Understand the whole
Allegations process


Extra support for FosterTalk members facing an allegation, complaint or concern over standard of care.
Foster Carers talking to an allegations support advisor


24/7 Counselling Support
We all need a little extra support at times. That's why we offer around-the-clock confidential counselling delivered by a team of clinically trained and qualified experts who are BACP accredited.
24/7 Legal Advice
FosterTalk members receive free, impartial legal support - at any time of the day or night.
Comprehensive Legal Cover
FosterTalk membership provides insurance cover for you and your extended family which includes historical and intervenor cover - including the services of a solicitor and defence costs for court hearings relating to allegations.
Simply call us on 0121 758 5013 or log in to My FosterTalk to access your 24/7 members phone line.
Not a member? Join here

We know that the impact of an allegation, concern or complaint can be devastating for carers and their families, and our AST advisors are an important source of advice, guidance and emotional support, to foster carers when they need it the most.

  • Our Independent advisors will provide you with advice, support and guidance about the allegations process and what to expect as well as being alongside you throughout the process.
  • You can be reassured that there will be no conflict of interest as all of our advisors are independent of your fostering service.
  • Support is confidential and undertaken on a one-to-one basis.
  • If required, an advisor can mediate with your fostering organisation and key professionals however they will only make this contact with your consent.
  • If required our Independent advisors will support you to any meetings relating to the allegation, concern or complaint as required and can assist with written representation for panels and appeals.
  • Your advisor will be alongside you at panel and support you with a review of the decision if you choose to request this make following the Agency Decision Maker’s (ADM) determination.
Carers may feel less anxious by receiving objective support and guidance and in turn may feel more positive and in control of their situation.
  • A professional service that can support carers during difficult, emotional, and conflict-fuelled times.
  • Impartial objective support and guidance in line with National Minimal Standards, best practice guidance and fostering regulations.
  • AST advisors will listen and help carers understand the investigation process, help foster carers to digest the outcome of any allegation, concern and complaint, and provide safe space for carers to evaluate and reflect.
  • Cost-effective spot purchase or contracted service with a guaranteed response to carers and your service within one working day of receipt of the referral.


An allegation of abuse is a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm, or acted in a way that could indicate they are unsuitable to work with children and young people.

Anyone in the foster home may be accused of harming a child, including family members or children. An allegation may be made by the child or someone acting on their behalf, such as a teacher or parent.

When allegations against foster carers are made, the local authority and the fostering organisation have a legal duty under the Children Act 1989, S47, to report this to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and carry out an investigation to decide what type of action is required to safeguard and promote the welfare of a child that is suspected of, or likely to be suffering from significant harm.

Foster carers can sometimes be subject to complaints made by a foster child, a parent or someone with a legitimate interest in the child’s welfare. Complaints can range from minor concerns to more serious complaints and may require investigation.
Concerns raised may be in relation to the conduct, attitude and practices of a carer including the emotional and physical care of children, work with family members and/or discriminatory attitudes and behaviour. Examples of concerns over standard of care might be, not promoting the health needs of a child, failure to promote family contact time, failing to report safeguarding concerns relating to a child, inappropriate discipline, unreasonable or inappropriate responses to managing a child’s behaviour and not meeting the child’s needs as outlined in a child’s care plan.
What do I do if an allegation, complaint, or concerns about standards of concern are made against me?
Call FosterTalk on 0121 758 5013
Or email AllegationsAdmin@fostertalk.org
It’s sometimes difficult to understand or explain why children and young people in care accuse members of their foster family of wrongdoing. In the first instance the premise is it may be true but there are many reasons that children or those associated with the children may make a false allegation.

One of the most common reasons is due to the child believing they will be returned home to their parents if they claim they are being mistreated.

Some children make allegations because they are angry about something that has been said or done, or because they are looking for an excuse for their own behaviour.

In some cases where a child has had a number of foster homes, an allegation might be made in order for them to discover whether those responsible for them truly care about them. Other children might be trying to be heard and make an allegation to get this need met.

Sadly, sometimes an allegation is made because the young person in care has been abused in the past. Accusing a foster carer of abuse is a way of bringing this out into the open. Sometimes children who have previously been in emotionally harmful environments can misinterpret situations that have been precursors to abuse in the past, and as such become a trauma trigger – even if it ‘normal behaviour’ such as the suggestion of reading a bedtime story.


The simple answer is that it is impossible to fully protect yourself against this eventuality. However, you can, and should, work towards avoiding investigations by taking all the necessary steps that will allow you to minimise the risk of an allegation.

Your fostering organisation should provide you with a Risk Assessment for each foster child in your care along with a Safe Care Plan both documents will outline useful strategies to help you to keep the child and everyone within the household as safe as possible.

Timely reporting of safeguarding matters is essential in helping you to avoid allegations. Taking these simple precautions and letting your fostering organisation know that you are taking the safe care seriously will help you in the event that an allegation is made against you.

For example, if a child incurs bruises or other marks, it is important to consider how these might have been caused i.e. self-harm, slips, trips and falls, sports injuries or physical altercations with other children. Any injuries that are noticed on foster children should always be reported to the fostering organisation social worker, or duty worker in their absence, this should also be recorded in the child’s diary log.

If a child is missing, you must report this to your fostering organisation and call the police (regardless of the time of day or night).

If you restrain a child, you must report this to your fostering organisation as soon as is reasonably practicable. Restraint can cause injury and this intervention is best avoided, unless the child is at significant risk of harming themselves or another.

Find out more about FosterTalk’s Allegations Support Team and the support they provide for Foster Carers faced with an allegation.



Many foster carers tell us that during an investigation they feel they are treated as though they are ‘guilty until proven innocent’. Although it is difficult, it’s important for foster carers that they try not to think this way. Local authorities and fostering organisations have a legal duty to ensure that all concerns are listened to and dealt with appropriately.

Each fostering service or organisation will have set procedures in place when it comes to dealing with allegations. National Minimum Standards (England and Wales only) state that foster carers who are under investigation should be provided with support that is independent of their fostering organisation, to help them through the process. It is also the foster carer’s right to have information in writing about the allegation, the outcome of the investigation and further steps to be taken once it is over.

It is not unusual for foster carers to feel ‘outcast’ and isolated during the investigation process. Some foster carers have told us that their supervising social worker has stopped visiting them or has been told to withdraw support. This can be distressing for foster carers who take this lack of contact to mean that their social worker does not believe them. This is usually not the case. Instead, it is usually due to policies with fostering organisations that call for supervising social workers to withdraw temporarily in order to avoid any conflicts of interest during the inquiry.

While FosterTalk is not there to replace your supervising social worker, we can provide you with all the necessary advice, information, and support that you will need to cope throughout the process. And if your fostering organisation agrees, FosterTalk can also provide an independent advisor through our Allegations Support Team.


When an allegation has been made, the foster child and any other foster children within the household may be removed pending an investigation. This decision is made by the child’s social worker in conjunction with advice from the LADO. Decisions to remove children are not taken lightly, professionals will consider the welfare of the children and make an assessment of potential risks to children remaining in the foster home whilst the investigation is undertaken. In some circumstances, it may be suggested that the alleged party leave the house until further investigations can take place.


When carrying out an investigation into allegations of abuse against a foster child, the local authority has a legal duty to consider the welfare of any other children in the household – including the foster carer’s own children. This includes birth children, adopted children or children on Special Guardianship Orders.

If the foster carer’s children are deemed to be at risk of “significant harm” they would be subject to the same safeguarding procedures as any other child in the community. In these circumstances, foster carers are advised to seek independent legal advice.


Whenever there are concerns of a child protection nature, the Fostering Organisation has a duty to inform the Children’s Services Team and if necessary, the police. Each Local Authority will have designated person that will lead on any investigation where a carer is alleged to have harmed a child.

The designated person(s) is usually called the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) they will convene an initial strategy meeting of all the relevant professionals including the police and discuss the allegation and decide the next steps take.


If the police want to speak to you, they are likely to do this under caution as they try and establish the facts relating to an allegation, this will help them decide whether any further action/intervention will be required. In the event that the police want to speak to you it is always advisable to seek independent legal advice. Download our Interview Under Caution FAQ’s here

If you are a FosterTalk member your legal insurance cover gives you access to legal advice lines 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week. FosterTalk also provides the services of a solicitor at the police station for your interview under caution. Your legal insurance over also covers defence costs, should the case against you proceed to court.

It should be stressed that not all matters result in formal intervention by the Police, and indeed those that do, do not automatically progress beyond an initial interview.

The fundamental objective of the police, social care professionals and governing bodies is to ensure that the welfare of the child is protected.


If the police want to speak to you, they are likely to do this under caution as they try and establish the facts relating to an allegation, this will help them decide whether any further action/intervention will be required. In the event that the police want to speak to you it is always advisable to seek independent legal advice.


This depends on the outcome of the investigation as well as on the recommendations made at the final strategy meeting and by the fostering panel.

Once a foster carer’s allegation is concluded it is best practice for fostering organisations to notify panel of the investigation. The fostering organisation will carry out a review of approval and compile a report outlining the allegations, complaint, or concern along with the outcome of the investigations and make a recommendation to panel, taking into account any actions and recommendations from the investigation process.

You should be given the opportunity to provide verbal and written information for your review and to see the report before it goes to the panel.

You should also be invited to attend the panel whilst your approval is being considered.

With FosterTalk Membership, we will be able to advise you about the allegations process and talk you through each step. If you have an AST Advisor, they will be able to help you prepare the report and accompany you to the fostering panel.

Not a FosterTalk member? Join online today

After the fostering panel has made a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker (ADM), you will receive a letter advising you of the proposed terms of your approval i.e. re-approval or de-registration or a change of terms/variation on your approval.


Yes, you can make a request to review the decision made by your fostering organisation. You will have 28 days from the receipt of the ADM qualifying determination letter to decide whether or not to accept the terms of this or request a review of the decision made by your fostering organisation through their internal process.

Alternatively, you can apply to the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM if in England or Wales) or another independent review panel. *Please note that you can only do one or the other and not both.

If you have an AST Advisor, they will be able to support you through this process to conclusion.

Further information about the Independent Review Mechanism and how to ask for your case to be reconsidered can be found below:

The Independent Review Mechanism: England
Telephone: 0845 450 3956 (charged at local rate)
Telephone: 0113 202 2080
E-mail: irm@irm.org.uk
IRM website www.gov.uk/government/organisations/independent-review-mechanism

The Independent Review Mechanism: Wales
Telephone: (029) 2034 2434
E-mail: Fiona.probert@childreninwales.org.uk
IRM Cymru Website: https://irm.cymru/

There is no IRM in Scotland. There is no IRM in Northern Ireland.



To make a referral for one of your foster carers, please complete our referral form for independent allegations support here

We will provide a response within one working day from receipt of the referral.


If you have any questions regarding Allegations Support please contact our friendly team on 0121 758 5013 or email AllegationsAdmin@fostertalk.org