Record keeping

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Keeping clear and accurate records is a key part of a foster carer’s job. The records kept belong to the fostering service, and children can either ask to read them at the present moment, or later on, as adults. They also provide information foster carers can use in review meetings. The Fostering Network has produced resources, publications, and has created helplines and an online community to help guide foster carers when it comes to record keeping.

Why is it important to keep records?

Like any job, fostering involves paperwork. Foster carers are regularly called upon to undertake detailed assessments of children placed with them and to participate in the planning of services for those in their care.
There has also been a significant increase in the number of foster carers who are asked to attend court and case conferences, and who participate in children’s statutory reviews and other meetings. Foster carers are expected to provide their own written support for these occasions.

There is also great concern about allegations of abuse and complaints made against foster carers or their families. Unfortunately, some foster carers will experience this, and it can be an upsetting and difficult process.

As a result, there is a clear need for a method of recording day-to-day events in the home that may, at a later stage, assist foster carers in recalling events accurately. Although some fostering services provide guidelines for record keeping, some foster carers are asked to record information without any guidelines about what they need to recall.

How we can help foster carers

Record Keeping: Signposts in Fostering

Our Record Keeping Signpost has been written specifically by The Fostering Network to help foster carers develop a better understanding of the need for record keeping. It covers the following areas:
  • how to keep records
  • where to record and what to record
  • the role of the supervising social worker
  • recording with children and parents
  • storing records and confidentiality
  • who owns the records and who can see the records
  • data protection.

You can purchase our Record Keeping publication online for just £2
(the Signpost is available for £4 to those who are not members of The Fostering Network).

Our helplines

Our member helplines provide confidential, independent and impartial advice for foster carers in the UK.

Our online community

Our members also have exclusive access to our online community where you can log in to share your experience and get advice from other foster carers. The community is a safe and secure area to discuss topics including being a foster carer and looking after a child, as well as advice on finances.