What happens if an allegation or complaint is made about the care my family offers a child ?


  1. Introduction
  2. Ways in Which you can Reduce Risks
  3. What Happens if a Complaint or Allegation Is Made?

1. Introduction

All foster carers will receive training and guidance to help them provide a safe environment for the child and all members of the foster family. You should have received information about child protection procedures form the fostering service and they should take into account any comments you may have about this. The right to complain is an essential safeguard for children and parents after the trauma of separation from home.

It is important that you record any relevant incidents or complaints as they can provide important evidence if an allegation is made.

Occasionally complaints and allegations are made against foster carers and those in their family.

This can place you in a difficult and sometimes distressing situation. If allegations against you or someone in your household are made directly to a social worker they have a responsibility to make you aware of it and to fully investigate the complaint or allegation

2. Ways in Which you can Reduce Risks

  • Think about whom in the household may be vulnerable to allegations or complaints;
  • Make sure you fully understand the child’s needs, their background and what support you may need;
  • Keep a daily record;
  • Be clear on what behaviour is expected;
  • Develop your own Safer Caring policy for keeping everyone safe;
  • Attend foster care training and support groups regularly;
  • Be clear about what is expected of you as a foster carer;
  • Talk about any concerns with your supervising social workers;
  • Have your own insurance cover in keeping with Islington’s finance policy;
  • Work closely with other professionals and talk to them with any concerns.

3. What Happens if a Complaint or Allegation is made?

If a concern is raised about the care you provide or your suitability to be a foster carer it will be investigated fairly and confidentially and The London Child Protection procedures will be followed. LINK The fostering manager will discuss the concern with the Local Authority Designated officer, or LADO who will decide whether this is a Standard of Care matter or an allegation of abuse or neglect. The LADO may advise the fostering manager that this is a standard of care matter which will need to be considered by the fostering service, or whether this will be considered as a child protection enquiry. If you live outside Islington, the local LADO is likely to be involved.

Foster carers are professionals who work with children and any concerns will be considered, if there is an allegation or concern that a carer has:

  • Behaved in a way that that has harmed a child or may have harmed a child Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child;
  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they are unsuitable to work with children

If this is a Standard of Care matter your supervising social worker will be able to give you details about the concerns and discuss and enable you to explain what may have happened and whether there has been a misunderstanding. Your Supervising social worker will discuss any training or support which may help you and the children.

If the LADO thinks that this matter needs a fuller enquiry, a Strategy Meeting will be called within 2 working days of the allegation to decide whether an investigation is necessary and who will follow this up.

You will be given the chance to respond to the allegation before a final decision is made about what action will be taken.

The minutes of this meeting and any relevant information will be held on your record. Islington prefers that children remain in foster placements during this period, unless there is clearly a risk or some other reason which would make this unsafe or not reasonable. The fostering service will try to support you to keep the arrangement a safe one for everyone. In some situations the child’s social worker may look for a new placement for the child and if the decision is made to not place any other children during the investigation, you will be notified in writing.

Your Supervising Social Worker may not be able to discuss the allegation during the investigation, if this is being undertaken by another service.

The fostering service will inform you of;

  • How you will be supported and any fees paid whilst the matter is being investigated in keeping with Islington’s fee policy for professional foster carers;
  • The availability of an independent social worker from the North London Consortium who can support and advise you through this difficult time;
  • Remind you about the legal expenses cover which Islington funds for foster carers from Fostering Network;
  • Contact details for Fosterline which gives independent advice to carers.

Why a foster child might make an allegation of abuse?

  • Misinterpreting an innocent action;
  • To bring attention to previous abuse for the first time because you or someone in the household is trusted;
  • As a way to have some control over their life which may seem out of control;
  • To bring an end to a foster placement;
  • If something has happened which made them feel unsafe;
  • If abuse has actually taken place in the foster home by foster carers, their children or visitors.

The outcome of the investigation may;

If an allegation or complaint is made directly to you about another person’s behaviour towards a child,or you are concerned about the suitability of a person working with or caring for children you should inform your Supervising Social Worker or the child’s social worker as soon as possible or within 24 hours.