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STANDARD 21 - Supervision and support of foster carers

Underpinning Legislation



  • Foster carers receive the support and supervision they need in order to care properly for children placed with them.


The fostering service supports their foster carers to ensure they provide foster children with care that reasonably meets those children’s needs, takes the children’s wishes and feelings into account, actively promotes individual care and supports the children’s safety, health, enjoyment, education and preparation for the future.


The fostering service ensures foster carers understand the nature and level of support which will be provided to them by the fostering service.


There is an effective out of hours advice and support service for foster carers.


Peer support, foster care associations and/or self help groups for foster carers are encouraged and supported.


Foster carers are provided with breaks from caring as appropriate. These are planned to take account of the needs of any children placed.


All foster carers have access to adequate social work and other professional support, information and advice, to enable them to provide consistent, high quality care to the child. This includes assistance with dealing with relevant services, such as health and education. Consideration is given to any help or support needed by the sons and daughters of foster carers.


The role of the supervising social worker is clear both to the worker and the foster carer.


Each approved foster carer is supervised by a named, appropriately qualified social worker who has meetings with the foster carer, including at least one unannounced visit a year. Meetings have a clear purpose and provide the opportunity to supervise the foster carer’s work, ensure the foster carer is meeting the child’s needs, taking into account the child’s wishes and feelings, and offer support and a framework to assess the carer’s performance and develop their competencies and skills. The frequency of meetings for short break foster carers should be proportionate to the amount of care provided. Foster carers’ files include records of supervisory meetings.


The supervising social worker ensures each foster carer he or she supervises is informed in writing of, and accepts, understands and operates within, all Regulations and standards and with policies and guidance agreed by the fostering service.


On approval, foster carers are given information, either a handbook or electronic resources, which cover policies, procedures (including with regard to allegations), guidance, financial information, legal information and insurance details. This information is updated regularly.


Current and prospective foster carers are able to make a complaint about any aspect of the service which affects them directly. Records are kept of representations and complaints, how they are dealt with, the outcome and any action taken. These records are reviewed regularly so that the service’s practice is improved where necessary.


There is a good system of communication between the fostering service social workers and the child’s social worker. The fostering service social workers understand the role of the child’s social worker and work effectively with them.