However much guidance is developed and procedures made clearer, dealing with concerns about the well-being or safety of looked-after children placed with foster carers or approved kinship carers will always provoke anxieties for all involved. Fostering agencies will be concerned that they have selected as carers people who may have caused harm to the child. Carers will have felt under suspicion, that they were not trusted and will need a lot of reassurance to continue as carers for other children. For the child, ongoing support and opportunities to talk about events whether the concerns are substantiated or are found to be unsubstantiated will be important. If a legal process follows then the support for the child and for carers needs to be sustained through that process and beyond.
Putting the safety and wellbeing of the child first, understanding the special context for looked-after children placed with foster or approved kinship carers, working in close partnership with agencies which are part of the Child Protection Committee and treating the carers with respect throughout should help to achieve a proportionate response to any concerns raised.
References, legislation and guidance
Calder, M.C, McKinnon, M and Sneddon, R, (2012) National Risk Framework to Support the Assessment of Children and Young People, The Scottish Government
HMSO (2009), Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009, The Stationery Office
HMSO (1995) The Children (Scotland) Act 1995, HMSO/The Stationery Office
Scottish Executive (2005) National Care Standards: foster care and family placement services, The Scottish Executive
Scottish Government, (2010), National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2010, The Scottish Government
Email: Heather Brown
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