Skip to content

Foster panel

The role of the foster panel in approval and review

Two county foster panels are responsible for considering the completed assessment report, all checks, references and medical reports, and the assessor’s recommendation on whether or not to give approval and any conditions that should be applied. 

In all decisions, the interests of children and young people are always the priority.

Applicants are given the opportunity to read the non-confidential sections of the assessment reports prior to submission to the panel, such as information that has not been provided by a third party.

The panel’s role includes:

  • a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker on approval or rejection of prospective carers
  • agreeing the approval details, for example, short, intermediate, long term, short break, age, gender and number of children
  • matching children to long-term carers

The panel also:

  • considers significant changes to foster carer approval
  • recommends termination of approval
  • considers first and fourth year reviews of approval (and subsequent reviews where issues of concern or contention)
  • monitors range and type of carers
  • monitors the quality assurance function regarding the assessment process
  • monitors procedures for annual reviews of carers
  • monitors complaints and allegations against carers where re-assessment is undertaken

Formal confirmation of approval and relevant approval details are sent in writing by the foster panel, together with a foster carer contract and Fostering Devon’s carer information pack and record keeping pack.

Devon maintains a register of people in their area who have been approved as foster carers.

Devon also maintains records (as required under Reg 13) on each foster carer they have approved (and those not approved). Files are available to the foster carer to view.

Review of approval

Devon follows a specific format for an annual review of each foster carer and household. This is carried out by the supervising social worker for the carer(s).

The review considers any fostering work undertaken so far and any significant changes in the carer’s circumstances; it reviews progress on the carer’s developmental needs and identifies support and training needs for the following year.

Social workers who have worked with the carer(s) are requested to give feedback for the review, or feedback on end-of-care reports.

The views of children placed are available in the LAC documentation on statutory reviews.

Foster carers are invited to contribute in writing to their review; any issues arising are followed up by the relevant manager within the fostering service.

The first annual review form is submitted for consideration to the team manager who informs the foster panel, and subsequently where there have been significant issues within the foster home, or a significant change of approval is sought.

Police checks and medical reports are obtained every three years post approval.

If you disagree with a decision letter about your assessment or approval, you can apply to the Independent Review Mechanism for an independent review.