Effective Fostering Panels: Guidance on Regulations, Process and Good Practice in Fostering Panels in England

      Effective Fostering Panels: Guidance on Regulations, Process and Good Practice in Fostering Panels in England
      Sarah Borthwick and Jennifer Lord,
      BAAF
      ISBN 978 1 905 664 09 2,
      £7.95

      STAR RATING: 4/5




    This pack updates BAAF’s 2003 edition to take account of recent legislation, providing comprehensive guidance along with some useful supplementary checklists, writes Karin Bell.

    As with the earlier version, it aims to improve the effectiveness of panel practice by explaining fostering panel regulations, clarifying procedural requirements alongside advice about recognised good practice. For example, the new version includes explicit advice to panel members on preparing for a meeting. There is a section on
    decision-making during panel meetings which should be helpful to inexperienced chairs.

    There is also much expanded coverage of family and friends (kinship) approvals – again a useful addition. For established panel managers, this booklet will affirm existing good practice.

    I am less convinced of its usefulness at a more strategic level. In part this is a stylistic issue, as operational and strategic matters are dealt with together, making it more difficult for managers new to this area (as may well be the case with newly restructured departments) to distinguish between guidance and policy issues. For example, suggestions for more open recruitment processes and similar development points that could helpfully be incorporated into children’s service planning tend to become
    lost in the detail.

    Nevertheless, this is a characteristically workmanlike document which will doubtless become required reading for those directly involved in fostering panels.

    Karin Bell is a children’s services consultant with experience of chairing fostering and adoption panels

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