Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
Children’s Services Department
Foster Carer Agreement
Updated January 2012
1 The Agreement
This agreement is between Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the
signatory foster carers. It sets out the terms and conditions concerning the
provision of foster care by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council Children’s
These terms and conditions apply to the agency and to all foster carers who
have been assessed by a social worker from the fostering service in line with
statutory requirements and approved by the fostering panel. This includes
‘Family and Friends’ foster carers who have been approved under both
Regulation 24 (2010) and Regulation 28 of the Fostering Regulations 2011.
The Department and the foster carer will operate this agreement in
accordance with the agency’s policy of providing services, promoting equality
and valuing diversity.
In signing this agreement, the foster carer and the Department are agreeing to
abide by these conditions.
2 The Service
The service to be provided by the foster carer is accommodation, safe care
and a supportive family environment for children whose assessed need is to
be ‘looked after’ in a foster home by Blackburn with Darwen Children’s
Services Department under Sec 20 or Sec 31 of the Children Act 1989.
The foster carer will provide a service which reflects the commitment of the
local authority to the promotion and safeguarding of the welfare and
development of children at all times.
Requests by social workers for foster placements will always be made
through the fostering team. Except in the case of emergencies, placements
will be the result of a written referral to the fostering team and careful
matching of the child’s assessed needs with an appropriate carer.
A child’s social worker will not contact foster carers directly to request a
placement except in the case of an out-of-hours emergency. The emergency
duty team (EDT) social worker will, in these circumstances, contact foster
carers who have agreed to be available for such emergencies.
In all except emergencies, the fostering team will contact potential foster
carers to discuss the proposed placement. Pressure will not be put on foster
carers to accept a placement against their wishes. If a foster carer agrees to
consider a placement – other than in an emergency – planning of the
placement will be in accordance with procedures.
4 Placement of a Child
Foster carers will not care for more than three children unless the children are
siblings or an exemption has been granted by the Head of Service. If an
exemption is required for more than three months, this is subject to the
monitoring of the fostering panel.
Except in an emergency, matching of a child to a carer capable of meeting
his/her assessed need will be achieved through sharing of information gained
through the ‘core assessment’ of the child’s needs; and through consultation
with the child and his/her family (where appropriate), potential carers and their
family, other children in placement and all relevant professionals. In the
situation of matching children with potential long term carers, a child’s
Permanence Report / Core Assessment will be available to potential foster
carers in order that they can make an informed decision in respect of a
proposed match. Approval of a potential long-term foster placement will be
through the fostering panel.
The child’s social worker will provide Placement Information Record and Care
Plan Part 2 within 14 days of placement. At the outset, foster carers require
signed medical consent for each child in their care: this is normally included in
the Placement Information Record.
Prior to placement where possible and otherwise within 5 days of placement,
the child’s social worker will organise a placement planning meeting which will
discuss the following:
An updated care plan which is then discussed at the every child’s review
A full personal history of the child, including information about the child’s
racial origins, religion, culture and linguistic background and any other
significant information about the child.
Information about the child’s health needs, how these are to be met and
the agreements about delegation of responsibility for dental and medical
Information about educational needs and how these are to be met,
including details of the child’s Personal Education Plan (PEP). There is an
expectation that foster carers will be involved in this.
Details of the parents’ role and any arrangements for contact with
members of the child’s family and/or friends.
Details of the child’s social worker’s role and the intended frequency of
visits to the child.
Information about the roles of any other professionals.
The foster carer, the child, the social worker or the supervising social worker
may request a review of the placement if the needs of the child or the foster
carer’s circumstances change.
The Children’s services Department will provide a basic standard of
equipment to enable the foster carer to safely look after any child placed.
Ethnicity, religion and culture
Matching decisions will consider a child’s assessed racial, ethnic, religious,
cultural and linguistic needs. If a trans-racial placement is agreed, additional
support for the child and access to additional training, support and information
for the foster carer will be considered and arranged as appropriate in order
that children will receive the best possible care and develop a positive
understanding of their heritage.
Foster carers will promote the child’s heritage and allow any child placed to
follow their chosen religion as detailed in the Placement Plan.
5 Termination of Placements
Foster carers and the Department will, wherever possible, terminate
placements in a planned way, in accordance with the placement plan and the
child’s care plan.
In circumstances where a placement appears likely to break down, the foster
carer must work with the Department to safeguard the interests of the child. It
is considered good practice to give 28 days notice if a carer wishes to end a
The foster carer will participate in a planning meeting with a view to resolution
of the difficulties being experienced and, if resolution is not possible, will
assist in a planned move for the child.
This process will only be suspended in circumstances where it is reasonable
to believe that the health and safety of the child, the foster carer or members
of the household are, or are likely to be, compromised. The Department will
not allow the placement of a child to continue if it appears the placement is
detrimental to the welfare of the child.
In circumstances where there is an unplanned termination of a placement, the
Department will, in partnership with foster carers, attempt to minimise the
impact of the disruption on the child and on the foster carer and their family.
Wherever possible the Department should arrange a disruption meeting
following an unplanned termination of a foster placement. This will be
attended by the foster carer and members of his/her family if appropriate, the
foster carer’s supervising social worker, the child’s social worker and any
other person deemed appropriate.
6 Care of Children
Foster carers will comply with the terms of the foster placement agreement
and care for any child they agree to be placed in their home as if he/she were
a member of their own family.
Foster carers will provide care which promotes the welfare of any child they
agree to be placed with them by the local authority’s Children’s Services
Department in accordance with the local authority’s care plan for the child and
statutory requirements; and will participate in the child’s statutory reviews,
which will take place in the foster home unless agreed otherwise.
Foster carers will maintain a comprehensive placement record for any child in
placement, including appropriate photographs, school reports and evidence of
achievements and progress; and contribute to the compilation of life books for
children in their care.
The foster carer must inform the child’s social worker, the fostering
team supervising social worker or other representative of the
Department as soon as possible if any of the following circumstances
The child is missing. The police and the emergency duty team (EDT) must
be informed if this happens during out-of-office hours so that the council’s
missing from home procedures can be followed.
The child has a serious accident or injury.
There is an outbreak in the foster home of any infectious disease which a
medical practitioner considers sufficiently serious for the local authority to
The child requires hospital treatment.
There is an incident which requires police involvement or any allegation
against the foster child that he/she has committed a serious offence.
If there is involvement, or suspicion of a foster child’s involvement, in
Death of a foster child.
Social Work Visits
The child’s social worker will visit the child in the foster home at least at the
minimum statutory visiting frequency. The foster carer will facilitate the child
being seen alone by their social worker or any other official identified
representative of Blackburn with Darwen Children’s Services Department and
will allow the social worker to see the child’s bedroom on request.
Working with birth parents
The foster carer will assist the Children’s Services Department in maintaining
the child’s agreed contact plan.
The foster carer will maintain a relationship with birth parents within
appropriate boundaries that reflect the roles of all parties concerned.
The foster carer will not accept any payments from parents.
7 Changes of circumstances
The foster carer must notify the fostering team and the child’s social
worker of any intended:
Change in the composition of the household.
Change of address.
Change in their employment status.
Application to adopt a child.
Request or application to apply for registration as a childminder, supported
lodging provider or any other form of child or adult care.
Application to foster for any other agency. (Foster carers can only be
registered by one agency).
Absence of the child from the foster home involving an overnight stay.
This should be discussed, if already planned, at the placement planning
meeting. There is a “delegated responsibility” policy and procedure to be
Plan to take the child out of the country.
Change of circumstances that may affect the ability of the foster carer to
look after the child.
If the carer needs to leave the household for a significant period, ie an
emergency or a holiday abroad.
Changes to their personal circumstances and any other event affecting
either their capacity to care for any child placed or the suitability of their
household. Examples would be a household member obtaining a criminal
conviction; a change in job or working hours; change in medical
circumstances; new additions to their household; new pets; new
Any plans to move to another geographical area.
The foster carer must notify the Fostering team and the child’s social
The foster carer or any member of their household is charged or cautioned by
the police or is convicted of any offence.
The foster carer is temporarily unable to look after a child placed with
They make any holiday plans that will affect any child placed giving
appropriate notice if a child will need an alternative placement.
Any issue arises in relation to their personal or family circumstances which
may cause a conflict of interest with their role as a foster carer for the
8 Safe Care, Control and Discipline
Foster carers may use only control and discipline measures as outlined in the
positive behaviour management /foster carer safe care policy. Foster carers
should note that:-
No form of corporal punishment may be used on any child placed with
Physical restraint may be used only where it is necessary to prevent likely
injury to the child or other persons or to prevent serious damage to
No child must be subject to any measure of control, restraint or discipline
which is excessive or unreasonable.
Any specific control measures or specific sanctions will be agreed at the point
of placement, at a planning meeting or during a statutory review.
Foster carers will ensure that their home is furnished and maintained to a
reasonable standard and address any safety issues arising from the health
and safety checklist. This will include using any safety equipment that is
provided or necessary to ensure children’s safety e.g. stair-gates, fireguards.
Foster carers will ensure that any car that they use is taxed and insured for
transporting foster children, is in adequate repair with a current MOT
Certificate. Will also ensure that all children have an appropriate individual
seat and safety belt within the car as required by law and that these are used
on all occasions that the foster carers transport foster children.
Foster carers will follow their agreed Safe Care Policy.
If a foster carer has concerns about the conduct of any member of staff or
foster carer of the Borough Council, these should be referred in accordance
with the Children’s Services Department’s Safeguarding policy.
Foster carers may also wish to contact OFSTED to report safeguarding
concerns. OFSTED are responsible for the registration of fostering service
providers and foster carers should co-operate with any representative from
OFSTED who wishes to interview them at their home at any reasonable time.
9 Allegations of Abuse and Investigation of Complaints
If an allegation of abuse is made against a foster carer, this will be
investigated in accordance with the Child Protection Procedures.
If a complaint is made against a foster carer, this will be investigated in
accordance with the Department’s Customer Care Complaints Procedure.
Complaints made by foster carers will be investigated within the Children’s
Services Department through the Department’s Customer Care Complaints
Foster carers will ensure that any information provided by the Department
which relates to a child placed, the family of the child or any other person is
kept confidential and is not disclosed to anyone without the permission of the
local authority. All records in respect of the child in placement will be returned
to the child’s social worker on cessation of the placement.
Following approval by the fostering panel, the fostering service will establish a
case record for the foster carer and enter his/her name, details and terms of
approval on the register of local authority foster carers.
The case record and register of foster carers will be maintained in accordance
with the Fostering Service Regulations 2011 and will be retained for a period
of ten years from the date on which the approval as a foster carer is
The Department will keep case records and the foster carer register securely
and not disclose them to any person except in accordance with a court order
or a statute authorising access.
On placement each carer should be given a health passport for each child
placed. This is to be kept up to date by the carer and passed on when the
child leaves the placement.
Foster carers will receive basic health care information during their
The foster carer will (except in the case of short break carers):-
Register a child with a dentist or doctor as necessary.
Take the child to any health appointments.
Help the child to access any health services he/she needs.
Provide the child with day-to-day care which promotes his/her personal
hygiene, diet and general health.
Act as an advocate on behalf of the child in promoting his/her health
Be aware of, and take part in, the Department’s healthy homes agenda.
12 Education National Minimum Standard 8 - Children are supported to
achieve their education potential
The foster carer will encourage and promote the child’s education and
development as appropriate by:-
Arranging a play group or nursery place.
Promoting school attendance.
Attending parents’ evenings.
Providing a suitable environment for study in the home.
Supervising the completion of homework by the child.
Encouraging take up of higher or further education, vocational training,
work experience and employment.
Contributing to the development of the child’s Personal Education Plan
Additional advice and support on educational matters can be accessed
through the Children in Our Care (CIOC) Education Manager.
13 Leisure Standard 7 - Children are able to enjoy their interests,
develop confidence in their skills and are supported and encouraged
to engage in leisure activities
The foster carer will ensure that children and young people have the
opportunities to access age-appropriate leisure activities. The Department
will provide a Beez card which offers subsidised access to leisure facilities in
14 Training Standard 20 - Learning and Development of foster carers
A clear framework of training and development is in place and this is used as
the basis for assessing foster carers’ performance and identifying their
training and development needs.
Foster carers will therefore be provided with access to training to promote the
skills and knowledge necessary for the provision of high quality care and to
enable them to meet the needs of children placed with them.
New carers will need to complete a personal development plan and a
Children’s Workforce Development Council workbook.
Specialised health training will be provided on a regular basis by health
professionals for carers of children with complex health needs.
Foster carers will attend wherever possible any relevant training offered by
the Council as part of their ongoing development. Existing carers will need to
complete a Children’s Workforce Development Council workbook by 2011.
Training programmes will be regularly reviewed in consultation with foster
carers and updated in order to take account of current issues and research
The carers training record includes all mandatory courses which are regularly
updated and presented with the annual review.
15 Support and supervision Standard 21 - Foster carers receive the
support and supervision they need in order to care properly for
children placed with them
The Department will provide foster carers with handbooks containing
information about Departmental policies and procedures: ‘Fostering
Procedures’ and ‘A-Z of Fostering’. These handbooks will be updated on a
regular basis and foster carers will be kept informed of any additions or
Foster carers will be allocated a named supervising social worker from the
fostering team. Foster carers will receive support visits from the named
worker at agreed intervals, depending on their skills and experience and at
least in accordance with statutory requirements.
Foster carers will receive regular supervision and support from their
supervising social worker at intervals of not less than three months and, in the
case of short-term foster carers or carers whose placement is of less than a
year’s duration, at six-weekly intervals.
Advice and support will be available to foster carers from the emergency duty
team during out-of-office hours.
Foster carers will be encouraged to attend support groups.
All foster carers will have membership of the Fostering Network.
Allowances will be paid to foster carers through the BACCS payment system.
There is a clear banding payment structure and an annual payment booklet is
sent to every carer. Any queries in regard to payments can be made to the
respective fostering team manager.
These allowances will cover all day to day expenses associated with
caring for the child.
Consideration can be given to requests for discretionary funding of additional
expenditure to meet the child’s specific needs. If significant amounts are
involved, the sum may be paid in advance by prior agreement.
The foster carer must use any specific payments made by the Department to
meet a child’s particular needs for the intended purpose.
The foster carer must return any equipment or goods purchased by the
Department if requested to do so.
In the event of any overpayments from the Directorate the foster carer will be
required to repay the amount in full. Foster carers must therefore notify the
department immediately if they think they are being overpaid.
Foster carers will take full responsibility for any matters related to claiming of
benefits, paying of tax etc. Lease cars are provided to foster carers in limited,
specified circumstances. Full details of the arrangements and conditions for
the provision of lease cars and of the responsibilities of foster carers who
have lease cars are detailed in the Fostering Procedures guide.
16 Foster Carer Reviews and continuing approval
Foster carer reviews will be conducted at least annually and whenever there
is a change in the circumstances of the foster carers or in their household.
The review will be undertaken by the fostering service and conducted in the
foster carer’s home.
The review will afford the foster carer and the Department the opportunity to
reflect on the preceding year and plan for the year ahead. It will consider
placements made, training undertaken, training needs and support provided
since approval or since the previous review. The appropriateness of the
current terms of approval will be considered.
The review will include:-
Discussion with foster carers and members of the household about their
experiences and requirements.
Consultation with placing social workers.
Consultation with children currently in placement or previously placed.
Completion of an updated Health & Safety Checklist.
Ratification of the family safe care policy, which needs to be relevant to the
children currently in placement.
Completion of a pet risk assessment, if required.
Any changes to the terms of approval arising from a review, either on the
recommendation of the Department or as a result of a request from the foster
carer, will be presented to the fostering panel. If the terms of approval are
amended, the foster carer will be informed in writing. If the carer does not
agree to the change of approval, there are options available to the carer,
including representation to the Independent Review Mechanism for a review
of the decision (information leaflet available). A letter stating the options
available is always sent to the carer following a panel meeting and
subsequent agency decision.
The children’s services department will obtain criminal record bureau
disclosure checks and renewed medical checks on all relevant household
members or significant adults every three years. Foster carers will ensure that
they provide the required information promptly on request.
17 Reviews and Terminations of Agreement
(Regulation 28 )
While it is hoped that it will not become necessary to end this agreement as a
result of either party failing to meet its responsibilities Blackburn with Darwen
Children’s Services Department or the foster carer(s) is entitled to terminate
this agreement if the other party breeches the agreement.
If either party wishes to give notice of their intention to terminate this
agreement, it must be provided in writing and 28 days’ notice given.
Blackburn with Darwen Children’s Services Department reserves the right to
an immediate suspension or termination of the agreement where there are
concerns regarding the standards of care offered to a child or the foster carers
are not approved or re-approved at the Fostering Panel.
Where the fostering panel has determined that a foster carer should be de-
registered, a report will be submitted to the fostering panel with a
recommendation for de-registration and the panel will make a
recommendation which is then ratified by the Agency Decision Maker. Written
notice is sent to the carer giving notice to terminate the carer’s approval and
the reasons for this and the recommendation of the panel. This letter advises
the carer that they can make written representations to the Agency Decision
Maker or apply to the Secretary of State for a review by an independent
review panel of the ‘qualifying determination’. This must be done within 28
days of the receipt of the letter. If no representations are received the panel
can proceed to make its decision (28 (9)). If written representations are
received, the fostering panel will hear any representations and make a
recommendation following this. The panel may uphold its previous
recommendation. The carers will be invited to panel to present their case,
along with support if needed. The panel will record the reasons for the
recommendation in the same way as other fostering business. The carers will
be informed in writing of the agency decision.
The agreement may be terminated immediately in circumstances where the
foster carer or any permanent or temporary member of the foster carer’s
household is convicted or cautioned in relation to a specified offence as set
out in Schedule 4 for the purposes of Regulation 26 (b) of the Fostering
Regulations 2011; or is included on any register as being unsuitable to work
with or care for children. If there is a serious case of misconduct, where the
carer has endangered the life of a child in their care, for example, not
following the missing from home procedures, in these cases the Head of
Service will need to make a decision whether to refer to the Secretary of State
for consideration on whether the carer’s name should be included on the
Protection of Children list. The Fostering Panel may have been asked to
consider this matter during the termination of approval process.
OFSTED also ask the Fostering Service to notify them of any serious
concerns in regard to a foster carer’s behaviour.
In all circumstances where the agreement is to be terminated, every attempt
will be made by the foster carer and the Department to ensure that
arrangements for any child in placement will be made in the best interests of
Where the agreement is terminated, the foster carer’s name will be removed
from the Department’s register of foster carers.
The foster carer will not terminate the agreement in order to join another
agency fostering provider while a child is in placement unless agreement has
been reached between the Department and that fostering provider about
arrangements for the continued management of the placement.
If the carer wishes to give notice to finish their fostering career, i.e. if the carer
has taken out special guardianship, or for any other personal reason, it is
good practice to write a letter of resignation and send to the Team Manager
before a fostering panel can consider ending their registration.
18 Legal Liabilities and Foster Carers
Personal and Public Liability Incurred by Foster Carers and Children.
This provides cover for liability at law for compensation and claimants costs
and expenses when a foster child is responsible for accidental injury to
another person or damage to someone else’s property.
In addition foster carers are also covered for liability at law for compensation
and claimants costs and expenses in respect of accidental injury to a foster
child. The policy does not cover any wilful act or injury arising from motor
The maximum limit of indemnity is currently £1 million with a policy excess of
All Risks and Malicious Damage
This provides cover for foster carers’ property and property belonging to
members of their family permanently residing with them. Cover is in respect of
loss or damage caused by a foster child and also includes wilful damage
maliciously inflicted by the child’s natural parents.
It is not intended as a substitute for sensible household in insurance and does
not cover situations where a claim can be made against existing buildings or
contents policy. It does not cover malicious damage and theft by a foster child
including theft of money up to a maximum of £250 and theft of jewellery up to
a maximum of £2000.
The limit of cover for any one occurrence is £100,000 excluding the first £100
or each incident.
Loss or damage to a carer’s motor vehicle is excluded. They must have
their own insurance cover.
Contact Linda Haworth, Insurance Officer on 01254 585611 or email her on
email@example.com, please note, it is very important to put any
claim in writing to Linda Haworth within 7 days of the incident.
As individual members of Fostering Network, foster carers have access to
Legal Protection Insurance. This policy is summarised in the A-Z of fostering
and is available directly from Fostering Network.
In the event of any difficulties between Blackburn with Darwen Children’s
Services Department and the foster carer in respect of the service or this
agreement, the matter shall, in the first instance, be referred to the Head of
Please read this document carefully and sign
1. When first approved
2. If there are any changes in your circumstances
3. After your annual review
Blackburn with Darwen Social Services Department
Foster Carer Agreement
The placement approval for the Foster Carer(s) named below is for:
Number of Children:
Details of any other matching considerations:
Blackburn with Darwen Social Services
FOSTER CARER AGREEMENT
Skill level No. of Age range Gender Type of fostering
Details of any other matching considerations:-
N.B. Any change to this approval must be made by:-
- An Exemption/Variation (short term)
- A review taken back to the Main Fostering Panel
Date of Fostering Panel approval or re-approval
In signing below, the foster carer(s) and Children’s Services agree to the
current approval details and to abide by the conditions of the Foster Carer
Print Name Sign Date:
Foster carer(s) Name
Name of Supervising