Change of Circumstances

This chapter was added to the manual in December 2013.

The Foster Care Agreement states that foster carer(s) must immediately give the local authority full written notice of:

  1. Any intended change of the foster carer's address;
  2. Any intended change in the composition of their household;
  3. Any other change in their personal circumstance and any other event affecting either their capacity to care for any child placed or the suitability of their household, and
  4. Any request or application to adopt children, or for application for child minding or day care.

Kent Foster Carers Charter also highlights the commitment of Kent's foster carers to "inform their Fostering Social Worker of significant events or changes in the carer's life or family".

Sharing information about personal/household changes are a key part of the supervisory relationship and require openness and transparency. Changes in circumstances should be presented to the Fostering Panel and consideration given to the potential impact on the carer's approval.

Foster carers should consider the impact of forming a relationship with a new partner on their fostering role. Carers are expected to conduct any new relationship within an agreed Safe Care Plan and discuss the plans for any contact with foster children and the impact of any change in dynamics within the household. The intentions of the relationship should be explored and an assessment of the new partner considered. Prior to a new partner staying overnight arrangements for the stay including a risk assessment and updated Safe Care Plan should be updated and the Fostering Manager informed.

Before a new partner moves in the changes/proposed changes to the household should be presented to the next available Fostering Panel. Where two people will be sharing the care of a child, whether they are a couple or any other partnership, they should be jointly assessed and approved as foster carers and both partners should complete the Skills to Foster together. During the assessment process the foster carer remains the approved carer and responsible for the foster carer duties that this entails including the day to day care, attendance at meetings and confidentiality.

If changes in the fostering household occur without prior notice, the fostering manager must be informed and an immediate review of the foster carer's approval convened.

Carers should inform the fostering service of any decision to separate/divorce. Plans for the care of any children in placement will need to be considered and the IRO informed. The Fostering Service should be informed of the serious illness/death of a foster carer/member of the fostering household and support to the family provided.