What is an Allegation?

  • FosterWiki
  • Author:FosterWiki
  • Published:02-11-2021
  • Country: United Kingdom

What is an Allegation?

What is an Allegation
A brief guide to understanding what an allegation or standard of care complaint is, who can make one and where to get help.

Introduction to what is an allegation

This page is a simple introduction to what an allegation is. Please access the help and support in the FosterWiki membership area for other documents “Help – I’ve had an allegation” and the short course “Allegations – from the foster carer’s perspective” which is full of all the information you need, also FosterWiki’s “Top 10 Tips – Allegations’.

An allegation is an assertion that someone has behaved in a way that has harmed a child; this could be a carer, their family or others. They may have committed a criminal offence or acted towards a child in a way that indicates they are unsuitable to work with children.

Allegations can happen to any of us at any time, being knowledgeable and prepared makes it so much easier to cope with the whole process. What we hear most often from carers who have been through allegations is that they had no idea what was going on.

Many of our looked after children come into our care abused, neglected, traumatised, hypervigilant, scared, angry and with long-lasting mental health issues. There are also birth parents who may be angry or confused about having their children removed, and still trying to retain some level of control over the situation. This and much more can put carers at risk of allegations throughout, and beyond their careers.

Here are some research quotes:

Being informed, educated and prepared about allegations is of paramount importance.

What is an allegation?

An allegation is an accusation that someone has caused harm to a child by physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
Allegations are underpinned by the National Minimum Standards, number 22 ‘Handling allegations and suspicions of harm’ and the Children’s Act.

Anyone can be accused

Allegations can be against anyone around the child, including the foster carer, foster carer’s children, extended family members, friends, neighbours. The list is extensive.

Who can make an allegation?

Allegations can be by the child or someone acting on their behalf, for instance, a social worker, teacher, doctor, nurse, neighbour, birth family member they can also be made by the general public, neighbours etc… they can be made openly or anonymously, you will not necessarily be told who made the allegation.

Whistleblowing

Unfortunately, allegations can also be made as a result of the foster care making a complaint, raising bad practice or raising issues such as the lack of support in place for a child, or sometimes if they state their intention to transfer agencies.

Good fostering services will act with integrity, encourage and listen to concerns from carers, and they will see it as an opportunity for learning, reflection and growth. Sadly, this is not always the case, and whistleblowing laws do not protect carers. There are occasions when carers have raised issues and found themselves with a sudden ‘allegation’ within days, sometimes hours from their provider, designed to discredit, counteract, silence or distract from any complaints made against them.

Standards of care investigations (SOC)

Standards of Care investigations should be, according to the Fostering National Minimum Standards (22.10) treated separately from the allegations process.

Standards of care issues should be dealt with in supervision. Some unsubstantiated allegations can become standards of care investigations. Standards of Care investigations should only go to the panel if the foster carer refuses to engage in the process, otherwise, they should not go to the panel.

See the FosterWiki page on Standards of Care investigations https://fosterwiki.com/wiki/guide-to-standards-of-care-investigations-soc/

Please let us know what information or advice pages you would find useful and we will put them in place. https://fosterwiki.com/register/

abused accusation Allegation Allegations Children's Act 1989 investigation neglected