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.