Support, Training and Payment to Family and Friends - Connected Person Carers
For more information about the Skills Level Payment Scheme, which is open to all foster carers (including connected people or family and friends), please see the Foster Carer Payments website.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was reviewed and updated in September 2022.
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 Family and Friends carers.
The support provided to Family and Friends 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 and Friends foster carers must be assessed and met in the same way as for other carers. Family and Friends (Connected Persons) Foster Carers will complete the Training, Support and Development (TSD) Standards within 18 months of approval.
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.
On completion of mandatory training and evidencing their skills via the TSD workbook, Family and Friends foster carers can return to panel to seek approval at Standard Level which will lead to an additional skills payment.
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 Team must allocate a Supervising Social Worker who will visit the carers regularly. Contact with the Family and Friends Team may vary depending on other care planning factors any change to this standard must be recorded with the reasons why. All foster carers will have a minimum of one contact per calendar month and a minimum of 6 formal supervision visits, plus at least 1 unannounced visits per year. It is important to note that this is a minimum and that most foster carers will receive 2 unannounced visits and monthly supervision or more as may be required in accordance with placement need.
Carers must be reviewed annually, the first review and every subsequent third review being presented to fostering panel. Other reviews must be presented to the manager of the Family and Friends Team for approval.
Family and Friends foster carers who complete the bespoke Family and Friends skills to foster training can progress from Foundation to Standard Foster Carers and receive the renumeration payment for skills.
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 Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures, Managing Allegations Against Adults Who Work With Children and Young People Procedure).