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4.2.4 Supervision of Foster Placements

Please see relevant section of Forms Library to access the required template.

See also Transfer of Foster Carers Protocol England (2014).


  1. Placement Supervision Requirements
  2. Placement Supervision Procedure

1. Placement Supervision Requirements

  1. Regulation 35 provides a framework of requirements, including visits, for the social worker's task of supervising the placement and working with the child and foster carer towards the objective of the placement and the achievement of the plan for the child. These visits are separate to any visit for the purpose of reviewing approval of the foster carer. The requirements for supervision are:
    • Visits: the child must be seen at each visit. (Where a visit is made to discuss the foster carer's need for support or a visit is made at the foster carer's request it may not be appropriate to see the child at that time. Such visits, when the child is not seen, fall outside the pattern of visits required in Regulation 35);
    • Advice and assistance to the foster carers;
    • Reviews of the plan for the child (see Looked After Reviews Procedure).
  2. Minimum requirements regarding supervisory visits are as follows:
    • Within one week of placement;
    • At least every 6 weeks during the first year of placement;
    • Thereafter, at intervals of not more than 6 weeks, or 3 months if the placement is intended to last until the child is 18;
    • Weekly if placed under emergency arrangements (see Placements with Family, Friends and other Connected Persons Procedure);
    • Whenever reasonably requested by the child or foster carer;
    • As the circumstances of the case determine.
  3. Visiting the child has a number of purposes including:
    • A measure of child protection; to talk to the child, to safeguard and reassure the child who may feel isolated and vulnerable and who is away from friends and family. The standard of care should be observed and the child's bedroom seen. Some visits should be unannounced, in order to provide a balanced perspective of the quality of life in the foster home. Visits should occasionally take place when all the members of the household are at home. The child should sometimes be seen alone, perhaps outside of the foster home;
    • An opportunity to evaluate and monitor the achievement of goals, with the child and foster care, and to contribute to the review of the plan, to monitor, with the help of the foster carer, the child's educational progress and generally to identify where help is needed;
    • Monitoring the contact arrangements;
    • To give support to the foster carer.

Visits should not be neglected because a placement is going well. An ongoing review of the plan for the child requires that visits take place at least at the frequency the regulations require. The social worker will not be equipped to identify and help with pending difficulties if no care has been taken to establish a relationship with a child and foster carer. Nor will it be possible otherwise to assess fully the long-term situation. If, for example in a long-term placement, visits and support seem genuinely superfluous and parents are no longer involved with the child, the case for a Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardianship Order could be considered.

There are some circumstances where visits in excess of the minimum frequency will be especially necessary, for example if the role of the child's parents is changing or the child's needs have changed.

2. Placement Supervision Procedure

The designated social worker must supervise the placement in accordance with the requirements specified above.

The social worker should make arrangements, so far as is practicable and appropriate to see the child alone regularly. The child must be seen on every visit.

After each statutory visit, the social worker should complete a written report and send a copy to any local authority involved.

The social worker should encourage both the child and the foster carer to get in touch with the social worker at any time.