Foster carers' charter

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The Fostering Network has long campaigned that foster carers should be regarded as full members of the team working with a child. A charter that is agreed by fostering services and their foster carers will help to make this a reality. For local authorities, the lead member should also sign the agreement.

We first produced a charter in 2011 in consultation with our members, and have recently refreshed it. We hope this sample charter will help you to put a charter into place in your fostering service so that foster carers get the recognition they deserve and need to provide children with the best possible care.

We want to see a foster carers' charter in place at every fostering service in the UK. Visit our campaign page. 

You can download the charter as a pdf, but it is also reproduced below. If you have any questions about charters, please email campaigns@fostering.net.

Roles and commitment

The fostering service’s role

The fostering service aims to provide stable and first-rate foster care for children who are valued, supported and encouraged to grow and develop as individuals. To achieve this aim, we recruit, train and approve foster carers and deliver ongoing support to them, in order to give them the skills and confidence they need to develop meaningful relationships with the children and young people they care for and provide stable and loving homes while they are part of the foster family.

The foster carer’s role

Foster carers are at the heart of the foster care service. We are assessed, trained and supported to look after children and young people by developing meaningful relationships in a family environment, providing them with stability, care, love and an opportunity to grow and develop and to reach their potential.

Our relationships with other members of the team around the child are based on mutual trust and respect. This charter explains what we expect from each other.

Fostering service’s commitment

This is what you can expect from us:

  1. Working in equal partnership
  2. To be seen as a valued member of the team around the child
  3. Information
  4. Clarity about decisions
  5. Support to increase foster carer confidence and resilience
  6. Ongoing learning and development
  7. Fair treatment
  8. Communication and consultation.

Foster carers’ commitment

You can expect from us:

  1. Working in equal partnership
  2. Respect for the child and the members of the team around the child
  3. Information
  4. Learning, development, and support
  5. Communication and consultation.

What foster carers can expect from the fostering service

Working in partnership

We recognise that foster carers have skills and expertise and make the biggest difference to the everyday lives of children in care.

We will:

  • value your skills and expertise equal to those of other professionals
  • recognise that you are the people who live with children every day and know them best                                                     
  • include you in all meetings that affect you and the children you care for
  • ensure that our fostering service will meet the standards set out in fostering regulations and guidance
  • treat you without discrimination and respect you as a colleague
  • respect confidentiality.
     

Information

We know that information is vital in order for foster carers to provide care that meets the child’s need.

We will:

  • give you all the information you need in order to care safely for the child
  • provide this information in writing prior to placement, or as soon as possible in the case of emergency placements
  • ensure that there is a placement plan drawn up in discussion with you and agreed with you in advance of placements, or as soon as possible in the case of emergency placements
  • provide you with information on all financial matters including tax, allowances and additional entitlements
  • provide you with full details of all relevant departmental policies and procedures.
     

Clarity about decisions

We recognise that in order for children to live a full family life foster carers must be able to make decisions regarding the children they foster.

We will:

  • ensure that, wherever possible, you are able to make everyday decisions that mean that your fostered child is not treated differently to their peers and can feel part of your family
  • provide clarity about any decision you cannot take at the outset so that everyone understands who is responsible for what.
     

Support

We recognise that fostering is an isolating and challenging task and appropriate and timely support makes all the difference to the fostering family and to the child in your care.

We will:

  • respond positively to requests for additional support
  • provide you with monthly supervision and weekly phone contact
  • give you honest and open feedback
  • provide you with access to 24 hour support from people with fostering expertise
  • pay you allowances, expenses, and fees in a timely manner
  • pay fees that reflect the task
  • ensure that there is a local group, recognised by the fostering service, where you and your family can find support and share experiences with other fostering families.
     

Learning and development

We believe that foster carers must be enabled to access learning and development opportunities throughout their fostering career. This will ensure they have the skills and knowledge they need and allow them to develop their practice in order that they can help transform the lives of the children they foster.

We will:

  • provide you and your family with appropriate and relevant training by trainers who understand the fostering task
  • enable you to develop meaningful relationships with the children in your care and the fellow members of the team around the child
  • provide you with other development opportunities which make the best use of your skills and expertise, such as mentoring or providing training or support.
     

Fair treatment

We recognise that foster carers have a right to be treated fairly, no matter what the circumstances.

We will:

  • consult with you before changing terms and conditions
  • ensure openness in all of our discussions and communications with you
  • ensure that you are treated with respect, kept informed and provided with emotional support should you be subject to an allegation
  • provide a framework for dealing with allegations and adhere to our agreed timescale
  • ensure that you know the arrangements for the payment of fees and allowances in the event that you are not able to foster while the subject of an allegation.
     

Communication and consultation

We believe that open and honest dialogue is the key to a good relationship.

We will:

  • facilitate regular communication between you, councillors and the Director of Children’s Services
  • ensure that we consult with you in a meaningful way on matters that affect you
  • give you timely feedback from consultations.
     

What fostering services can expect from foster carers

Working in partnership

We will demonstrate a high standard of care and conduct.

We will:

  • demonstrate our expertise and make use of our skills to the best of our ability
  • provide children with a positive experience of family life
  • attend meetings about the children and young people we care for
  • work with the agencies involved with the child such as school, health, and religious establishments
  • show a willingness to work with birth parents, wider family and people significant in a child’s life
  • meet the standards set out in fostering regulations and guidance and follow departmental policies and procedures
  • respect confidentiality.
     

Respect for the child

Every child and young person should be respected as an individual and be supported in meeting their needs and achieving their aspirations and potential.

We will:

  • Develop a meaningful relationship with the child: understand their needs, support their growth, and become an advocate and champion for them
  • respect and promote a child’s religious, linguistic and cultural heritage
  • afford the same level of protection and care to a child as we would our own child in accordance with the national minimum standards
  • ensure the child has the right to make decisions regarding their own lives, as appropriate to their age and understanding.
     

Information

We believe that open and honest dialogue is the key to a good relationship and we will aim to build a meaningful and collaborative relationship with our supervising social worker.

We will:

  • inform our supervising social worker about changes in our household
  • inform our supervising social worker about any difficulties that arise for us.
     

Learning, development, and support

We must be able to access learning and development opportunities throughout our fostering career. This will ensure we have the skills and knowledge we need and allow us to develop our practice in order that we can help transform the lives of the children we foster.

We will:

  • be willing and able to develop our skills throughout our fostering career
  • attend relevant training
  • take up opportunities offered to us
  • let you know if we are unable to attend
  • attend and contribute to support groups.
     

Communication and consultation

We believe that open and honest dialogue is the key to a good relationship.

We will:

  • respond to local consultations and discussion in order to inform the development of the service
  • meet with councillors, service managers, and others in order to promote dialogue and a good working relationship
  • support the children in our care to do the same.
     

You can also download the charter.

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