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3.11.13 Child and Parent Assessment Placement


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Criteria for Child and Parent Assessment Placement Foster Carers
  3. Additional Assessment Criteria for Child and Parent Assessment Foster Carers
  4. Criteria for Acceptance of Referrals for Placement
  5. Allowances and Fee Payments
  6. Additional Issues
  7. Training
  8. Work Post Assessment


1. Introduction

A local authority sometimes wishes to commission an assessment of a parent’s ability to safeguard and promote the welfare of his or her child, to inform its decision making about the provision of support services or intervention through care proceedings. Sometimes the court will request such an assessment within the framework of care proceedings. Most commonly these are arrangements for mothers and their babies.

Residential assessments may take place in residential family centres. A Residential family centre is an establishment where:

  • Accommodation is provided for a child and their parents;
  • The parents' capacity to respond to the child's needs and safeguard their welfare is monitored and assessed; and
  • Parents are given such advice, guidance or counselling as is considered necessary.

An increasingly common alternative to assessment in a residential family centre is the arrangement whereby children and their parents live with foster carers for the purposes of assessment. A foster carer’s household is not an establishment, and so cannot be regarded as a residential family centre.

The sections below set out the different scenarios whereby arrangements may be made for a parent (or parents) and their child (or children) to live with foster carers for the purposes of an assessment. A foster carer is a person who has undergone checks and an assessment and has been approved as a foster parent by a local authority or an independent fostering provider.

1.1 A voluntary arrangement by the local authority where the child is not looked after

Where a local authority wish to assess a parent's parenting capacity in the context of support provided to the child/family under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 or pre care proceedings, this would need to be with the agreement of the parent. The local authority may decide to make an arrangement with the family to live with a local authority foster carer to make the assessment, rather than to make use of a residential family centre.

Since in this case the child is not looked after by the local authority, none of the provisions of the Children Act 1989 relating to looked after children will apply, and the foster carer will not be acting in their capacity as a foster carer under the Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011. In such a case the local authority will need to be satisfied that the arrangement is appropriate, in the sense that the foster carers have the necessary skills to participate in the assessment, and will not place at risk the welfare of any foster child who is placed in the household.

1.2 A voluntary placement by the local authority where the child is looked after

In a situation where the child is looked after and the parents are 18 or older, the provisions relating to looked after children will apply in relation to the child only. The child will be placed with the foster carer under section 22 of the Children Act 1989, and the responsible authority will be under a duty to make the most appropriate placement available for both the parent and child. In making the placement it will therefore need to consider the skills and capacity of the foster carer, notwithstanding that the assessment of the parent’s ability is not covered by the 2011 Regulations.

Although the child will be fostered by the foster carer, the child’s parent or parents will also be living with the child in the foster carer's household. As the parent will not be a looked after child, the provisions in respect of looked after children will not apply to them, regardless of whether the parent is under 18 or is older or has previously been a looked after child.

In these circumstances the parent will still hold parental responsibility in respect of their child, and be living in the same household as the child’s foster carer. It will therefore be vital that respective roles and arrangements for delegated authority are clarified when the arrangements are being made. These must be set out in the placement plan. The foster carer’s task in relation to undertaking an assessment of the parent’s capabilities will not be governed by the 2011 Regulations, but will be closely aligned with their responsibilities towards the looked after child.

The fostering service and the responsible authority will need to satisfy themselves that the proposed arrangements will not impact unduly on the foster carer’s responsibilities towards other children. Any necessary support should be provided to enable the arrangements to succeed. As with any placement when another child is already placed with the foster carer, the responsible authority for that child would need to agree to the new arrangements.

For the purposes of the 2011 Regulations, a parent living with a foster carer in the above circumstances is a member of the foster carer’s household. The fostering service’s safeguarding policy must include a statement of measures to be taken to safeguard children placed with foster carers before any arrangements are made for a parent and child to join the household. The 2011 Regulations allow for DBS checks to be obtained but there is no requirement for these to be undertaken as a prerequisite to the individual joining the household (regulation 26 and 28(3)).

1.3 A voluntary placement by the local authority where both the child and parent are looked after

Where both the child and the parent are looked after the provisions relating to looked after children will apply to both. The duties in relation to section 22 of the 1989 Act, as outlined in paragraph 8, will apply in respect of the placements of both the child and the parent.

1.4 An arrangement directed by the courts where the child is looked after

Where care proceedings are in progress, the court may require an assessment of the child and their parents.

If the child is subject to an interim care order under section 38(6) and the court directs a parenting assessment but leaves it up to the local authority how that assessment is organised, the local authority may decide that the parent and child will live with a foster carer for the purpose. This will be a placement of a looked after child by the local authority and so the placement will be governed by the 2011 Regulations.

Even if the court directs that an assessment be made by a foster carer, the placement will still be a local authority placement and the 2011 Regulations will apply.

The usual fostering limit - The usual fostering limit applies to the placement of looked after children, and so a parent who is living in a parent and child arrangement with a foster carer does not count towards that limit unless he or she is themselves a looked after child. However, the impact of the parent being within the household must be taken into account in considering the placement of any looked after children.


2. Criteria for Child and Parent Assessment Placement Foster Carers

These criteria are in addition to the eligibility criteria the Fostering Policy and apply specifically to Child / Parent foster carers:

  • Carers must be able to demonstrate that they have the knowledge, skills and values outlined in the Fostering BAAF assessment and that they adequately meet all other PFS Level 4 fostering requirements;
  • There are additional competencies and specific to child and parent fostering, which approved foster carers will need to evidence that they can meet;
  • Carers need to have sufficient physical space to accommodate a parent with their child on a residential or non-residential (subject to approval) basis;
  • They also need to have the availability to undertake intense pieces of assessment work. Residential assessments are a constant process with the child and their parent being in the foster home for the majority of the time. This will have implications for all members of the fostering household, and also for extended family members;
  • For child and parent carers, their home is their workplace and they need to be available to focus on the fostering task. It would not generally be appropriate to approve carers for this type of fostering who have young dependent children (under the age of 10 years);
  • In exceptional circumstances, where carers with young children are in a partnership and both are available as full-time scheme carers, then it may be possible to undertake one parent and child assessment, subject to satisfactory assessment and ongoing review;
  • Carers can be approved for one child and parent placement and respite/holiday cover;
  • Because of the unique nature of child and parent fostering, it is not generally appropriate for carers to simultaneously undertake alternative fostering tasks. However, it may be appropriate to undertake certain tasks such as peer mentoring, delivering training, babies born substance dependent, in line with Payment for Skills ‘tasks, skills and competencies’ framework for level 4 carers;
  • In the unlikely event of a carer not having a child and parent in placement, it may be possible for them to undertake other time limited pieces of fostering work, e.g. babies born substance dependent, mentoring and training, subject to negotiation and agreement with the PCW;
  • Carers are level 4 carers who are entitled to 28 days holiday each year. They are encouraged where possible, to offer holiday/respite cover to other carers, however, child and parent carers should endeavour to take their holidays in-between assessments;
  • Child and parent fostering households must be non-smoking in accordance with BAAF guidance.


3. Additional Assessment Criteria for Child and Parent Assessment Foster Carers

UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLES AND VALUES ESSENTIAL FOR FOSTERING CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE / UNDERSTAND YOUR ROLE AS A FOSTER CARER / UNDERSTAND THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

  1. An ability to provide a good standard of care to other people’s children which promotes healthy, emotional, physical and sexual development as well as their health and educational achievement:
    • What do carers understand about the term “Good enough parenting “and how do they link this with their own experiences and standards?
    • How will carers manage the needs of child and parent when they are both children?
    • Are they able to ensure that the child remains the paramount concern at all times?
    • Do carers have a good understanding of available support systems e.g. Teenage Pregnancy Midwife, Include, Children’s Centres etc?
    • Where do they see these agencies/services fitting into the assessment process and meeting ongoing support needs of the family?
    • If a placement is residential, how will the carer encourage the parent to take full care of child?
    • Would carers have the ability to intervene if it was felt that the parent was offering inappropriate/risky care?
  2. An ability to work closely the child’s family, and others who are important to the child:
    • How would carers provide an environment conducive to a good assessment?
    • How does the carer see their role in term of working with the “other” parent /extended family?
    • Does the carer have the ability to assess the impact external factors have on the parents ability to care for and protect their child?
    • How would the carer build in time and use reflection/feedback with the parent?
  3. An ability to set appropriate boundaries, and manage children’s behaviour within these without the use of physical or other inappropriate punishment:
    • How will the carer set down clear boundaries with the parent? Is the carer clear about boundaries within the home that are non-negotiable and negotiable? Do they value the use of the planning meeting and written agreements and are they able to work to these?
    • Is the carer able to recognise how their own behaviour/standards/values may impact on the assessment?
    • Can the carer demonstrate an understanding of the reasons underlying various behaviours and be open to exploring different perspectives?
    • What is the carers attitude to different behaviours and the modification techniques that can be used in different situations?
    • What does the carer understand by role modelling and what will this mean for all members of the family when undertaking this type of task?
    • Is the carer committed to finding creative and innovative ways of assessing? Are they able use a range of tools and assess which ones would be useful to address certain issues?
  4. A knowledge of normal child development and an ability to listen and communicate with children appropriate to their age and understanding:
    • In terms of assessing parents it may be that you are working with a parent who is a “child” –how would you assess their level of development whilst conducting an assessment of their parenting?
    • Will the carer be able to break down the task of parenting and communicate this to the parent?
    • Does the carer have a range of communication skills?
    • Does the carer have an ability to seek out other agencies for advice/ support carer and/or parent \around issues of child development?

UNDERSTAND HEALTH AND SAFETY, AND HEALTHY CARE / KEEP CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE SAFE FROM HARM

  1. An ability to ensure that the children/young people are cared for in a home where they are safe from harm and abuse:
    • Does the carer understand what is necessary to provide a safe environment for the assessment to take place?
    • Does the carer have an awareness of the legislation, policies and guidelines that underpin practice in the child care arena?
    • What does the carer identify as safeguarding issues for these types of placements? Are they able to integrate these into a Safe Care Plan?
    • How will the carer assess, encourage and enable the parent to take responsibility for their own and their child’s health and safety?
  2. An ability to help children keep themselves safe from harm or abuse and to know how to seek help if their safety is threatened:
    • Be aware of the skills and knowledge parents need to keep themselves and their children safe from harm and abuse and have the ability to assess risk;
    • Help parents develop skills through experience, discussion and observation of carer as a role model;
    • Encourage parents to reflect on how they can identify safe and unsafe situations and engage protective strategies;
    • Help parents identify their own support networks which they can access when necessary;
    • How will the carer work with the parent regarding self protection skills?

KNOW HOW TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY

  1. An ability to work with other professional people and contribute to the departments planning for the child/young person:
    • Does the carer have a commitment to child centred practice?
    • How will carer manage and prioritise the needs of two “children” whilst keeping the baby’s needs paramount?
    • Does the carer understand the importance of planning, exploring and using a range of interventions and being able to evaluate these?
    • Is the carer able to support the parent in contributing to their child’s plans?
    • Are they able to advocate on behalf of the child and/or the parent when necessary?
  2. An ability to communicate effectively:
    • Is the carer able to communicate and articulate the findings of their assessments to parents and members of the team involved?
    • Is the carer able to communicate their findings in a report that is clear, well balanced and analytical?
    • Can the carer use a range of communication skills to engage the parent in a good working relationship?
    • Does the carer have good negotiation skills?
    • How does the carer feel they will be able to manage if interpreting facilities are needed during the assessment?
  3. An ability to keep information confidential:
    • An ability to use information appropriately?
    • Able to provide information on a need to know basis?
    • Have an understanding and commitment to maintaining confidentiality?
    • Is the carer able to provide space for the parents to store information safely and securely?
  4. An ability to promote equality, diversity and value the rights of individuals and groups within society:
    • What is the carers understanding of the discrimination faced by some of the parents they may be working with i.e. teenage parents, parents with drug and alcohol issues, parents with a learning difficulty etc?
    • What is the carers understanding of how cultural and racial issues influence parenting?
    • Is the carer able to critically evaluate their own attitudes and values and how they will impact on their role as a parent and child assessment carers?
    • Does the carer have a commitment to the concept that all individuals have rights?
    • Does the carer understand, promote and celebrate difference?
    • Does the carer accept that all parents and children should be guaranteed the same quality of service?
    • Is the carer able to challenge racism, discrimination and inequality?

DEVELOP YOURSELF

  1. An ability to appreciate how personal experiences have affected themselves and their families and the impact fostering is likely to have on them all:
    • What is their experience of being parented/ parenting?
    • Is the carer able to explore other attitudes towards and understanding of other methods/styles of parenting?
    • Do all family members understand what is involved in being parent/child assessment foster carers?
    • Can they recognise their own limits?
  2. An ability to have people and links within the community which provide support:
    • Is the carer able to seek out support?
    • Does that carer have a commitment to a multi-agency approach to working with families?
    • Is the carer able to make links with services in the community?
    • Is the carer committed to attending monthly support groups?
  3. An ability to use training opportunities and to improve skills:
    • Does the carer value training?
    • Is the carer able to identify own training needs?
    • Is the carer committed to attending training?
    • Is the carer open to other forms of training i.e. shadowing, observing etc?
  4. An ability to sustain positive relationships and maintain effective functioning through periods of stress:
    • Is the carer able to identify when the placement is in crisis and be open and honest with the team involved?
    • How will the carer retain a positive working relationship with the parent through periods of stress?
    • Does the carer have strategies to employ when experiencing stressful episodes e.g. recognising a need for time out either for parent or self?
    • Is the carer able to identify their own and their family’s support needs?


4. Criteria for Acceptance of Referrals for Placement

Social Workers will be required to submit the initial placement request by completion of a CC6 and Child and Parent Assessment Placement Referral Form. It is essential that a Risk Assessment is also completed.

Click here for the Risk Assessment Form.

Disclosure and Barring Service checks must be undertaken in respect of all parents 16+yrs, before a placement can be made.

Other additional assessments previously undertaken with regards to the parent should be sent with the referral. This also includes an up to date chronology if available.

It is essential that any safeguarding issues are highlighted within the referral e.g. non accidental injuries, mental health issues, drug and alcohol use and an analysis on possible impact on a fostering family be made to assist with matching.

See also Placement Planning Meeting Template.


5. Allowances and Fee Payments

Weekly maintenance allowance in Child and Parent Assessment placements

Maintenance allowance is paid to the foster carer for the child at current rates. In some cases a parent may already be claiming child benefit for their child prior to reception into care. Where this is the case the parent must notify Child Benefit Centre immediately. There is usually a 12 weeks turn around for the benefit to be stopped, the decision to stop the child benefit will be made by that agency. If the parent is in receipt of Child Benefit then this amount is deducted from the foster carers maintenance allowance for the child. This payment is triggered by the ‘notice of movement’ form processed by the Social Worker to Carer Payments. This form must clearly state the amount of benefit received by the parent in relation to their child and the deductions to be made to fostering allowance.

Child benefit cannot be claimed for a new born baby who is coming into placement with their parent as they are ‘looked after’. When there is a plan for the parent and child to leave the placement and live independently a child benefit claim should be actioned.

The above refers to both residential and non-residential placements.

Parents under 16yrs in residential placements

As parents under the age of 16 are unable to claim Child Benefit, an allowance of £25 per week will be paid to the parent, by the foster carer, to purchase essential items for the child (milk, nappies, wipes etc). This is the equivalent amount of Child Benefit.

A parent under the age of 16 will receive, from the foster carer, pocket money, clothing and savings allowances; this amount will be agreed at the planning meeting and the foster carer will be guided by the Social Worker and in reference to FN16.

Parents aged 16+yrs in residential placements

If parents are in receipt of Income Support this amount will be deducted from the fostering allowance and parents are expected to purchase their own food and personal items.

If parents are not in receipt of Income Support the equivalent amount, will be given to the parents by the foster carer.

Parents aged 16+yrs in non-residential placements

In non-residential placements, the foster carer will receive maintenance allowance for the child and not for the parent.

In non-residential placements where a parent is over 16yrs and has an income/is in receipt of personal benefits, the foster carer will only pay the parent the equivalent amount of Child Benefit, if they are not already in receipt of this.

If new benefits are received / back dated during the time the parent is in placement, parents are expected to refund the department the backdated amount. From this time the parent will continue to receive benefits from the benefits agency, any monies paid from the foster carer will cease and this amount will be deducted from the fostering allowance.

Any changes to benefits / fostering allowances when parent and child are in placement will be discussed between the Social Worker and Supervising Fostering Officer and the amounts adjusted accordingly via Care Payments.

Fees

Residential assessments

In residential placements, Child and Parent Assessment Carers will be paid the 2 placement fee for the parent and child, plus an additional amount equivalent to the second placement fee as an assessment “premium”, for the duration of the assessment process, usually 12 weeks.

The assessment “premium” will normally cease upon completion of the carers assessment report which is due two weeks after the twelve week assessment.

Non-residential assessments

In non-residential assessments where only the child is resident, Child and Parent Assessment carers will be paid the 1 placement fee for the child, plus an amount equivalent to the second placement fee as an additional assessment “premium”, for the duration of the assessment process, usually 12 weeks.

One assessment “premium” will be paid at the second placement fee rate in all situations, including those where both parents are involved in the assessment.

In non-residential situations where a visiting parent/s are having extensive contact in the foster home, consideration should be given at the planning meeting to payment of additional monies for any extra expenses incurred by the foster carer e.g. meals.

National Insurance, Income Tax and Welfare Benefits

Foster carers need to be aware of Leeds Social Care, Fostering Service general guide for foster carers on National Insurance, Income Tax and Welfare Benefits.

Because each carer’s financial situation will differ, it is always important to seek specialist advice about specific and individual circumstances. Foster Carer/s should contact the Inland Revenue, the Department of Work and Pensions, Leeds Welfare Benefits Group or the Citizens Advice Bureau who can provide expert advice.


6. Additional Issues

  • Carers offering Child and Child Assessment Foster placements should undertake only one assessment at any given time;
  • In situations where assessments/plans have not supported rehabilitation/ placement with parent then there are two options open to the team involved with the child. The child to have a planned move to an alternative carer or where possible the child to remain with the Child and Parent Assessment Carer until they move onto permanency. Carers in this situation will receive the fostering allowance and appropriate fee payment for this child. It is expected that alongside this a carer will take on a further child and parent assessment, for which the appropriate allowance and fee payment will be made;
  • If carers are without a placement then they will receive the 1st and 2nd placement fee retainer as per PFS foster carer Terms & Conditions.


7. Training

Parent and child carers are approved as level 4 Foster carers. There are also additional training needs for these carers that need to be addressed through assessment, formal training, support groups and wider networks as identified in the carer’s Personal Development Plan. This plan is to be reviewed annually.

The additional training for parent and child foster carers could include:

  • What is parent and child fostering?
  • Understanding, promoting and assessing attachment;
  • Tools of assessment;
  • Parenting skills;
  • Assessing learning disabled parents;
  • Safeguarding;
  • Recording and report writing;
  • Understanding Court and giving evidence.


8. Work Post Assessment

Within the placements there is the flexibility to undertake additional work post assessment which may attract ongoing assessment “premium” payment.

In instances where there is a plan for rehabilitation for example, there have been identified ongoing tasks for the carers including:

  • Looking at future support needs;
  • Working with parents to access services;
  • Addressing particular issues that were identified in the assessment i.e. behaviour management, safety, relationships, routines etc.
  • Support parent and child with the transition home;
  • Work around education issues for a young parent.

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