SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure applies to Wakefield Council employees, particularly to those employed within Children and Young People Service, to all Wakefield Council Councillors and to other professionals who work with disabled children and young people in Wakefield.
Members of staff and councillors will often possess the necessary skills, understanding and motivation to become foster carers. However this must be balanced against the need to protect both staff and children from any potential conflict of interest.
Some employees are automatically barred from applying under the Fostering Regulations 2011.
The regulations automatically preclude applications from:
- Social workers/support workers/managers working directly with the Fostering Service (and, to all intents and purposes, Adoption and Permanence Service).
Prior to any other council employee or councillor applying to become a Foster Carer there are a number of issues, which need careful consideration. These should be addressed in the Conflict of Interest Assessment.
- The Working Time Directive;
- Employment status, should an allegation of abuse or misconduct occur whilst acting as a Foster Carer;
- Confidentiality and access to information;
- Maintenance of objectivity;
- Local Authority's duty to protect and safeguard children;
- Capacity to focus on the needs of the child;
- The Fostering Service's commitment to fair and transparent processes.
Anyone working in the wider field of child care e.g. community nurses, should also be subject to a Conflict of Interest Assessment.
- Any Wakefield Council employee wishing to become a Foster Carer must complete a Conflict of Interest Assessment Form, which must be approved by the Service Director for Safeguarding and Family Support;
- Where, at the time of an initial visit, an enquirer is found to work with young people in Wakefield (e.g. a community nurse), then a Conflict of Interest Assessment form should be completed;
- The Conflict of Interest Assessment will be completed after the initial visit, at the same time as a formal application is made. It must be approved by the Service Director before a formal fostering assessment (Form F) is begun. It will include a recommendation by the Fostering Social Worker based on a risk assessment. It will identify potential conflicts of interest and suggest ways in which these can be avoided or effectively managed;
- If permission to proceed is granted, the fostering assessment will be carried out by staff and supervisors who are not in the management line of the employee;
- Applicants should discuss their application with their own line managers so that potential conflicts of interest can be identified and resolutions considered at an early stage. The views of line managers will be sought in respect of such applications;
- The recommendation of the Foster Care Panel will be taken to the Service Director as Agency Decision Maker.
Please see the Local Resources and One Minute Guides for the Foster Carers Conflict of Interest Assessment.