SEFTON SCP Safeguarding Policies and Procedures Online Manual

    22.6 Assessment of Private Foster Carers

    Last updated 23/09/2021

    An assessment of the private foster carers will normally be carried out by a social worker. Ongoing monitoring and supervision will normally be undertaken by the allocated social worker

    The social worker undertaking the assessment must arrange for enhanced checks on the private foster carer, all members of the household and frequent visitors over 18 to be made with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Children's Social Care records (including for the areas of any previous addresses). The social worker should also seek written references and arrange to visit the personal referees.

    The assessment will consider the following:

    • The suitability of the private foster carer and all members of the household;
    • The suitability of the accommodation.

    The assessment should be presented to the respective Social Care Team Manager and subsequently to the Service Manager for a decision to be made. If the Service Manager is satisfied with the assessment and the proposals for support and review will satisfactorily safeguard and promote the welfare of the child, the Private Foster Carers and parent will be notified of the decision in writing by the service Manager. This should include any requirements, exemptions or prohibitions imposed.

    The child will be identified as a child in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 and a Single Assessment will be undertaken to ensure that the arrangement is appropriately meeting the needs of the child.

    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 any information comes to light during the course of the private foster carer assessment, for example as a result of the Disclosure and Barring Service checks, which may preclude the person from privately fostering a child, the social worker should prepare a report to the respective Children’s Social Care Team Manager.  Immediate consideration should also be given to the arrangements for the child and if necessary child protection procedures should be followed.

    In the event that the parents decline to make alternative arrangements or where the parents cannot be found, the social worker should consider whether any action may be required by the local authority to secure the child's safety under Sefton Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures and legal advice should be sought as necessary.