We recognise that it’s not just children that need our support in order to flourish – carers also need our help to reach their full potential and to develop their skills and knowledge.

Once you have been approved, a Supervising Social Worker will work with you to support you in looking after children placed with you – but their role is also to monitor and help you in your development as a carer. You will also receive an Annual Foster Carer Review, which will look at how things have been for you as a fostering family over the past year.

Who is at this review?

You and your partner (if applicable), your Supervising Social Worker, a Chair Person and a minute taker.

Where is this review held?

All Annual Reviews will take place at one of our offices, whichever is closest to where you live. It could be in Orpington, Kent, Colchester or Thetford in Norfolk. We are also able to access the use of other offices in Faversham, Selsdon, East London, Thames Valley and Wansted.

Who contributes to my review?

We seek comments from you, your children, your Supervising Social Worker, the Local Authority Social Workers who have had children placed with you during the review period and the children who are placed with you at the time of your review.

How often will I have a review?

The Fostering Services Regulations state that Safehouses must satisfy itself that all foster carers continue to meet the required standards and terms of the Foster Care Agreement and that this should be done through review at least every 12 months. Early review will be held following a serious complaint or an allegation of abuse, if you have had a significant change in your circumstances, or at the request of a foster carer or member of Safehouses staff (eg to consider a proposal for a change of approval category).

What happens at a review?

The focus of the discussion is about your experience of the fostering you have done over the year and how it has impacted on you and your family. It is an opportunity to discuss what you think you have achieved and whether the support and training provided has met your needs in supporting the children placed with you. It is also a chance to look ahead to what support/training etc., you might need in the coming year and to discuss what kind of fostering best suits you and your family and what kind of placements you feel able to offer and we feel would be appropriate.

The review is also the opportunity for Safehouses to monitor that your work meets the agency and National Standards and that your statutory checks are up to date.

What happens after a review?

Your first Annual Review report (and others where there have been significant issues or when changes to approval status are recommended) is presented to the Safehouses Fostering Panel. The recommendations from the Reviewing Officer and the Panel are passed to the Agency Decision Maker who is responsible for making the decision about the approval of foster carers. You will then receive a letter confirming the continuation of your approval and any changes to your approval criteria, or a letter giving reasons why it is felt that you should not continue as a foster carer.

What if I don’t agree with what has been written about me in contributions to the review, the review report, any recommendations or the final decision?

You have the right to make written representations at any stage and Safehouses will provide you with information about how to do this and how they will be considered. There is also, as from April 1st 2009, an independent reviewing mechanism (IRM) to ensure a prospective approved foster carer has additional rights of appeal if requested.