The Foster Carers’ Charter is a document that sets out mutual roles and responsibilities, which are ‘owned’ by both foster carers and the fostering service. In this way, a framework is created with which to improve the lives of children in care.
The Foster Carers' Charter covers issues such as supervision, involvement in planning and decision-making, and information and payments. The charter is an important way forward for fostering services in Wales, as it is a promise for service delivery that is owned by everybody invovled: the council, the fostering services, and foster carers.
To ensure that the foster carer charter is embedded into everyday practice, The Fostering Network wants to help enable fostering services to develop and implement their own local charter. This will help foster carers get the recognition they both deserve and need in order to provide children with the best possible care.
The Foster Carers' Charter in Wales Implementation Framework
As part of the Fostering Excellence programme we have developed an implementation framework which embraces the charter and takes it to the next level. It translates the ideals into concrete actions that can be taken by a wide range of partners to bring about real and measurable improvements in foster care for people across the country.
The framework to implement and measure the Foster Carers’ Charter is divided into four parts:
• Part One sets out what the charter’s vision will look like in reality.
• Part Two sets out how progress in implementing the charter could be monitored and reported.
• Part Three sets out what local organisations – both individually and collectively – can do to implement the charter.
• Part Four sets out how local action will be aided by the Welsh Government and other national bodies and organisations.
The sections of the framework are modular and are not ‘stepping stones’. They can be read together, to build up a picture of local implementation, and of what the future fostering system will mean for foster care, or they can be read separately, as standalone guides to what each partner can contribute.
The Foster Carers' Charter Implementation Toolkit for Wales
The Foster Carer's Charter Implementation Toolkit supports everyone involved in fostering to successfully and effectively implement the Foster Carer's Charter in Wales, both as individuals and in partnership with others.
It focuses specifically on the roles of councillors, foster carers and local government officers. The toolkit provides an opportunity for everyone involved in implementing the charter to consider each other’s roles as well as their own in more detail, to learn about each other’s responsibilities and to 'challenge' one another with a critical friend approach. This joint ownership approach will help ensure the Foster Carers' Charter moves forward effectively.
The toolkit is divided into sections for councillors, local government officers and foster carers. Within each section there is an opportunity to self-assess against each of the key areas of the Implementation Framework as follows:
Part One: Turning the charter into reality
Part Two: Monitoring progress of the Foster Carers' Charter
Part Three: Partners and working together
Part Four: National support
The Fostering Network in Wales are calling for the Foster Carers’ Charter to be in place in every fostering service across Wales by 2019. We believe that it will help foster carers feel valued and supported by their fostering services, and can be an important first step towards foster carers being treated and respected as the professionals that they are.
Foster Carers’ Charter Checklist
To help embed the charter into practice, we have developed the Foster Carers’ Charter Checklist. This is a tool for fostering services and local authorities to use to measure their progress against the charter and to support its implementation.
It includes actions for launching the charter, inducting new people, communicating about the charter and reporting on progress. We would encourage fostering services and local authorities to consider the role of the charter within your organisation and add notes to each section accordingly.
If you have experience of embedding the charter or have encountered barriers to doing so, we would appreciate the chance to speak to you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.