The Fostering Network welcomes the publication of the report The Impact of Unproven Allegations on foster carers by the University of Oxford’s Rees Centre.
Allegations must always be treated with the utmost seriousness by fostering services, and to do this we need consistency in support for foster carers who are facing allegations. This report shows us that it’s often newer and younger foster carers who face allegations - those who may have less experience working alongside social workers and fostering services. We know that allegations, unproven or otherwise, are extremely stressful for all parties involved, and it is therefore essential that fostering services take a positive lead in making sure their procedures for dealing with allegations are effective, thorough, and provide conclusive outcomes so that foster carers, fostering services, and children can move forward.
Our own recommendations in this area focus on strict timescales for investigations and to ensure that all involved have a clear understanding of the process and when they can expect that process to happen, along with improved communication. We also believe that fostering services should ensure that foster carers face no loss of income during the time that they are under investigation, as would happen to a member of staff employed at a fostering service who was subject to an allegation.
Children living in foster care can be adversely affected by instability and so vitally we would expect fostering services to ensure that children aren’t removed unless child protection thresholds are met. The implementation of these recommendations would ensure that neither foster carers or children were subject to further disruption than was absolutely necessary while still ensuring that full investigations conducted by fostering services could take place.
Read the full report on the University of Oxford website.