Allegations, complaints, or concerns over standards of care can leave Foster Carers feeling worried, isolated, and uncertain about their future in fostering.
However, fostering services must ensure that Foster Carers are offered independent support, advice, and guidance about the allegations process. In addition, carers should receive emotional support as well as mediation or advocacy between them and the fostering organisation, with attendance at meetings or panel hearings.
FosterTalk’s Allegations Support Team has the experience, understanding, and compassion to ensure that cares are fully supported, guided, and informed throughout the allegations process, in line with the National Minimum Standards (NMS) England 22.12, Wales 22.9 and best practice advice in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
They offer essential emotional support for carers, during what is a very difficult and distressing time.
Allegations Case Study – Steven and Sue
- On 8/10/21 our Allegations Support Team received a referral to support foster carers Steven and Sue*.
- An allegation had been made about them by their foster child, and they were being investigated for concerns regarding standards of care.
- Paul, a FosterTalk AST advisor, local to Steven and Sue, was allocated to manage their case.
- On the very same day, Paul contacted the couple to introduce himself, explain his background and inform them of the allegations process.
Paul, AST Advisor
When I first take on a referral, I make sure I have read all the information I have been given more than a few times and jot down some questions I might need to ask for clarification. I will always call the carers at the time I have said I will. This is very important as they need to know I do what I say, so that trust is starting to build right from the beginning.
I introduce myself and explain a little about me and that I am also a foster carer of 10 years. It’s important that they know I’ve been through the allegation process as a foster carer and have come out on the other side and really understand how they are feeling. Then I describe some of those feelings. Being left alone. Not knowing what is going on. Made to feel guilty. Over-thinking things. Doubting themselves. Not being able to talk to anyone can make them feel isolated. Pressure with partners and so on.
I actively listen to what they are telling me without interrupting and at the end I will ask some questions to clarify anything I need to. Only then will I talk about the process and what will happen, but I break it down into steps. It is important to make the carers understand that there could be two parts to the Allegation: If the police are involved this must be looked at first and they should have a solicitor present. Only when the police are no longer involved will the fostering service do their investigation. It is a fine balance between not scaring the carers but letting them know what could happen. I explain my role to them and make it clear that I am here for them to call me with any questions at any time (this is very important at the beginning of any referral I take).
With regards to Steven and Sue and all Foster Carers that I support, I want them to know that I am with them every step of the way and do not judge them or take sides. I call what I do being in the moment with the carers.
- Paul provided 1-2-1, dedicated support for Steven and Sue throughout the entire allegations process, both on the phone and in person.
- His personal experience in fostering and allegations meant that Steven and Sue had someone who had been in their shoes to support them every step of the way with both emotional and practical support when they needed it the most.
- On March 20th 2022, the agency decision maker concluded that Steven and Sue were suitable to continue fostering, and their approval terms were unchanged.
Steven and Sue, Foster Carers
Paul has been invaluable with supporting us through the investigation into the care we provide foster children. The very organisation that we work for alienated us and treated us like criminals, with absolutely no support. We were completely lost until Paul from FosterTalk came along and without him we couldn’t have got through this. What makes him exceptional is the fact that he has been through this process himself and really understands what you are going through. This enabled us to trust him and follow his advice. He always called when he said he would and was always on hand when we needed him.
Words are not enough to say how essential his service is – foster carers need Paul! Thank you also for acting on our behalf with regard to getting approval for his attendance at our investigation meeting.
If you would like to speak to our team to find out how Paul and our dedicated team of AST Advisors can support your carers, call us on 0121 758 5013.
You can also read more about our Allegations Support Team here
Read our Guide to Allegations here
Make a referral for Allegations Support here
*names have been changed