Where carers are subject to serious allegations, no further children are placed with them until the matter has been fully investigated.
The localities responsible for the children accommodated by the foster carers will judge whether it is safe to leave them, or whether they should be removed. The children’s safety in such situations is paramount.
Care will be taken to consider the impact on a child or young person of removing them from the home. The views of young people able to understand the situation will also be considered.
Making the decision to remove children is not taken lightly and will rest with the care manager and practice manager, or with the members of a strategy meeting as appropriate.
Once an investigation is completed, and those involved in the strategy meeting have carefully considered the information available, decisions will be made as to what should happen next. The outcomes listed under complaints apply.
The most serious outcome for foster carers would be a referral of the complaint to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration of serious charges. In these circumstances, children or young people placed by the Local Authority will be removed.
The worst situation is where there is no clear conclusion because the evidence is one person’s word against another. The social services department then has to decide, on the balance of probabilities, whether the allegation has occurred or not – and whether, with no proof either way, it can risk the homing of further children with the carers.
As with all serious complaints, recommendations regarding carers’ possible de-registration will be taken at the foster care approval panel and referred to the agency decision-maker for a final decision.
The outcome of the enquiry, and the subsequent decision, will be given to foster carers both verbally and in writing. Details of the outcome will be held on the carers’ file. The foster carers can have access to the file, in line with county policy, unless there are criminal proceedings pending.
Child abuse allegations
Child abuse allegations are usually the most serious form of complaint that can be made against foster carers. Read more about how child abuse allegations are handled.
Asking for independent support
If you are subject to an allegation that progresses into an investigation, you are entitled to independent support.
In the first instance, your supervising social worker will alert the fostering operations manager who will arrange for you to access an independent support worker.
They are also responsible for ensuring that any support is monitored and if necessary extended to meet additional needs, recognising the ongoing nature of the investigation.
All Fostering Devon carers have an individual membership with FosterTalk. This offers access to independent support and legal advice for anyone facing allegations, complaints, or with serious concerns.