1. Introduction
  2. What to Record
  3. Records - the Child/Young Person
  4. Personal Information
  5. Foster Carer Records

1. Introduction

A child’s records are an important source of information for them. They provide information about the sequence of events which brought about Children’s Social Care intervention into their life and (in many instances) explain the reasons for decisions about their care. These can be key to helping a child to understand themselves and their past.

As a professional it is really important that you keep a daily record of events about all children/young people placed with you.

This will help you to contribute to making plans about the child/young person’s future.

It may also be helpful for the child in later life when they want to understand more about their childhood. See Keeping Memories.

Records also help to make sure that situations are clearly understood and this can help if allegations are made against you. They may also be used to contribute towards a Court hearing or to make important decisions about the child/young person.

Try to write down things as soon as they happen, including the date time, who was present and what exactly was said. Notes should be brief and to the point.

You should also try and record things in a manner that you could let the person concerned see. If you think that something is so private that the young person should not see what you are going to write, you should contact your supervising social worker to talk about this and whether and how the information should be kept private.

The fostering service will provide you with records which you will complete for each child/young person in your care. Your Supervising Social Worker may look at these during supervision meetings.

You should use a diary in which to record appointments, meetings and contact arrangements.

At the Placement Planning meeting, it should be made clear to parents and young people, (depending on their age) what you will be recording, how this will be used and how long the records will be kept. This helps to develop an open and honest relationship; you will only be recording exactly what happens.

2. What to Record

  • Contact - with the child’s family, how was the child, how was the family, when they did not turn up and any reason given;
  • Details of visits, meetings with social workers or other professionals and the child’s reaction if any;
  • School/nursery/educational setting - any important conversations you have with school, open evening, concerns or good things;
  • Dates of medical or dental appointments and treatment given. Include dates of cancelled or rearranged appointments;
  • Dates and types of immunization;
  • Date, type and length of any illnesses;
  • Details of any accidents or injuries, however slight. Name any witnesses and action taken. Record the time, date and name of the social worker to whom the incident was reported;
  • Comments the child makes that give you cause for concern, record these using the child’s own words;
  • Details of the child’s behaviour that causes concern. Record their actual behaviour, what happened before the behaviour and how you dealt with it;
  • Any positive improvements, achievements and happy events for the child;
  • Dates when the child is away from the foster home – with family, friends, school trips, introductions to new carer’s;
  • If the child/young person goes missing;
  • Details of times when the child is with other carer’s such as babysitters and who they were;
  • Any involvement with the Police;
  • Details of any theft or damage caused by the child;
  • Details of any specific incidents, events or changes of circumstances of your household. Include any complaint disagreements with the child or their family;
  • Any significant milestones in the child’s development such as their first word or first steps;
  • Any other significant event or information.

3. Records - the Child/Young Person

When a child/young person is placed with you, the child’s social worker will give you:

If there are any further reviews about the child/young person’s progress, you should attend the review and receive copies of the minutes. Copies of all these documents should be kept as part of the child’s records.

You should ask the child their views, wishes and feelings and make sure their voice is heard when planning care and support. They should also be told when this is not possible and why.

4. Personal Information

It is important you keep any written information about the child/young person in a lockable cupboard or box and at the end of the placement return any information to the child’s social worker.

You may need to share limited information with close family members and your own children depending on their age and understanding. If you are unsure about how much to share ask the child's social worker. 

You can share basic information with doctors; health visitors etc, but if they need further information that you are unsure whether you can share, give them the social worker's contact details. If professionals visit the child/young person at home you should ask to see their identification card.

5. Foster Carer Records

You will have information kept on you including your supervision meetings, any allegations and training and development records.

These will be kept will be retained for at least 10 years after the date that your approval was terminated.