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Allegations against foster carers

Foster care can be a truly rewarding career with many benefits; it is also a huge commitment and one that is not without problems. Many of the children who come into care have been abused or neglected, and because of the nature of fostering, this can put foster carers at risk of allegations during their fostering career.

When allegations against foster carers are made, the local authority and the fostering service have a legal duty  under the Children Act 1989, S47, to carry out an investigation to ensure that the child is safe and receives appropriate help, regardless of whether the allegation is true or not

Although this is a necessary process, it can put the accused foster carer and their family under considerable emotional strain.

While research has shown that the majority of allegations (78%) are unsubstantiated, (Biehal, (2014) Sebba & Plumridge, (2016)), the impact of the investigation may leave foster carers feeling extremely vulnerable and distressed. The willingness and ability of the foster carer to continue to foster following an unsubstantiated allegation often depends on the level of input and support they receive from their fostering service throughout this process.

The fundamental objective of Foster Carers, Care Agencies, Government bodies, the Police and the Courts is to ensure the welfare of the cared-for child is protected.  There are a broad range of requirements and responsibilities to adhere to, and resulting processes that will be followed where concerns are raised. It should be stressed that not all matters result in formal intervention by the Police, and indeed those that do, do not automatically progress beyond an initial interview on to formal prosecution.

However, in the event that an issue arises please access the Interview Under Caution FAQ’s

Your FosterTalk membership offers you a wide range of advice and support if you are unfortunate enough to be the subject of an allegation. This includes: legal advice (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) arrest and interview support from a qualified solicitor if you need to attend for a police interview, legal expenses insurance to cover your defence costs if necessary, a 24 hour counselling helpline and advice and support from qualified social workers on our fostering helpline.

For further membership information please click here >

FosterTalk also offers face to face support to foster carers via our Foster Carers Independent Support Service as required by national minimum standards in England and Wales and good practice guidance in Scotland.  Please make an enquiry if you feel you would benefit from this service.

See our Allegations Flow Chart here to understand the process >