policy. Senior practitioners are Supervising Social Workers with additional responsibilities. They are allocated assessments and carers to support based on capacity and any assessed match, taking account of the Fostering Service commitment to equality of opportunity;
- Placements: The Brokerage Team match children and young people with foster carers based on the assessed needs of the child or young person and the foster carers ability to meet their needs, particularly in relation to race and ethnicity (For further information please see the Section 5.2 of this manual, Placements);
- Health: relates to every child and young person's right to have their health care needs met, taking account of their individual age, gender, race, culture, heritage, ability and/or disability. Health incorporates mental ill health (for further information please see Section 5.7 of this manual, Health and Wellbeing);
- Education: all children and young people have the right to fair access to educational opportunity irrespective of their race, gender, culture, ability, disability, sexual orientation and looked after status. For further information please see the Section 5.6 of this manual, Education, Leisure, Holidays and School Trips.
6. Statement of Purpose
Regulation 3 of the Fostering Services Regulations 2011 requires fostering service providers to compile a written Statement of Purpose consisting of:
- A statement of the aims and objectives of the service;
- A statement as to the services and facilities to be provided by the fostering service.
The Statement of Purpose must be provided to OFSTED and to:
- Any foster carer or prospective foster carer of the fostering service;
- Any child placed with a foster carer by the fostering service;
- The parent of any such child.
The Statement of Purpose must be approved by the Council's elected members and reviewed at least annually (CSF4106).
A copy of the current Statement of Purpose is available on hertfordshire.gov.uk.
If the Statement of Purpose is required in another format we will arrange for it to be translated into another language or widget
7. Children's Guide
Regulation 3 of the Fostering Services Regulations 2011 requires fostering service providers to produce a Children's Guide to the fostering service which includes:
- A summary of the Statement of Purpose;
- A summary of the procedure established for children to make a complaint;
- Details of how children can secure access to an advocate;
- The address and telephone number of OFSTED.
The Children's Guide must be provided to OFSTED and to:
- Any foster carer approved by the fostering service;
- Subject to their age and understanding, any child placed with a foster carer by the fostering service.
A copy of the current Children's Guide to Fostering is available on hertfordshire.gov.uk.
If the Children's guide is required in another format we will arrange for it to be translated into another language or widget.