The Foster Carer’s Charter
The Foster Carer’s Charter
The Foster Carer’s Charter was presented in 2011 as an important step towards foster carers being treated and respected as the professionals that they are in order to get the recognition they deserve and need to provide children with the best possible care…FosterWiki asks has it been delivered?
The Fostering Network first produced a charter in 2011 in consultation with foster carers around the UK. They have updated it with support from a range of organisations including the Department for Education, ADCS (Association of Directors of Children’s Services) and FosterTalk.
A full copy of the charter can be found in a later section “THE FOSTER CARER’S CHARTER”.
2. What is The Foster Carer’s Charter
The Foster Carer’s Charter is an agreement between the provider (local authority or private agency) and the foster carer, which sets out both the fostering service and foster carers roles and responsibilities.
The Charter, introduced in 2011, is intended to represent an important step towards foster carers being treated and respected as the professionals that they are so that foster carers get the recognition they deserve and need to provide children with the best possible care.
3. What the industry said at its launch in 2011
like taking them on holiday or even for a haircut. The new Charter will help to change that.“It underlines the huge value we place on foster carers. Not only as role models to the children who look up to them, but also as pushy parents who put those children first. The Charter sets out clear principles of what support should be available and what foster carers can expect.”
Tim Loughton, Children’s Minister (2011)
Robert Tapsfield, Chief Executive of the Fostering Network (2011)
David Holmes, Chief Executive, BAAF (2011)
Kevin Williams, Chief Executive, TACT (2011, now CEO of Fostering Network)
quality in placements.”
Jane Haywood, Chief Executive, CWDC (2011)
4. The feedback and reception from foster carers
FosterWiki found that the foster carer’s feedback does not reflect that the charter has delivered on its initial promises. We wish that there was a more positive reaction to what has the potential to have a beneficial influence on foster carers as professionals and in turn impact on our children’s outcomes in terms of retention, placement stability and recruitment.
Feedback from foster carers around the UK showed that very few even knew what it was. When they discovered they had one in their local authority they were shocked and had not been informed of its existence, or if they had it was not obvious and they had not seen it.
Little feedback we received reflected the charter having a positive impact on the roles of foster carers and those who did know about it stated that they felt it is ‘largely ignored’. None felt it had led to them being recognised as professionals.
The most important observation is the massive divide and gulf between what the industry says it delivers and what the foster carer’s experiences are on the front line.
Whilst the Charter is fundamentally a positive addition for foster carers it would seem there is work to be done on its recognition and implementation.
Foster carers comments, Sept 2021
Sarah Anderson – FosterWiki founder
5. THE FOSTER CARER’S CHARTER
- What carers can expect from the fostering service
- What the fostering services can expect from foster carers
1. What Foster Carers Can Expect from the Fostering Service Working in partnership
We recognise that foster carers have skills and expertise that makes the biggest difference to the everyday lives of children in care.
- Value your skills and expertise equally to those of other professionals.
- Recognise that you are the people who live with children every day and know them best.
- Include you in all meetings that affect you and the children you care for.
- Ensure that the fostering service will meet the standards set out in fostering regulations and guidance.
- Treat you without discrimination and respect you as a colleague.
- Respect confidentiality.
We know that information is vital in order for foster carers to provide care that meets the child’s needs.
- Give you all the information you need in order to care safely for the child.
- Provide this information in writing prior to placement (except when there are emergency placements and it is not feasible to do so when we will provide this information as soon as possible).
- Ensure that there is a Placement Plan drawn up in discussion with you and agreed with you in advance of placements (except in emergencies where this will be done as soon as possible).
- Provide you with information on all financial matters including tax, allowances and additional entitlements.
- Provide you with full details of all the fostering service policies and procedures.
3. Clarity about decisions
We recognise that in order for children to live a full family life foster carers must be able to make decisions regarding the children they foster.
- Ensure that, wherever possible, you are able to make everyday decisions that mean that your fostered child is not treated differently to their peers and can feel part of your family.
- Provide clarity about any decision you cannot take at the outset so that everyone understands who is responsible for what. This will be looked at in detail within the Placement Plan.
We recognise that fostering is an isolating and challenging task and appropriate and timely support makes all the difference to the fostering family and to the child in your care. We recognise that positive endings of a placement are important for children, young people and foster carers and their families ensuring that support is in place to achieve this.
- Respond positively to requests for additional support.
- Provide you with formal supervision every month and regular phone or email contact or as required.
- Give you honest and open feedback.
- Pay you allowances, expenses and fees in a timely manner.
- Pay fees that reflect your skills.
5. Learning and development
As a fostering service, we recognise the important role that foster carers play in caring for children and young people. We have provided foster carers with a range of training and development opportunities to develop skills in meeting the needs of looked after children.
We believe that foster carers must be enabled to access learning and development opportunities throughout their fostering career. This will ensure they have the skills and knowledge they need and allow them to develop their practice in order that they can help transform the lives of the children they foster.
- Provide you and your family with appropriate and relevant training by trainers who understand the fostering task. At appropriate times, including weekends and evenings.
- Provide you with other development opportunities which make the best use of your skills and expertise, such as mentoring or providing training or support.
6. Fair treatment
We recognise that foster carers have a right to be treated fairly.
- Consult with you before changing terms and conditions.
- Ensure openness in all of our discussions and communications with you.
- Ensure that you are treated with respect, kept informed and provided with emotional and practical support should you be subject to an allegation.
- Provide a framework for dealing with allegations and adhere to our agreed timescales.
- Ensure that you know the arrangements for the payment of fees and allowances in the event that you are not able to foster while the subject of an allegation.
Communication and consultation
We believe that open and honest dialogue is the key to a good relationship.
- Facilitate regular communication between you, staff and managers.
- We will listen to foster carers.
- Ensure that we consult with you in a meaningful way on matters that affect you; Give clear expectations around children’s Care Plans and the foster carers role within that; Give you timely feedback from consultations.
2. What the Fostering Service Can Expect from Foster Carers
1. Working in partnership
Foster carers will demonstrate a high standard of care and conduct.
- Demonstrate expertise and make use of skills to the best of carer’s ability and provide children with an experience of family life.
- Attend meetings about the children and young people that carers care for.
- Work with the agencies involved with the child such as school, health and relevant professionals.
- Show a willingness to work with birth parents, wider family and people significant in a child’s life as appropriate.
- Meet the standards set out in fostering regulations and guidance and follow policies and procedures.
- Respect confidentiality.
2. Respect for the child
Every child and young person should be respected as an individual and be supported in meeting their needs and achieving their aspirations and potential.
Foster carers will:
- Respect and promoting a child’s religious, linguistic and cultural heritage affords the same level of protection and care to a child as carers would their own child in accordance with the national minimum standards.
- Ensure the child has the right to make decisions regarding their own lives, as appropriate to their age and understanding.
Foster carers believe that open and honest dialogue is the key to a good relationship.
Foster carers will:
- Inform the supervising social worker/support worker about changes in the household;
- Inform the supervising social worker/support worker about any difficulties that arise.
4. Learning, development and support
As foster carers, you must be supported and given access to learning and development opportunities throughout your fostering career. This will ensure that as carers you will have the skills and knowledge that is needed, and allow for development and growth in practice to help transform the lives of the children placed with you.
Foster carers will:
- Be prepared to develop their skills throughout their fostering career;
- Attend relevant training.
- Take up opportunities offered.
5. Communication and consultation
Foster carers will:
- Respond to local consultations and discussions in order to inform the development of the service.
- Meet with supervisors and managers and others in order to promote dialogue and a good working relationship.
6. Information, help and support
Help and support created for foster carers, by foster carers, we are the experts by experience, we have the knowledge bank Created for foster carers by foster carers who are experts by experience. The first foster carers knowledge bank.
Access both the open pages and members area. Both are free to access and footprint-free. The member’s area gives you privileged confidential access to FosterWiki’s experts by experience for advice and guidance. You will also find short courses and guides from the foster carer’s perspective, top tips, allegation help, templates, and the ability to add to FosterWiki. With more content being uploaded regularly.
Please let us know what information or advice pages you would find useful and we will put them in place. https://fosterwiki.com/register/