22.5 Initial Visit to Private Foster Carers
Last updated 14/07/2021
During the initial visit, the social worker should:
- Explain the assessment process to the private foster carers and provide written information to them;
- Obtain the written consent of the private foster carer and all members of the household over 16 to enhanced checks being made with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and ask the private foster carer for the names of 2 personal referees;
- Establish the private foster carer's child care experience, access to support and views and intentions regarding behaviour management of the child;
- Establish the plans for contact between the child and his or her parents;
- Establish the private foster carer's understanding of the child's culture, and give advice in relation to resources and facilities which could assist in meeting the child's racial, cultural, religious and linguistic needs, including the use of an interpreter if necessary;
- Advise the private foster carer of the need for notification to Children's Social Care in the event of a change in circumstances and preparation of the child before any further move, and for continuity of information being passed to the next carer.
Advise the private foster carer in relation to recording the child's development, particularly incorporating the following matters:
- Maintaining the child's medical history;
- Keeping a file of school reports;
- Noting dates of contact with the parents and significant others;
- Maintaining a financial record;
- Noting dates of contact with Children's Social Care;
- Keeping a photograph album.
In the event of a refusal of any person to cooperate with the making of the necessary checks, the social worker should advise the private foster carers that they cannot be recommended as suitable and advise the parents of the reason why alternative arrangements will have to be made for the child.
Any action required by the local authority to secure the child's safety should be considered and legal advice sought as necessary.
If the initial visit takes place after the child's placement, the social worker should also:
- Ensure that the parents have fully informed the private foster carer of the child's medical history and any current need for ongoing professional monitoring and medication, and has handed the child's personal child health records to the private foster carer;
- Encourage the private foster carers to draw up a written agreement with the child's parents as to their respective expectations and responsibilities in relation to the private fostering arrangement including the contact arrangements, finances and expected duration;
- Ensure that the child is registered with a GP, dentist and, if necessary, optician local to the private foster home;
- Ensure that a school place has been arranged for the child if of school age;
- Ensure the parent provides the private foster carer with a written general consent to cover any necessary medical treatment and that a copy of this consent is given to the GP, dentist, optician and retained on the child's file;
- Advise the private foster carer to arrange a medical examination of the child with the GP as soon as practicable after the start of the placement.
If any of the above cannot be provided by the parent/s, information should be sought from other sources.
After the visit, the social worker should complete a written report of the meeting on and pass to their line manager for authorisation.