Foster carers should look after the health of their foster children even more carefully than that of their own children.
They should seek medical advice more quickly than they might for their own children both because they will not know this child’s personal and family health history as well as they know their own and because they are publicly accountable for decisions they make in respect of a foster child’s health.
Foster carers cannot exercise the same degree of discretion parents have in respect of not seeking advice to see if the child recovers of their own accord, discontinuing treatment if they think a child is better or pursuing unorthodox or home remedies.
Under delegated authority some decision making about everyday health matters can be delegated to foster carers. The will be agreed in a specific document and signed by all those responsible.
If foster carers have any difficulty in complying with medical treatment for their foster child they must discuss this with the child’s social worker and the doctor concerned.
Foster carers should be given information on the health history and current health needs of any child they are asked to look after. They must make sure that they understand the implications of any medical condition the child has and the treatment programme which must be followed. They must follow GLF’s policy on medication and ensure that they understand the implications of any allergies a child might have.
If information about children’s health is not forthcoming foster carers must do everything they can to obtain such information. They should speak in the first instance to the child’s social worker and their supervising social worker
Foster carers must make an initial assessment of whether or not the child seems well at the start of the placement. A written record of this assessment should be made.
If foster carers are in contact with birth parents they should check the information they have been given by social services or the agency for accuracy. Parents are usually best placed to fill in any gaps.
Foster carers are responsible for ensuring that their foster children attend all medical and associated appointments and comply with medical advice given.
Foster carers must take steps to ensure that foster children are registered with an accessible GP within one week of placement.
Foster carers must establish either at the placement planning meeting or in some other way whether or not the child needs to have a check-up at a dentist or optician and arrange such check-ups if appropriate.
Foster carers will often be asked to arrange a statutory medical for foster children at the start of a placement. The child’s social worker will either make arrangements for the child to be seen by a doctor of the local authority’s choosing or will ask the foster carer to take the child to the foster carer’s GP for such a medical.
The child’s social worker will give the foster carer a form to take to their own GP. The child’s local authority will pay the GP for undertaking this medical.
Statutory medicals need to take place once a year and should always be done for younger children. Children who are old enough to understand what’s involved can refuse if they choose to.
Last Update: January 5, 2019