The Fostering Network is calling on every fostering service and placing authority in the UK to implement a foster carers’ charter.
A charter is an agreement between a placing authority in their role as corporate parent, a fostering service and foster carers that sets out each party’s roles and responsibilities. They can help foster carers to get the recognition they deserve and need, to provide children with the best possible care. Charters represent an important step towards foster carers being treated and respected as the professionals that they are.
The latest State of the Nation’s Foster Care report highlighted that foster carers do not always feel treated as an equal member of the team and they are not getting the support they need to do their vital role. A charter can help to address these issues by setting clear expectations for how foster carers should be treated, trained and supported. The agreement can also help to build understanding between fostering services and foster carers.
Since 2011, we have been campaigning for every fostering service to commit to a foster carers’ charter. This year we have updated our charter to recognise the distinct responsibilities of the fostering service and the placing authority in their role as the corporate parent. In Wales the charter campaign was developed as part of the Fostering Excellence programme.
In response to feedback from our members, we have developed the Foster Carers' Charter Checklist. It is a tool for fostering services and local authorities to use to assess how effectively their charter has been implemented and to support improvements. It includes actions for launching the charter, inducting new people, communicating about the charter and reporting on progress. We would encourage you to consider the role of the charter within your organisation and add notes to each section accordingly.
The amended charter was developed with support from the following organisations:
- Association of Directors of Children's Services
- Department for Education
- Foster Talk
National Association of Fostering Providers