Fostering Network’s Foster Care Charter

IntroductionFostering Network (a charity working throughout the UK to promote and improve the service provided for children in foster care, and to be a voice for carers) believes that all children and young people needing substitute care, whatever their physical or mental abilities, should have the opportunity to live in a family. Children and young people who are fostered deserve the highest standards of care, and it is the responsibility of all those involved to provide a high quality service. To achieve this Fostering Network’s Charter states:

1) Foster care must be a partnership between carers, social workers and the placing agency, all working together in the best interests of children and young people. Wherever possible this partnership should extend to children or young people in care and their parents or interested relatives/friends.

2) The cultural, racial and religious identities of children and young people, their parents and foster carers must be respected in the development of the foster care service and in the making and support of individual placements.

3) Children and young people have the right to continuity in their lives so that their identity can be maintained and developed, their physical and mental well-being promoted and their full potential achieved.

4) The true cost of caring for a foster child or young person must be met and foster carers given the opportunity to receive payment for their time, experience and skills.

5) Foster carers and social workers have a right to preparation for their job and a responsibility to use training opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills.

6) Carers, social workers, children and young people in care and their parents must be able to call upon Brighton and Hove and other agencies for support.

7) The responsibility of the placing agency to the foster carers, the purpose and goals of each placement and the responsibilities of all parties must be stated in writing.

8) Formal decisions relating to individual children and young people in foster care should be taken in full consultation with them, their parents and the foster carers.

9) Foster carers, children and young people should be able to challenge decisions and plans proposed by Brighton and Hove and be made aware of the procedures whereby they can exercise their right of challenge.

10) Young people leaving care must be offered agency support which recognises that all young people continue to need support into adulthood.

What is fostering?

Caring for children and supporting our carers

We in Brighton and Hove are committed to providing the best possible service to the children in our care and ensuring that our foster carers always have the best possible training, support and guidance we can provide.

This guide is designed to be a working handbook for foster carers both new and established as short term, long term, parent and baby, supported lodgings or family and friends carers. It aims to provide helpful guidelines and information on Brighton and Hove procedures and good practice and to be a useful reference book.

We have tried to cover the practice of fostering, the legal framework and the emotional implications. Not every situation you will encounter will have been covered, and this handbook is not a substitute for a good working partnership with your supervising social worker. Each child is an individual with a unique personality and needs, and you will need to respond accordingly.

This handbook will be regularly updated so if you have suggestions for improving it please inform your supervising social worker as we want it to meet your needs.

Children who are in foster care are special because they are not living with their own families. They come with a history of experiences we may not be aware of. The objective for us as foster carers and social workers is to make life as normal as possible for the child, bearing in mind that our knowledge about his or her history may be incomplete.

Fostering is concerned with shared caring. It is taking into your home someone else’s child - what you have to offer is special to you and your family. You share the child’s care with the birth parents and us (and the Council as a whole as ‘corporate parents’).

Our aims should be:

1) to maintain children within their families where appropriate

2) to help to re-unite the child and their family before their feeling of belonging to them disappears

3) to offer a child who cannot go home the greatest chance of a stable and happy future in a new, permanent home.

Fostering is a professional job. It is also unique in that it allows you flexibility, and room to develop your own skills and it can become a way of life, rewarding, enjoyable and challenging.

What foster carers can expect from Brighton and Hove

  • the right to expect that relevant regulations and practice instructions are followed by staff
  • acceptance of you as a valuable and important member of a caring team carrying out difficult responsibilities in meeting the needs of children and young people
  • to be treated without discrimination and respected as a colleague
  • regular supervision from a supervising social worker
  • access to the Complaints Procedure
  • regular training
  • to be informed of the nature and detail of a complaint being made against you at the earliest time which is consistent with the needs of the child involved
  • information about Brighton and Hove policies and procedures
  • placement support, including access to support groups
  • paid membership of Fostering Network
  • a right to be paid allowances and expenses promptly and accurately
  • supervision of the child placed with you by the child’s social worker
  • to be provided with special equipment in order to care for a particular child
  • full information about children placed with you.

What Brighton and Hove expects of foster carers 

  • commitment to the fostering task
  • attendance at meetings about children and young people
  • contact and communication with the agencies involved with the child such as school, health, church etc
  • willingness to work with birth parents, wider family and people significant in a child’s life
  • to inform your supervising social worker about changes in your household and problems that arise for you
  • an interest in developing your skills and attendance at training
  • to respect confidentiality
  • to follow Brighton and Hove policies and procedures
  • to respect and promote a child’s religious, linguistic and cultural heritage and ethnicity.
  • to afford the same level of protection and care to a child as you would your own child
  • to adhere to the Foster Care Agreement


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