Foster care placements can last for a few days or a longer period of time depending on your child's needs. A foster care placement is a way of giving your child a safe and secure place to live within a family environment, while you or they resolve any difficulties. Foster carers will try and make sure that, wherever possible, your child's routine is followed and will aim to work alongside you.
Foster carers come from different walks of life and backgrounds and have been assessed and trained to care for children and young people in their own homes.
Before a child is placed with a foster carer we will try our best to 'match' your child's needs with a suitable carer. This means finding carers who can provide care which relates to your child's age, geographical home base and school. Whenever possible we will arrange meetings and visits before a placement.
As a parent you will, wherever possible have the opportunity to meet your child's foster carers. You will be encouraged to work alongside the foster carer in supporting your child. This may mean attending medical appointments and parents evenings and attending meetings that relate to your child's needs. How much you are involved will be agreed between your child's social worker and yourselves. You still have certain responsibilities, for example in agreeing to specific medical procedures.
The only time when such things will not be possible is where your child's care plan or the court has outlined or stated otherwise.
Making sure your child is well cared for
Foster carers are not employed by Lancashire County Council. However, they work alongside social care professionals. Every child in foster care will have a social worker who will visit them and see them on their own. Your child's social worker will check their bedroom and ensure they are being looked after properly.
All of our foster carers receive a thorough assessment and training before they can foster children. As part of the assessment carers are checked with the Police, Health, Education, the NSPCC and Probation.
We make sure foster carers know what is expected of them and we expect that they will:
- Have a safe, warm and comfortable house. Children will have their own bedroom, or if they are siblings, they may share with their own brothers and sisters. They will always have their own bed and somewhere to store their personal possessions.
- Work in partnership with birth parents; talking with parents about how their children's needs can be met and about major decisions to be made about the children.
- Help children to keep contact with their families. As a parent, it is important for you to keep in contact with your child, provided this is part of his or her care plan.
- Help children with school and things such as their homework.
- Help children to meet their religious or cultural needs.
- Help and support children with their hobbies and interests.
- Ensure children go for health, eye and dental checks when needed.
- Ensure children eat healthily with a balanced diet.
- Ensure children are well clothed with clean and suitably sized clothing.
- Share relevant information with the children's social worker. Foster carers are expected to tell the social worker everything important that relates to your child's care or future care.
- Spend time with each individual child and young person to find out how they are and to help with any problems they may have.
If you are not happy about something you should always talk to your child's social worker. You should have been given their contact number and the number of the office. There are sometimes small things that people are not happy with and can find annoying. These can be things such as bedtimes, diet, clothing or toys.
If you have tried talking to the social worker and you do not feel it has worked, ask to speak to the social worker's manager.
Advocates can help you to make a complaint either by supporting and advising you or speaking on your behalf. There are a variety of schemes in Lancashire and their services are independent, confidential and free.
Lancashire Advocacy can provide you with information on advocacy schemes in your area. You could also ask a friend or relative to help you to make a complaint. If you need an interpreter, a translator or special communication aids to help in sorting out your complaint, we will arrange it.
For more information about making a complaint please refer to our complaints procedure.
Parents also have the right to complain direct to Ofsted who have responsibility for inspecting and ensuring high quality foster services.
If you don't know the number for your child's social worker, please call us on 0300 123 6701 and one of our customer service officers will transfer you.
Out of hours
The emergency duty team can be contacted about any urgent social care need that occurs outside our usual office hours:
Tel: 0300 123 6720
Minicom: 01772 536 702
If you don't know the number for your child's social worker, please call us on 0300 123 6701.
Out of hours
The Emergency Duty Team can be contacted about any urgent social care need that occurs outside our usual office hours.
0300 123 6720