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Record Keeping


Foster Carers play a vital role in enabling professionals to make the right decisions for the children and young people being looked after. A Foster Carer has first-hand knowledge and experience of a child’s life, behaviours, risks and needs, and therefore play a crucial role in decision making processes through attending statutory meetings and case and court conferences. Foster carers may also be required to supervise contact sessions.

There are many events in a child’s life, which most of us would take for granted, however, for a child in foster care these may be very significant. Their achievements, changes in behaviour, details of meetings, requests from the foster carer for additional support or resources for example, are all key events and could potentially play a part in a decision making process for the child’s care planning and future.

At Sunbeam we have many support mechanisms in place to enable Foster Carers to produce good quality, comprehensive records.

  • Regular supervision with your supervising social worker, they will guide you in preparing comprehensive records and provide support to find time to do them.
  • We have a number of tools to assist in producing records.
  • Group based training sessions specifically in Record Keeping, and also IT.
  • Confidentiality and Data Protection group based training

Foster Care is a complex job, and Foster Carers should be aware of how they can minimise risk to themselves and their family members of allegations and complaints. Foster Carers recordings can be used as evidence in such circumstances. Allegations and complaints can occur at any time and it is not uncommon for these to be in relation to historic events, therefore, the daily logs and recordings will play a vital role in any investigation conducted as a result.

What needs to be recorded:


Daily records would include general daily activities, i.e Paul reported to have a good day at school, he received a merit award for his science project. Foster Carers should stick to the facts, the records they keep should be accurate and not subjective:

Paul fell over on the walk home from school, he grazed his knee. I cleaned his wound once we reached home and applied antiseptic cream.

Daily records would also include specific meetings, such as a care planning meeting, or a parents meeting at school. It is also important to record events which may potentially pose a risk to the safety of a child. Using dates and times will also prove beneficial, for instance, most young people will push the limits in regards to their curfew, usually getting home with seconds to spare, or a few minutes late. Changes or patterns in lateness may highlights other potential risks, for instance:

Paul attends a youth club every Wednesday, and has done for 6 months. He returned home usually 20 – 30 mins after it ended. Paul suddenly begins to take over an hour to reach home, each time has been recorded in the daily log. Prompting a discussion about the youth group and what it is that keeps him out so much later than normal. Paul informs that he takes a different route to avoid a group of youths who hang around afterwards and pick on him. The foster carer agrees that they will collect Paul from the Youth Group.

Foster Carers are encouraged to read through their logs, as this may enable you to link together events or see a pattern in behaviour. This could be both beneficial or not, either way, it is vital that these are highlighted to the professionals involved.

Sharing Information within the Fostering Family

For children and young people in care, their past experiences, and current situations are very personal to them. Foster Carers should be sensitive as to how much information they share, within their household with their own children or family members, and outside the household with extended family & friends etc. To ensure that all members of a fostering household are able to protect themselves against the risk of allegations it may be appropriate to share some specific information. Foster Carers have a responsibility to protect and safeguard the looked after child and any children or young people within the home.

Foster Carers should seek the support of the supervising social worker if they are concerned or would like to discuss the appropriateness of sharing information.

An understanding and awareness of confidentiality is paramount we offer a group based training for Foster Carers, and members of a fostering household to ensure everyone is aware of their responsibility.

Storing Information

Foster Carers are supported to store their logs confidentially; Sunbeam will advise carers specifically on how this works best for them as Foster Carers have many preferences on how they record their logs. Children and Young People are entitled to have access to their information with some wishing to access in adult life to better understand their childhood and life history.

“Fostering is a rewarding experience as it allows you to actually make a difference for a child/young person. I feel happy being able to make such a difference whether it is for one day or several years.”
Asma

Asma

London
“We have been fostering for the last 8 years and feel proud to be a part of the Sunbeam family. At the beginning, we thought it’s a tough job, but at the end, it gave us both a broad insight into both the tough and rewarding side of fostering”
Hannah-and-Kashif Foster Carers

Hannah and Kashif

London

Sunbeam offers up to £650 per child per week

Aside from fostering allowances, there is other help available to foster carers, for example, 24/7 local support and regular training programmes.