Top 10 Tips Reporting and Recording
Top 10 Tips for Reporting and Recording
The FosterWiki team
- Take time to familiarise yourself with all your provider’s reporting and recording systems
Each fostering provider will have its own systems, policies, procedures and training regarding reporting and recording. These will be underpinned by the Fostering Services Regulations, National Minimum Fostering Standards and other statutory regulations. If you don’t understand them or are having any difficulties with them ask your provider for additional training or approach the online companies’ support lines.
- Record all incidents and issues
If you have an issue or incident that concerns you, however small, not just with a child but also with birth parents, social workers, school or any others, record it at the time, including date, time and concise description. Sometimes there is the temptation to think that the issue will ‘blow over’ however it’s important that you still record them. This is to protect you as much as the child, to inform your provider and help with care plans.
- Make sure you have everything in writing
Written, timed and dated recordings are imperative. This way you don’t have to verbally explain incidents or defend yourselves at a later date, it’s all in writing from the time of the incidents, it also provides clear information for the child’s records and development. Be astute, brief and clear in your emails or with your recording, be factual and concise.
- Ensure you have access to your reports, records and reviews
This safeguards you as a professional. If you have online recording systems and encrypted emails make sure that you, as a foster carer, can access them again.
This is not always possible and often you have to ask for access to your recordings, reports and reviews, if for instance, you need them for evidence in an allegation, you will need to ask your social worker or team manager to access them for you. FosterWiki has been advised that this does not always happen, particularly if they are evidence for you in an allegation. This often leads to foster carers keeping their own records, see no 6.
Emails are often one of the best forms of ‘recording’ as they are dated, even timed and are irrefutable evidence when you need it as long as you can access them again. This may not be the preferred way of your social workers or providers as they get a lot of emails, however, the feedback FosterWiki received is that recording and having things in writing that are timed and dated is important to foster carers.
- Foster carer’s diaries and own records
FosterWiki can not advise on keeping diaries but we can give you feedback from other foster carers and many reports they keep their own diaries to back up any incidents, times, dates, issues as they do not feel secure in the fact that their online recordings or encrypted emails will be handed over in times such as allegations. They keep them safe and have adequate knowledge following their providers’ GDPR protocol, for which they have often had extensive training and written policies. FosterWiki is aware that there is ongoing work surrounding these issues and the importance of foster carers having access to their own recordings, reviews and reports.
Do not be opinion based in what you write, just concise facts and accurate descriptions. Bear in mind that any records we make as carers about the children in our care can be requested by the courts in court proceedings, so it is vital that records must be factual and not the carer’s opinion.The National Minimum Fostering Standards say:
“Entries in records, decisions and reasons for them, are legible, clearly expressed, non-stigmatising, distinguish between fact, opinion and third-party information and are signed and dated.” Full National Minimum Standards can be found here.
- Be mindful of children’s records
When recording things about children and young people be mindful of the language and tone used to describe children, behaviour, and situations. Use positive language and stick to facts not opinions. Young people will have access to their records later in life and reading these records can be re-traumatising.The National Minimum Fostering Standards say:
“Information about the child is recorded clearly and in a way which will be helpful to the child when they access their files now or in the future.” Full National Minimum Standards can be found here.
- GDPR/Data Protection
Be aware and up to date with your provider’s GDPR policy, which you should be in possession of and engage in any training they have on the subject. Never put anything in the post and try to use the providers’ encrypted email when possible.
Check out our page on Data Protection here https://fosterwiki.com/wiki/data-protection-act/
Confidentiality is of paramount importance. Make sure you are well versed in the providers’ confidentiality policies. Always double check when sharing reports, recordings or facts about a child or young person in your care, even if you have
been asked to do so by a social worker, or it’s a doctor/hospital/school/CHAMS etc. Do not go ahead with a verbal request always get it in writing.
Information, Help and Support
Help and support created for foster carers, by foster carers, we are the experts by experience. We have 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/