Safeguarding children – within foster homes
GLF have a separate Safeguarding Policy. If you would like a copy of this please ask your SSW or call the office.
If a local authority becomes concerned that a child may be subject to abuse or poor standards of care within a foster home they follow much the same procedure as if a child protection concern arose within the child’s own family.
One of the main differences is the point at which a child is removed from the home. In many circumstances a foster child is removed as soon as the decision to investigate is made and often all foster children are removed from the family home in these circumstances.
Another key difference is the standard of care which local authorities consider acceptable. As the child is in public care a much higher standard of care is understandably required than would be the case for a child living with their own family. Formal investigations are therefore instigated at a much lower threshold of concern.
It is difficult for GLF supervising social workers to support foster carers through local authority child protection investigations. Their primary responsibility has to be towards the foster child. They themselves may well be asked to answer questions about what they have heard and seen in the foster home. They may have been given information about the concerns which have not yet been shared with the foster carer. They cannot give foster carers the reassurance they understandably want until the investigation has been completed.
For all these reasons GLF may appoint an independent social worker to support foster carers through the child protection process. Foster carers do not have to accept this support but people who have done so have found their ‘advocate’ very helpful. The Fostering Network helpline is another source of advice to foster carers and Fostering Network membership (which all GLF foster carers have) can provide legal advice and representation should it be required.
Last Update: January 5, 2019