Agenda item

Implementation of a Foster Carer Charter


The Team Manager – Kinship Care and Permanence submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to provide the Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting with an update into the development of a Foster Carer Charter for Bridgend Fostering Service and to approve the adoption and implementation of the Charter on behalf of the Council as Corporate Parents.


She explained that as part of Bridgend Fostering Service’s Service Development Plan for 2022/23, a questionnaire was developed in conjunction with liaison foster carers and sent to all foster carers asking them a range of questions. The questions included how satisfied foster carers are with the Service, what is working well and areas for improvement.


Feedback received in relation to the questionnaire, was contained in the background section of the report.


In addition to the above, a State of the Nation survey undertaken by The Fostering Network in 2021, highlighted that both foster carers and fostering services agree that improving the status of foster carers in the team around the child is the number one thing that will change children’s experience of foster care for the better, going forward.   


Furthermore, advised the Team Manager – Kinship Care and Permanence, since 2011, the Fostering Network has been campaigning for every fostering service to commit to a Foster Carers’ Charter, setting out clear expectations for how foster carers should be treated, trained and supported which is agreed by the Corporate Parents, fostering service and foster carers. A Charter can also assist in helping to build understanding between those involved in delivering care to children, promoting more cohesive working in the team around the child and improving experiences and outcomes for children in care.


The Foster Carers’ Charter supports local authorities’ responsibilities as Corporate Parents and sets out a framework of rights and expectations for foster carers. It sets out mutual roles and responsibilities, which are ‘owned’ by both foster carers and the fostering service. It covers issues such as supervision, involvement in planning and decision making, information and payments.


In order to address some of the areas for improvement identified within the Foster Carer feedback and to improve the status of foster carers, it was proposed that Bridgend County Borough Council implements a Foster Carer Charter (attached at Appendix 1 to the report) in line with the work and recommendations of The Fostering Network following their State of the Nation report in 2021.


The proposed Charter sets out Bridgend Fostering Service’s Vision Statement (launched with our Foster Carers at the Information, Consultation and Engagement (ICE) Event on 19th May 2022


She added that the Charter sets out the following commitment:


‘The Foster Carers’ Charter represents a commitment on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Council in its role as the Corporate Parent, the fostering service and the foster carer to work in partnership in the best interests of the children for whom they care. It is a promise, owned by everybody involved, to always strive for best practice.’


The proposed Charter was shared with foster carers at the ICE meeting on 19 May 2022, providing opportunity for discussion amongst carers and feedback.  Overall, the proposal and Charter were well-received by those attending and agreement that establishing this within Bridgend County Borough Council would assist in raising the status of foster carers.


The Team Manager – Kinship Care and Permanence stated, that if the proposal and Charter are accepted by the Cabinet Committee, the next steps would be the development of an Implementation Plan which will include a self-assessment for Councillors and Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) Officers and Foster Carers, which would in turn, establish a baseline and set out the actions to be taken to improve on this baseline.


A Member commended the Charter and its content, including the Provide for Sport initiative which he thought was excellent. He also felt that it was important to acknowledge within the document, praise for children who were involved in Foster Caring and the Charter also recognised this.


The Chairperson echoed these sentiments, adding that she was proud to confirm that BCBC was the first local authority in Wales to introduce the Foster Carers Charter.


The Leader concluded debate by stating that it would be helpful to receive a further report in due course, on how the Charter and its aims and objectives, were progressing.


RESOLVED:                               That the Committee noted the information contained within the report and approved the adoption and implementation of the Foster Carer Charter on behalf of the Council as Corporate Parents.


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