Significant Events and Notifications - When I need to tell other people about things

Standards and Regulations

Fostering Services National Minimum Standards (England) 2011:

The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011:

1. Introduction

This information explains what you should do if you become aware of significant event (sometimes also called a 'notifiable event') taking place.

As a foster carer, you should be aware of National Minimum Standard (NMS) 29 - Notification of Significant Events. If you are unsure what constitutes a significant event, it is important that you attend any training provided or are briefed by your Supervising Social Worker on this (see Section 2, What is a Significant Event?).

Should you experience an event or incident within your household or concerning any child placed with you, your first priority should be to make sure the child is safe. You should then discuss it, as soon as possible, with your Supervising Social Worker, a manager from the Fostering Service or Registered Manager of the Agency - even if you are unsure about whether it constitutes a 'Notification' matter. The Registered Manager of the Agency is responsible for sending notifications as described in Schedule 7 The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011 within 24 hours. The Manager may notify the required agencies initially by telephone, but this must be followed up in writing using the appropriate form.

A copy of the notification will be:

  1. Sent directly to the required organisations (typically the placing authority, the host /area local authority (if different) and Ofsted - but can also include the Police and Integrated Care Board) within 24 hours - including weekends, as per Schedule 7; and
  2. Placed on the relevant child and or your file;
  3. Kept by the Manager including details of the action taken, and the outcome of any action or investigation, following the significant event.

2. What is a Significant Event?

The following reflects the relevant Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011 and Fostering National Minimum Standards 29 - Notification of Significant Events:

  • The Death of a Child;
  • A Serious illness or serious accident of a child placed with you;
  • The outbreak in your foster home of any infectious disease (which in the opinion of a general practitioner attending the home is sufficiently serious to be notified);
  • An allegation that a child placed with you has committed a serious offence;
  • Any concerns that a child placed with you is being sexually exploited;
  • The Police have been called to your home as a result of a serious incident relating to a child placed there;
  • A child placed with you has gone missing (see also: Missing Children);
  • Any serious concerns about the emotional or mental health of a child placed with you, such that a mental health assessment would be requested under the Mental Health Act 1983.

Click here to see the NMS Standard 29 (which includes Schedule 7 Events and Notifications Table).

3. Other Incidents / Concerns

If you experience an incident which is not 'a significant event' but which you are concerned about, you should always share this with your Supervising Social Worker or another member of the Fostering Service so they can provide advice/ guidance on any next steps.

Examples are:

  • Assault by a foster child on you or a member of your household;
  • Serious accident or injury to you whilst carrying out your duties;
  • Any event which may result in media interest;
  • Conduct of any foster carer, not directly connected with their role, which may raise questions about their suitability as a foster carer.

All foster carers have a responsibility to report any concerns / incidents to their Supervising Social Worker or duty worker who will inform the fostering service manager. There should be no delay in reporting any concerns or incidents.