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OxfordshireChildren's Services Procedures Manual

Foster Carer Records: Purpose, Format and Content


  1. Records Kept by Supervising Social Workers
  2. Content
    1. Key Information
    2. Record of Placements
    3. Contact Sheets
    4. Supervision Records
    5. Correspondence
    6. Fostering Assessment Documentation
    7. Foster Carer Agreement
    8. Annual Review Documentation
    9. Training and Development Records
    10. Safeguarding Checks and References
    11. Allegations, Complaints, Standards of Care
    12. Finance Records
  3. Connected Persons
  4. Confidentiality and Storage of Records
  5. Retention of Records
  6. Foster Carers Own Recording
  7. Sharing Information on Foster Carers Who Move to Other Fostering Agencies

1. Records Kept by Supervising Social Workers

Supervising social workers must make sure that an individual case record is kept for every approved foster carer household. Case records are held on Fwi. There is no requirement to keep a paper file as long as all information is uploaded, including scanned copies of all documents containing signatures.

2. Content

2.1 Key Information

2.2 Record of Placements

A record of each placement with the foster carer, details of each child placed including name, age and gender, the dates on which each placement began and ended and the reasons why the placement ended.

2.3 Contact Sheets

Including contact/log sheets, home visit reports, unannounced visit reports

2.4 Supervision Records

  • Signed records of the supervising social worker's supervision sessions with the foster carer;
  • Signed records of any decisions affecting the foster carer that were made in the supervising social worker's supervision;
  • Any other management discussions/decisions.

2.5 Correspondence

2.6 Fostering Assessment Documentation

  • Expression of interest and application forms;
  • Initial assessment, including all information obtained in relation to the assessment;
  • The assessment of the applicant's suitability to be a foster carer, which has been submitted to the fostering panel, including the fostering provider's proposal about terms of approval [1];
  • Updates to assessment reports;
  • Fostering Panel minutes;
  • Qualifying determinations and IRM recommendations relating to initial assessment;
  • Decision maker's decision sheets;
  • Notice of approval letter to foster carers.

2.7 Foster Carer Agreement

2.8 Annual Review Documentation

  • Annual reviews, including all information obtained in relation to reviews (e.g. feedback from foster carers, carer's own children, children or young people in placement and child's social worker);
  • Panel recommendations, where appropriate;
  • Qualifying determinations and IRM recommendations relating to reviews of approval and terms;
  • Change in approval notifications.

2.9 Training and Development Records

  • Training undertaken;
  • Personal development plan;
  • Confirmation of evidencing TSD standards.

2.10 Safeguarding Checks and References

Including health and safety checklists, pet questionnaires, Safe caring policy etc.

2.11 Allegations, Complaints, Standards of Care

  • A clear and comprehensive summary of any allegations made against a member of the fostering household including details of how the allegation was followed up and resolved, a record of any action taken and the decisions reached (NMS 22.7);
  • Copies of information provided to foster carers

2.12 Finance Records

3. Connected Persons

In the case of a connected person who has temporary approval as a foster carer, the same information should be recorded so far as this is possible, but given that the full fostering assessment will not have been completed there will be more limited documentation at this stage. However supervising social workers must maintain a case record for each temporarily approved foster carer that should as a minimum include:

  • A record in relation to each child placed, including the name, age and sex of each child placed, the date on which the placement began and, if the placement has been terminated, the date and circumstances of the termination;
  • The information obtained in relation to the enquiries carried out under regulation 24(2) of the care planning regulations and covered in Schedule 4, so far as these have been completed;
  • The nominated officer's written agreement to temporary approval of the connected person as a foster carer;
  • A copy of the signed foster carer agreement;
  • Contact and supervision records up to the current date.

4. Confidentiality and Storage of Records

All information provided about a child who is or has been placed with a foster carer is confidential. This applies equally to information given as part of a written record, passed electronically or given verbally during meetings and discussions concerning the child or family. In the same way all information collected by a foster carer, in whatever form, about a child they are looking after, or have looked after, is confidential.

The basic principle of confidentiality is that personal or confidential information about a child, young person or their family should only be provided to another person if it is for the purpose of the child or young person's protection or welfare. When confidential information is disclosed to someone who has a need to know, that information must be restricted to the information they need. Supervising social workers must advise foster carers that where there is doubt about a person's need for knowledge, advice should be sought from them before any information is disclosed.

If information about children and foster carers is to be sent externally via e mail this should be done via Egress to ensure confidentiality.

5. Retention of Records

Records for approved carers will be kept for 25 years from the date that the foster carer's approval has been terminated. Records relating to people who do not go on to be approved as foster carers will be kept for at least 3 years. Please refer to file retention policy.

6. Foster Carers Own Recording

Please refer to Recording policy for foster carers.

7. Sharing Information on Foster Carers Who Move to Other Fostering Agencies

Regulation 32(6) of the 2011 Fostering regulations requires fostering services to share information to support the assessment of a person's suitability to foster if requested by the fostering service undertaking the assessment. Any request for info should be accompanied by the written consent of the applicant to the sharing of their information.

On receiving the request, we should

  • Acknowledge within two working days;
  • Seek consent from others referred to in the information within 5 working days;
  • Provide the information - with anything taken out that needs to be - within 15 working days (i.e. 3 weeks).

We are required to share the following information:

  • The report of the original assessment of the person's suitability to foster or adopt (if it is considered by the body requesting the information to be recent enough to be relevant);
  • A copy of the report of the last review of the individual's continuing suitability to foster or adopt and any other review report considered useful to understanding the person's current suitability to foster or adopt;
  • Details of any concerns about standards of practice and what if anything is being done/has been done to address them;
  • Details of allegations made against the foster carer/adopter or their household members (taking into account guidance at paragraph 3.79 of the Children Act 1989 Guidance, Volume 4: Fostering Services - this relates to unfounded, malicious allegations that should not be included); and
  • Any other information considered to be relevant to the assessment of the person's suitability to foster/adopt.  
[1] The requirements for foster carer assessments are covered in Regulation 26(2) Schedule 3 of The Fostering Services Regulations 2011. In addition the assessment is required to include any other information that the fostering provider considers relevant to the assessment of the foster carer.