What Happens Now I am Approved?

Standards and Regulations

Fostering Services National Minimum Standards (England) 2011:

The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011:

Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care:

1. Introduction

Congratulations, now you have been approved as a foster carer you will be allocated a Supervising Social Worker from the fostering service. They will make sure you have all the information and support needed to offer the best possible placements to children and young people.

Your approval as a foster carer will be regularly reviewed, see Reviewing my Approval and Appeals.

You will be asked to enter into a Foster Care Agreement with the fostering service.

2. Your Role

  • Providing a safe and caring environment for the child/young person;
  • Supporting and meeting the health needs of the child/young person;
  • Ensuring a child/young person's attendance at educational settings including nursery, school, college and any placement. Encouraging them to learn and help them with their homework;
  • Contributing to life story work while a child is in placement with you;
  • Supporting and, if appropriate, facilitating contact with a child's birth family and significant others;
  • Supporting and, if appropriate, facilitating the transition between a fostering placement and an adoptive/other placement;
  • Establishing routine, clear boundaries and having an understanding of issues that impact upon the child/young person;
  • Supporting and promoting the child's development so they can achieve their full potential and have the best life chances;
  • Preparing the child/young person for independence.

3. What Information do I Need When a Child is Placed

A social worker from the fostering service will contact you when looking for a placement for a child/young person that is in your approval category. When they do, you need to be sure that the child/young person will be best placed with you.

It will be useful to prepare a list of questions that you may want to ask when they call. If you are unsure about any placement you must discuss this.

You may want to ask:

  1. The social workers name, is the case allocated, if not, who you contact in the future;
  2. The child's name, age, how they identify in relation to gender, ethnic origin, religion;
  3. Does the child have any special dietary, cultural or linguistic needs;
  4. The child's legal status;
  5. General picture of the family situation;
  6. What are the contact arrangements?
  7. How is the child's health, do they have any allergies or medical problems, specific equipment or are they currently on medication;
  8. Are they at school, nursery or placement? Are there any issues;
  9. Does the child have any communication issues?
  10. Any there any behavioural problems;
  11. Are there any known risks from the child, e.g. aggressive or sexualised behaviour;
  12. Who will bring the child and with what clothes and belongings?
  13. When will you have full information about the child?

You need as much information as possible about a child/ young person before they come into your home.

You should receive written information before the placement from the child's social worker. Occasionally for example in emergencies, there can be a delay, but this should be no longer than 5 days. No information can be withheld from you without a manager's approval and this will only be in rare cases.

4. Meeting The Child/Young Person

Wherever possible there should be a period of introductions between you, your family and the child.

This should involve:

  • The child/young person receiving information about you, your home and members of your family network;
  • The child/young person having at least one overnight visit where possible before a placement is confirmed.

Throughout the introduction process, you should talk to the child/young person about general information about bedtimes, meals, visitors, pocket money, school, privacy and your general high expectations about behaviour.

The child should be encouraged to talk about what they expect so they can sort out any concerns before the placement starts.

5. Unaccompanied Children From Abroad

From time to time, placements will be needed for children who have entered the UK as unaccompanied asylum seeking children, unaccompanied migrant children or child victims of modern slavery including trafficking.

Some of these children will have been trafficked or persecuted and may have witnessed or been subject to horrific acts of violence. Other migrant children may have been sent in search of a better life, or may have been brought to the UK for private fostering and subsequently exploited or abandoned when the arrangement fails.

As a foster carer, if you have a child placed with you in this situation, the Placement Plan and future reviews should help you understand the plan for the child and what you can do to help support the child in placement, particularly in relation to meeting their cultural needs and addressing any trauma they may have experienced. Your Supervising Social Worker can help you to develop a better understanding of the circumstances and the support which can be accessed for both you and the child.

6. The Child's Care Plan

The child's Care Plan provides information of the work that must be done to meet the needs of the child/young person. It is the social worker of the child or children who holds responsibility for specific advice or support in relation to the child and his or her Care Plan and Placement Plan.

The Care Plan usually includes:

  • The child's Placement Plan (setting out why the placement was chosen and how the placement will contribute to meeting the child's needs);
  • The Permanence Plan (setting out the long term plans for the child's upbringing including timescales);
  • The Pathway Plan (where appropriate, for young people leaving care);
  • The Health Plan;
  • The Personal Education Plan;
  • The contingency plan;
  • The date of the child's first Looked After Review (within 20 working days);
  • The name of the Independent Reviewing Officer.

7. The Child's Placement Plan

The Supervising Social Worker, you, the child/young person, family members and the child's social worker will put together the Placement Plan. This is completed either on the day or within five days of a placement being made.

The Placement Plan covers:

  • Purpose of the placement;
  • Any agreements about health or educational needs;
  • The child's personal history;
  • The child's likes/dislikes;
  • The rules of the placement, including how the child should behave;
  • Agreements for contact between the child/young person, family or relevant individuals;
  • When social work visits to the child and yourself will happen and any review meetings.

See: Understanding Placement Plans and Looked After Reviews

8. The Children's Guide

The child/young person should receive this when they start a placement. This guide will help children and young people understand about foster care and provide information that may be important to them. It will tell them about their rights and how they can contact people such as their Independent Reviewing Officer, Children's Commissioner or Ofsted if they wish to raise a concern. It will also explain the information which the fostering service keeps on them and why, including who it might be shared with, and their right to access their case file.

You should go through the guide with the child/young person in terms they understand.

If the child needs the Children's Guide in another format such as in another language or Makaton the fostering service should provide it.