Allegations of Abuse against Foster Carers

The Department will ensure that any allegations made against foster carers are fully investigated following the complaints and child protection procedures as appropriate.

Policy Status

Practice is based on and informed by best practice guidance from the United Kingdom jurisdictions including:

Key Points


o        Team Managers inform respective Service Managers.


o        Service Manager, Corporate Parenting informs Assistant Director, Children and Maternity Services


o        The Assistant Director will inform the Director, Children and Maternity Services



Investigations into Allegations of Abuse

Following the strategy discussion if the independent Service Manager/Team Manager confirms that an investigation is required, then such an investigation should be conducted as agreed during the strategy discussion.

Where it has been decided that a full investigation is necessary, a strategy discussion will have included consideration of:

a)    Whether there are any reasons for asking another agency to investigate.

b)    Who will investigate.

c)    Who should be interviewed and where the interview should take place.

d)    Whether the child and any other children should remain in the placement whilst the investigation takes place.

e)    How the investigation process will be recorded and who will receive copies.

f)     How the child's parent(s) will be informed.

g)    How previous history of the child and foster carers will be collated.

h)   Gathering information about the context of previous allegations made by the child or allegations made against any person within the foster home concerning current or previous placements.

i)     The process and outcome of any previous enquiry or investigations about any person within the foster home or allegations made by the child.

j)     Details of the investigation process and plan for informing foster carers and those with PR about the decisions of the meeting and process of the investigation, verbally and in writing.

k)    Arrangements for considering the outcome of the investigation.

During an investigation, a decision will need to be made as to whether there are grounds for interviewing any children who have previously lived in the foster home.

When the investigation is complete, a written report should be submitted by the investigating Social Worker to their Team Manager and Service Manager and the Service Manager, Corporate Parenting.

The Service Manager, Corporate Parenting will ensure that this information has also been shared with the Child  Social Worker Team Manager, Child's Social Worker, Family Placement Service Manager, Supervising Social Worker, Service Manager Assessment and Youth, Assistant Director and Director.

A child in foster care should not automatically be removed following an allegation of abuse. Removal is, however, always necessary where the child is considered to be at risk of suffering significant harm. The prime purpose of any investigation is to protect children within the household in accordance with the child protection procedures and to progress the investigation of possible criminal offences.

Following the investigation and agreement of the staff identified, the investigating Social Worker will inform the foster carers of the outcome of the investigation and provide them with a written report regarding the allegations, investigation report's conclusions and outcome.

A Foster Care Review will be conducted, chaired by an independent chairperson. The Supervising Social Worker will submit a report to the Review and a copy will be sent to the foster carers. The independent chair will prepare a Summary Report for the Panel with recommendations about the foster carer's suitability and competence to foster, any variations in the terms of their approval, any need for further training and development or support they may require and any learning for the carer and the Department. A copy will be sent to the foster carers. The Supervising Social Worker will present their reports and outcome to the next available Fostering Panel or Adoption and Permanence Panel as appropriate. Foster carers will be invited to contribute their views in writing to the Review and to attend the Review and Panel.

Review reports and Minutes of Panel will be sent to the Assistant Director and Service Manager, Corporate Parenting by the Team Manager, Family Placement Service for their information.

If the foster carer submits their resignation during the investigation or Review their approval will be terminated after 28 days. The Panel cannot make a recommendation but will consider the Review and minute the recommendation they would have made had the carer not attended.

Where a child has been removed as a result of an allegation of abuse, and the foster carers are being paid a fee in respect of that child, the fee will continue to be paid until a formal decision has been taken that the child will not return. Any such decision must be notified immediately to the foster carers in writing by the Family Placement Service Manager.

 The Supervising Social Worker Role

 Within these procedures, the primary duty of the Department is to address the welfare and safety of children in foster care and any other child in the household. There is also a responsibility to any foster carers against whom allegations of abuse have been made.

It is the role of the Supervising Social Worker to provide any appropriate support to a foster carer who is the subject of an allegation.


The Supervising Social Worker has a duty to ensure that carers understand child protection procedures and that this includes: 

The Supervising Social Worker should ensure that carers and children placed with them have, for the purposes of referring any concern about child welfare or safety, the address (including email address), and telephone number of the team responsible for investigating child protection referrals (if they live out of Guernsey or Alderney this should be a child protection team for their area authority).

 While the Supervising Social Worker's role is one of support and guidance, he/she is a member of staff of the Department and is not in a position to advocate on behalf of the carer. The Supervising Social Worker must be clear with the foster carer that they cannot keep information confidential which is relevant to any enquiry or investigation and this must be shared with the investigating Social Worker. In addition, the Supervising Social Worker may have information which cannot be shared with the foster carer.

It is the role of the Supervising Social Worker to advise carers with regard to where and how the carer can access independent advice, advocacy and support during investigation against them. This may include support via foster care membership of The Fostering Network (legal advice and helpline) and the Guernsey Foster Care and Adoption Association. The Supervising social worker should ensure that the carers have a copy of the procedure on allegations against foster carers.

The Supervising Social Worker or the Team Manager of the Family Placement Service should normally be responsible for communication with the foster carer about the decisions of the strategy meeting (unless there are restrictions imposed by the Police or due to timing of interviews) and information regarding the process and interviews including when, where and by whom interviews will be conducted.

When a Supervising Social Worker receives information that could constitute child abuse it is not their role to investigate the matter. The information should be immediately passed on to the Team Manager responsible for the supervision of the child and the Family Placement Service Manager.

It is the role of the Supervising Social Worker to support carers to ensure their homes are free of avoidable hazards and that they follow a sound Safer Caring Policy within their family.

It is the Supervising Social Worker's duty to make at least one unannounced visit to the foster home annually as a check on the standard of care provided. The Supervising Social Worker along with the Child's Social Worker should check that the carer provides children placed with an opportunity to report concerns and contact their Social Worker or another appropriate person i.e. via phone calls in private or access to appropriate websites for help and advice.

Following investigation of an allegation consideration will be given to the measures necessary to protect children placed with the foster carer. The Supervising Social Worker will ensure that these measures are applied and reflected in the carer's Safer Caring Policy.

The Supervising Social Worker shall conduct a review of the foster carer following any allegation or complaint or concern regarding conduct or standard of care by the foster carer and this will be presented to the Fostering Panel or Adoption and Permanence Panel as appropriate. The foster carer's approval may be terminated in circumstances where there are concerns regarding the welfare or safety of a child in their care.


 A summary of any allegations made against foster carers, together with a summary of the enquiry or investigation and decisions made and a copy of all documentation should be placed on the foster carer's file. A copy of the reports for the Foster Care Review and the Summary Report will also be placed on file together with Minutes of the Panel and decision

The foster carers should have a copy of the Review reports, summary and findings concerning any allegations against them.

The record will be retained in line with the HSSD Policy Retention and Destruction of Records.

The allegation and outcome will be added to the chronology on the carers contact record on file.




Responsible officer

Record required


Performance standard


Where complaint or allegation is made against Foster Carer or member of household pass on the information to the Child Social Worker's Team Manager and Family Placement Service Team Manager.

Child's Social Worker (CSW)/

Family Placement Service  Supervising Social Worker(SSW)

Carer contact record

Child's file

Immediately on receipt of complaint


Team Managers refer information to respective Service Managers .The Team Managers make a recommendation to Service Managers as to whether incident response should be inappropriate care referral or child protection referral. Service Manager makes decision.

Team Manager

 Supervising child and Family Placement Service Manager (FPS TM)

Service Managers A&Y and CP

Carer's contact record

Child's file



If decision is to treat the incident as abuse, then refer to Child Protection Procedures.

Team Manager Investigating Team

Carer's contact record

Child's file



If decision is to treat as child protection, provide appropriate support to foster carer



Carer's contact record

Child's file



If complaint does not warrant investigation under child protection procedures it will be considered as inappropriate care or under the Departments complaints procedure.



Team Manager   Supervising child


Carer's contact record

Child's file



If decision to treat as inappropriate care agree action plan and implement

Service Manager CP

Team Manager  Supervising child




Carer's contact record

Child's file

Within 15 days of agreed plan


Undertake Review of foster carer as appropriate and present to appropriate panel for recommendation or for information as necessary


Carer's contact record

Panel Minutes

Next available Panel following review


Where it is immediately apparent that the allegation is unfounded or malicious the matter to be resolved quickly. Panel to be update with Report at next Panel .



Carer's contact record

Child's file

Within one week