Foster carer medical reports
In recent years fostering services have increasingly expressed concern about the difficulties with the system of obtaining health information about prospective foster carers. In response to this issue CoramBAAF, The Fostering Network and the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers (NAFP) jointly surveyed their fostering service members in England to understand more about the issue and its wider impact on fostering. The survey (completed pre-Covid pandemic) focused on England but through member engagement it is understood that fostering services in other parts of the UK can experience similar issues.
With record numbers of children in care and around 13 per cent of the foster carer workforce retiring or leaving every year, fostering services across the UK need to recruit thousands of new foster families each year.
Fostering services work all year round to find and recruit the foster carers they need locally to look after these children. Without enough foster families willing and able to offer homes some children will find themselves living a long way from family, school, and friends and being split up from brothers and sisters. Therefore, it is vitally important that the assessment process of prospective foster carers is as smooth as possible. The current issues being experienced by fostering services around the delay in obtaining foster carer medicals directly impacts on the recruitment of foster carers.
The survey (completed pre-Covid pandemic) covered both initial foster carer medicals as part of the recruitment process as well as ongoing medicals throughout the foster carer’s approval. It received 158 responses in total, comprising of 92 independent fostering providers (IFPs) and 63 local authorities/children’s trusts (LAs). Following consideration of the findings by The Fostering Network, CoramBAAF and NAFP, a set of joint recommendations and next steps have been agreed which are designed to address the key issues identified.