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7.6 Foster Carer Recording Policy

In August 2021, this chapter was added to the manual.


Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Scope
  3. Statutory Framework
  4. Procedure

    Appendix 1: Accident and Incident Report Form


1. Purpose

Keeping clear and accurate records is a key part of a foster carer’s role. The records kept belong to the agency and are the child/young person’s information that they can either ask to read at the present time or have access to later on, as adults. 

This procedure sets out expectations of supervising social workers in relation to written records made and kept by foster carer’s on individual children in placement.

The purpose of the procedure is to ensure sensitive information relating to children and their families is managed confidentially, sensitively and with respect and is kept secure and in accordance with GDPR requirements.


2. Scope

The family placement service and fostering households.


3. Statutory Framework

  • Isle of Man Fostering Services Minimum Standards 2007 (amended 2013), Standard 24;
  • Data Protection Act 2018.

The supervising social worker should ensure that foster carers know the importance of keeping records and how they can be used:

  • Records can offer children and young people an understanding of what has happened during the placement, and to understand why decisions were made, clarify what the foster carer’s role was in their life and improve their sense of identity;
  • Recordings can provide an opportunity to reflect, and allow analysis of behaviour; it also allows sharing of information with other professionals helps in continuity when there are changes in care;
  • Records can provide accurate information for the child’s social worker to use in assessing and deciding plans for the child or young person;
  • Records may be used as evidence in court;
  • Records forms part of ensuring you a foster carer is meeting the accountability and standards expected of them and could be useful in the event of any allegations that may be made;
  • That records are required to be kept confidential and only shared or discussed with express permission of a professional involved with the child and family;
  • Written in the knowledge that a child or young person has a right to read what is written;
  • Records should offer a balanced view of the child’s life and include the positive as well as difficult aspects of their life.


4. Procedure

An approved foster carer should be fully advised by the Supervising social worker of the requirements for recording and storing and retaining information and documentation in respect of children in placement with them.

To enable a foster carer to be compliant with security and confidentiality the supervising social worker shall provide the carers with: a Foster care log book

  • A Communication Book, if required. Please see heading below'
  • A lock box, in which to store confidential information'
  • Accident and Incident report template (including Body Maps.)'
  • Memory Box – to include records of the child’s developmental milestones, achievements, experiences and photographs.

The supervising social worker must provide guidance and advice to support the carer(s) to maintain factual records in respect of any child/young person in their care.

Foster care log books

The supervising social worker will provide the foster carer with a log book for each child in their care.

The foster carer must maintain the log for each child only and not record any other child’s details in the log of another child.

The log book should be used routinely to record:

  • Details of the improvements and achievements of a child or young person;
  • Details of all medical appointments;
  • Records of all medication, prescribed and non- prescribed, including details of any medication given in error;
  • Details of any injuries or illnesses, include how they were acquired, the details of any witnesses and the details of any emergency actions taken; A body map and incident report should also be completed;
  • Physical intervention - record what happened before, when it happened, and how it was dealt with;
  • Quotes or comments from the child or young person - these can useful for the child or young person to look back on, and can provide important evidence for assessments;
  • Details of delegated authority and how decisions were made;
  • Significant changes in behaviour (positive and negative changes), and how this was dealt with;
  • Contact with other agencies and professionals;
  • Details of any times that the child is away from the foster home, with friends, birth family, or missing;
  • Details of contact visits, including how the child or young person responded, and any reasons for failed visits;
  • Disagreements and complaints with the child or young person, and how they were dealt with;
  • Details of visits by the child’s social worker and the supervising social worker, including details of any missed meetings and any agreed actions;
  • Details of any specific events or changes in the foster carer household that may have an impact on the foster child.

The supervising social worker shall review each child’s log book at every supervision with the foster carers and ensure that:

  • They are being routinely used and recording all relevant information about the child.(Capturing the child’s routine including any appointments/incidences, presentation, behaviour and achievements/milestones);
  • Are chronologically accurate - Written in date order, are factual, free of jargon, accurate and concise;
  • Capturing any actions the carer has taken in respect of the child including First Aid treatments, f home remedies and prescribed medication, medical appointments, etc. The log is kept securely and it meets the standard requirements.

For quality assurance purposes, the supervising social worker and foster carer should initial/sign the bottom of each log book entry when checked in a supervision session.

Any reflective discussion/learning or advice for the foster carers given by the supervising social worker should be noted in their supervision notes and reviewed at the next session.

If subsequent log books are used (when one is full) then each log book should be numbered so that all books can be accounted for.

Full log books and log books at the end of a placement should be physically retrieved by the supervising social worker. Receipt of the log book will be recorded by the supervising social worker in a case note on the carer(s) electronic file the date in which they have been received and quality assured.

The logs books will be scanned on to the child’s electronic file and the social worker notified of them. FPS will keep the original log book(s) for a period of three months and they are then disposed of in the government’s confidential waste disposal units.

Any person(s) have a legal right to see their care file, in line with the Access to Records Procedure

Communication books with parents and birth family

The communication book is a means by which the foster carers will promote the child or young person’s ongoing relationship with their birth family. The supervising social worker will support the carer to understand the significance of this relationship to the child’s wellbeing, identity and self-esteem.

The supervising social worker will support the carers to adopt a restorative approach so that the communication book is a truly two way conversation between parents/family and carers to assist in building a good working relationship that is to the benefit of the child or young person.

The use and purpose of the communication book for each child or young person should be discussed by the supervising social worker and agreed at the Placement Planning Meeting.

The book used will be provided by the supervising social worker and it is the property of the service, not the carer.

The supervising social worker will ensure that the foster carer sends the communication book to every contact session and retrieve it on return from contact.

In the event it is not returned the foster carer should inform the supervising social worker.

The communication book should be made available to the child’s social worker and supervising social worker at each statutory visit or upon request. If the Communication Book or its means of use is causing distress to the child, or the parent/family member, the supervising social worker and/or the child’s social worker must arrange a meeting with to discuss the concerns with appropriate person(s) and seek a resolution.

If a child or young person moves from the placement, the communication book will be retrieved by the supervising social worker and passed to the child’s social worker to upload on the file.

Each new placement should have a NEW communication book.

Lock Box

Upon approval, the supervising social worker must ensure that the foster carer(s) are provided with a lock box in which to keep any confidential information relating to a Looked After Child.

Supervising social workers must ensure that the lock box is kept securely and undertake “spot checks” to ensure that information is being stored appropriately.

Information pertaining to each child placed will be retrieved at the end of placement by the supervising social worker.

The lockbox will be retrieved by the supervising social worker when the carers cease fostering.

Accident and Incident Reports (including body maps)

The supervising social worker shall ensure the foster carer knows that accidents and injuries must be reported within 24 hours to the supervising social worker, social worker or duty worker.

Within those 24 hours, the supervising social worker must ensure that the foster carer(s) have completed the FPS Accident/Incident Report Template (please see Appendix 1: Accident and Incident Report Form.)

The report will need to be quality assured by the supervising social worker, case noted on the carer(s) file and the report shared with the child’s social worker within 24 hours unless an emergency or life threatening in which case it is as soon as is practicable.

The child’s social worker will determine what further action is to be taken and seek managerial advice. The report of the incident should be kept on the carers file and uploaded onto the child’s file.

The supervising social worker must also ensure that a copy is attached to the fostering log book.

The supervising social worker is responsible for reporting incidents that meet the notification criteria for Registration and Inspection purposes to the Registration and Inspection Unit, using the notification form. Please see Registration and Inspection Policy - to follow.

Memory Box (Keeping records of the child’s developmental milestones, achievements, experiences and photographs.)

The supervising social worker will provide the foster carer with a memory box for each child or young person in placement. During supervision, the supervising social worker needs to provide support and guidance to the foster carer about what relevant information they should be keeping for a child or young person for later life. This could include;

  • Photographs;
  • Certificates of achievements;
  • Art work;
  • Important milestones and their dates;
  • Significant toys and clothes.

The supervising social worker needs to ensure that the foster carer(s) are contributing to the child’s memory box and all items are labelled with dates and a short description of its significance.

Please also refer to the Life Story Work with all Looked After Children Procedure

Summary reports of the child’s progress for meetings (particularly, if not in attendance)

The supervising social worker will ensure that a foster carer is prepared for any meeting in respect of a child or young person and be supported to complete any reports required.

If a foster carer cannot attend a meeting in respect of a child or young person, they must provide a short summary of the child’s progress to the supervising social worker in good time to be submitted for the meeting and in line with procedural requirements for that meeting.

The summary will need to capture any updates in respect of the child’s health, education, contact, identity, interest and hobbies and behaviour.

The supervising social worker must quality assure the summary, before authorising it and submitting it on behalf of the foster carer

Responsibilities in Relation to Storage and Confidentiality

Records held by a foster carer are the property of the service.

All information provided about a child, or young person is confidential and governed by the Data Protection Act 2018. Information about a child, young person, or their family held or known to a foster carer should only be provided for the purpose of the child or young person’s protection or welfare, or the fostering household’s safety. Whilst the child is in placement the supervising social worker MUST ensure that all information is kept a safe, secure and confidential manner in the carer’s home.

The Supervising social worker should ensure that the foster carer knows that currently, records and documentation cannot be kept electronically in the carer’s personal email or personal computer. This is because deletion and security cannot be guaranteed.

The supervising social worker should ensure that the carer does not agree to receive by personal email any documentation or information from any professional involved with the child or young person in placement.

The supervising social worker should ensure the foster carer understands what would constitute a breach of security or a breach of confidentiality both in relation to documentation and conversation. The supervising social worker should identify with the foster carer those situations where there is a legitimate need to share information relating to the child or young person with family or friends who are involved in their care. However, seemingly innocent conversations within the community could lead to accidental breaches of the child’s confidentiality.

The supervising social worker should ensure the foster carer understands that a breach of confidentiality could lead to a review, at panel, of their suitability to foster carer.

Maintaining Standards

Supervising social workers must ensure that foster carer(s) are adhering to the Fostering Minimum Standards (Standard 24) and the Data Protection Act 2018 by ensuring support, guidance and training is provided to foster carers. For example, through supervision, providing exemplars, peer support and formal training.

Where standards are continually not adhered to, this could lead to a review, at panel, of the foster carer(s) suitability as a foster carer.

End of Placement

At the end of a placement the supervising social worker will ensure that all documentation relating to a child or young person is collected and retained as required and in accordance with policy and procedure.

The supervising social worker shall record on the foster carers file the date he/she arrived and left and when the information was returned to the Department


Appendix 1: Accident and Incident Report Form

Click here for Appendix 1: Accident and Incident Report Form

Original Publication Date March 2021
Last Review Date New policy
Next Review Date March 2022

End