Thinking About Fostering

Newly Approved Foster Carers

If you have been recently approved and you are about to receive your first placement then you may find the below information helpful. Always remember, all of this information, plus more, can be found in your Foster Carers Handbook.

Welcoming A Foster Child

Welcoming a foster child into your home can be an exciting and rewarding experience. You may be worried about making the child feel welcome and comfortable in his or her new home. Getting the foster child settled can be challenging for all parties involved, but with the right preparations and steps, you can ensure they feel like they belong in their new space.

  • Introduce yourself by the name you would like the child to use
  • Take the child on a tour of the house, including their new room
  • Give the child a welcome book. This could be titled “Welcome to your new home” – suggestions could be including family photos, short bios about each family member and trying to make sure you tailor the information specifically towards the child/ren. 
  • Provide a welcome basket for the child which includes basic items.

Keeping Fostering Records

The following are the key issues and events you should consider recording: 

  • Brief day-to-day record
  • Improvements and achievements of the child
  • Any changes or concerns in behaviour or mood – including details of actual behaviour observed, what was happening before it started and your or other people’s response to it
  • Dates and times the child is away from your home – friends, away with birth family, missing (please see policy – Children Missing from Foster Care)
  • Specific incidents, events or changes in circumstances of family members
  • Disagreements or complaints concerning any birth family members and how you dealt with them
  • Accidents or injuries (even if slight) to the child
  • Dates of meetings, attendance and decisions (sometimes these will be part of minutes sent out to you)
  • Any medical, dental and optician appointments and treatments/decisions from these – you need to inform the Child’s Social Worker about statutory medical appointments and dental checks as s/he has to record this information on the Children Recording System record of the Looked After Child.
  • Contacts with school, social worker, birth family
  • Contact visits, child’s responses before and after
  • Requests for help or assistance
  • Times when alternative care have been given, e.g. babysitters, with detail of who they were and what they did
  • Details of any damage or theft by the foster child 
  • Involvement with police – reasons and outcome

You need to ensure you make the Child’s Social Worker and your Supervising Social Worker aware of the key events you are recording.

You should record accidents and incidents in the appropriate accident/incident sheet [keeping a copy for yourself as well as emailing a copy to your Supervising Social Worker (SSW)  and  the  Child’s  Social Worker (CSW) immediately. All recordings should be up to date and available for inspection by your Supervising Social Worker on their regular home visits.

The strictest confidentiality of your recording should be maintained and diaries/notebooks and other documents you record in should be kept in a secure place such as a locked cabinet.

If you have difficulties with reading and writing please feel free to raise this with your Supervising Social Worker who will advise and provide you with additional support if necessary.

Separate record for each child

Each foster parent is encouraged to develop an electronic folder for recording and storing information relating to the child placed. This folder needs to be kept safe as it will contain confidential information, and the folder and its contents belong to Family First Fostering Ltd. Moreover, within these folders you will need to record, daily on each child, any accidents, and medication.

Further discussion can be had with the Supervising Social Worker on when and how you can email the documents in the folder to your Supervising Social Worker.

Computer records

Electronic copies of key e-mails should be kept on the folder you maintain for each child in placement. If you hold children’s information on a personal computer you should check with your Supervising Social Worker to ensure it conforms to the requirements of the Data Protection Act, and  is kept confidential and access to information on the child is restricted to you. Once a child moves on, a copy is sent to your SSW and the document deleted from the computer. The computer folders must be secured with passwords at all times.

Key records to keep

The following are key documents and written information about the child placed which should be kept in a secure place:

  • Background Information Record
  • Placement Information Record
  • Care Plan
  • Diary or diary sheets clearly written, dated and signed
  • Special reports as appropriate such as educational and psychiatric
  • Correspondence with the Child’s Social Worker and your Supervising Social Worker
  • Copy of LAC reviews
  • Specific work done by the foster child and yourself (this would usually belong to the child)
  • Court Orders
  • Birth Certificate
  • Passports
  • Home Office documents
  • Contact details – arrangements and correspondence and meeting minutes
  • Any important certificates, awards, school reports and photos
  • Health and safety – accident/injury records
  • Medical, dental and optical appointments and outcomes
  • Life story books do NOT need to be kept securely but should be available to children so that they can use them when they need to

Eight tips for effective recording

Before you start be clear about why you are recording.

  • Record as soon as possible after an event or observation
  • Use plain language and avoid jargon
  • Wherever possible stick to the facts
  • When you give an opinion separate it from the facts and explain why you have come to that particular opinion
  • Record in a way that you would be happy for the child or family to read what you have written
  • Don’t forget to sign and date each record
  • Completing regular summaries on younger children and with young people can be a good way of monitoring the child or young person’s progress

What happens to records when a child moves?

At the end of a placement your recording and other documents on the child have to be returned to the Child’s Social Worker. You should keep a record of the child’s name, date s/he arrived and left and of when the information was passed to Family First Fostering in case you need to access it later.

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