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3.8.8 Supervision of Foster Carers


This procedure applies to all approved foster carers including those who are approved as a Connected Person. See Placements with Connected Person Under Regulation 24 Procedure.


This chapter was updated in June 2017 to include, (along with Health and Safety and practical reasons) the addition of any new pets and the environment in which they are kept. (See Section 3, Agenda).


  1. Frequency
  2. Purpose
  3. Agenda
  4. Recording
  5. Unannounced Visits

1. Frequency

Each approved foster carer is linked to a named supervising social worker, who will meet with the foster carer on a fortnightly basis for the first 2 months after approval has been given. Subsequently, the supervising social worker will provide supervision bi-monthly with additional monthly visits in between supervision meetings where there are children in placement. These visits should also reflect the child's Care Plan. In some circumstances for example, where the carers provide only occasional respite, visiting may be varied from this usual expectation in agreement with the supervising social workers line manager and the carers. In these circumstances the agreed visiting pattern and the reasons must be recorded on the carers' record.

If the Supervising social Worker is unable to meet the visiting requirements he/she must inform the Fostering Team Manager. In the event of the supervising social worker being away from work long term, then alternative supervision arrangements must be put in place.

If a foster carer is taking an agreed break from fostering, telephone contact should be maintained at an agreed level. Depending upon the circumstances a visit should be made to the foster carer before further placements are made and consideration given to any need for re-assessment.

Where there are two approved carers in the family it is important that, where possible both carers are seen. In situations where one carer works, consideration should be given to how a supervisory visit that includes both carers can be achieved.

2. Purpose

The supervising social worker will aim to ensure through supervision that the foster carer is aware of, understands, accepts and operates the standards, policies, procedures and guidance of Children's Social Care Department as contained in this Manual and the Foster Carer's Handbook. Each supervision meeting will have a clear purpose and agenda. The content of the supervisory discussions should be used in the preparation of the foster carers' Annual Review. See: Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carers Procedure

3. Agenda

Supervision is a positive, enabling and supportive opportunity for foster carers and should help them to have:

  1. Their strengths and weaknesses recognised and developed;
  2. Their skills and potential enhanced;
  3. Their relationship with the local authority enhanced;
  4. Their performance positively challenged and managed.

The supervision agenda will include:

  1. The records that are kept in relation to the child including the child's records and whether or not they need to be updated. There will also be a discussion about the foster carer's recording and log book, incidents accidents etc;
  2. An overview of the child/ren's progress in placement. This will include a discussion regarding: health and physical needs; education and educational support; family contact; the child's cultural, religious identity and leisure needs;
  3. Observations of the child and behaviour management techniques and strategies including an exploration of the foster carer's understanding of the meaning of the child's behaviour. In relation to a child placed who has a disability; any special issues that relate to these needs and the carer's capability to meet them. This might include a discussion about additional support and respite services;
  4. Any fostering household issues including safer caring techniques and child protection issues. Concerns of any kind should be addresses immediately with foster carer's. Documented opportunities including training, with clear objectives should be put in place for foster carer's to improve and outcomes recorded. If, however, the quality of care remains unchanged, the foster carer's suitability to foster may be questioned. In this circumstance, the supervising social worker should discuss with their manager proceeding with a review of approval;
  5. Any personal issues such as how a placement is affecting the household or foster carer's family;
  6. Who is involved in caring for the child. If there has been a change to the caring arrangements the supervising social worker should ensure that the necessary checks have been carried out and consideration given to the extent of the caring role and whether any assessment is required;
  7. An assessment of the training and development needs of the foster carer and the identification of suitable ways of meeting those needs including the foster carer's responsibility for their own development. (See GOV.UK TSD standards workbook for foster carers). The supervising social worker will pass on information about support and training events linked to National Minimum Standards;
  8. Completion of any personal development plans, which are linked to their training and their annual review;
  9. Any health and safety issues and financial and practical arrangements, including the addition of any new pets and the environment in which they are kept;
  10. The date for the next supervision.

4. Recording

Records of the supervisory meetings will be kept by the supervising social worker and retained on the foster carer's case record. This should include details of who was seen during each session.

Supervising Social Workers should use the Supervision Recording Form. A copy will also be sent to the foster carer.

The supervising social worker will also sign the records kept by the foster carer and indicate on the records the date when they were reviewed.

5. Unannounced Visits

The supervising social worker will also monitor and evaluate the performance of the foster carer by carrying out unannounced visits at least annually. After such a visit, the supervising social worker will provide a written report to the foster carer, a copy of which will be placed on the foster carer's case record. The report should detail who was present in the home, positive observations and any areas of concern. This will also be addressed during the next available supervision.