6.1.6 Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers
RELEVANT GUIDANCEGOV.UK, Prepare for a review panel: adopters and foster carers
Formal reviews of foster carers will take place at least annually.
Reviews will take place more frequently in the event of a significant change in circumstances of a foster carer for example where there are concerns about the care provided by the foster carer as a result of a complaint or allegation.
As well as formal reviews, there will be regular dialogue and feedback between the supervising social worker and the foster carer.
2. Consultation with Foster Carer before the Review
Prior to the formal review, the supervising social worker will send to the foster carer a copy of the review report to enable them to prepare for the review in advance. The foster carer will have the opportunity to communicate his or her views verbally or in writing to the fostering worker.
The views of all members of the foster carer's household will be sought as well as the written comments and opinions as to the foster carer from all social workers who have used the foster carer for a placement since the last formal review as recorded on the social worker's end of placement report. This will include contacting a social worker from outside the authority where appropriate.
The fostering social worker will also seek and take into account the views of any child placed with the foster carer since the last review via the child's social worker.
3. Formal Annual Review
The Fostering Reviewing Officer will undertake the review, which will involve a face to face meeting with the foster carer and the fostering social worker, generally at the foster home. At the review meeting, the agenda as set out in the Foster Carer Review Form will include an appraisal of the foster carer's training and development needs, an evaluation of the training received since the last review, the foster carer's views of the service and support provided as well as the appropriateness of placements made and the care provided by the foster carer. The review will also consider regulatory requires, such as completion of medicals and DBS, and the carers' skills level to make a recommendation of this.
The fostering service will have a clear process for foster carers to follow in the event that they are unhappy with any of the review recommendations.
A copy of the Review Form and a record of the outcome of the review will be retained on the foster carer's case record.
4. Presentation to the Fostering Panel or Agency Decision Maker
A report must be presented to the Fostering Panel on the foster carer's first annual review for a recommendation and thereafter may be presented to the fostering panel where the agency considers it is necessary to do so. This may include where significant changes to the foster carer's approval or the termination of the foster carer's approval are recommended or where any circumstances exist which in the opinion of the Fostering Service Manager require consideration by the Fostering Panel. This may include the situation where an updating Disclosure and Barring Service check reveals a new concern about the foster carer or a member of the household.
The supervising social worker will present the review findings and recommendations to the Fostering Panel or Agency Decision Maker in a written report which incorporates the views of the child or children placed, the written views of the foster carer and any report provided by a social worker particularly where concerns have been expressed about a placement with the foster carer. Any recommendations for change in the foster carer's approval should be highlighted in the report.
Where the Review recommends the termination of approval of the foster carer, see Section 6.1, Proposal to Terminate Foster Carer's Approval.
Where the Fostering Panel's recommendation is for a different category of approval, see Section 6.2, Proposal to Revise the Terms of the Foster Carer's Approval.
Where the foster carer has decided to give up fostering, see Section 8, Resignation by Foster Carers.
5. After the Fostering Panel
The foster carer will be informed in writing by the Fostering Service of the outcome of the review.
A copy of the Review Form, a record of the outcome of the review, minutes of the panel and a record of the agency decision will be retained on the foster carer's case record.
6. Representations / Review ProcedureAssessment and Approvals of Foster Carers Procedure, Representations / Independent Review Procedure. Notification / representations will need to be received by the Panel Administrator within 28 working days of the date of the notice of the decision being sent to them. The Panel Administrator will then notify the foster carer within 7 working days of the date when the Panel will reconsider the matter.
The foster carer will not have the right to request a review by an Independent Review Panel if he or she is regarded as disqualified as a result of a conviction or caution for a specified offence - see Persons Disqualified from Fostering Procedure.
If no written representations or notification of a request for a review are received within the period, a final decision to terminate approval can be made.
If written representations are received within the period, the matter must be referred to the Fostering Panel for further consideration. Foster carers wishing to make representations in person to the Panel may be accompanied by a friend or supporter. Where a foster carer wishes to make representations in person, the Panel Chair may consider the Panel meeting as a smaller quorate sub-group.
The Panel will make a new recommendation in relation to the foster carer and a final decision will be made by the Agency Decision Maker taking into account any fresh recommendation made by the Panel.
Written notice of the final decision, together with reasons, must then be sent to the foster carer within 7 working days of the decision.
Where the termination of the approval of a foster carer is being considered, plans for the termination of any current placement will also be required and made as appropriate.
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 foster carer to the Disclosure and Barring Service for inclusion of the carer's name on the Children's Barred List.
6.2.1 Where the Foster Carer is in Agreement
Where, as a result of a review, it is proposed to revise the foster carer's matching criteria, a managers decision action record will be completed to record the reasons and analysis for the change. The foster carer will be sent an agreement stating what the changes are, the foster will sign this and this will be retained on their record.
This is not a Qualifying Determination and the foster carer may not apply for an independent review of the decision by way of the Independent Review Mechanism.
Foster carers must not be pressured to accept changes to their matching criteria.
6.2.2 Where the Foster Carer is not in Agreement
Where the foster carer does not agree in writing to the revision of their matching criteria, they can make representations to the designated manager who will review the decision. The foster carer is also entitled to make representations through the Sheffield City Council customer services team.
7. Updates on Checks
Disclosure and Barring Service checks should be updated every 3 years and if necessary, a review of the foster carer's approval should be carried out immediately to take account of any new information.
Whilst there is no statutory time interval, as good practice medical information should also be updated at least every 3 years by writing to the foster carer's GP. The foster carer is responsible for informing the Fostering Agency of any changes to their health. In the event of any serious concerns about the foster carer's health, a review of the foster carers approval should be carried out immediately.
8. Resignation by Foster Carers
A foster carer may give written notice at any time of their wish to resign from the role. Once written notice has been given, their approval will automatically be terminated 28 days after receipt of the notice. The foster carer cannot withdraw their notice once it has been received, nor can the Agency Decision Maker decline to accept the resignation. Should a foster carer who has resigned subsequently wish to foster again, they will need to be assessed under the procedure for Assessment and Approvals of Foster Carers Procedure. Fostering Panel will be notified of resignations, as part of their monitoring role.