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6.2.3 Contact and Foster Carers

RELATED CHAPTERS

This Chapter should be read in conjunction with the following Procedures:

Contact with Parents / Adult and Siblings

Overnight Stays and Contacts with Family and Friends Procedure

Also see the Brighton and Hove Fostering and Adoption website.


For foster carers providing short breaks, the foster carer must maintain contact as agreed in the short break plan.

The Children Act imposes a duty on local authorities to promote contact between a child who is being looked after and those connected with them. Sometimes this is voluntary and sometimes there is a Court Order. The frequency of contact can range greatly from every week day to annual letter contact.

Contact Visits

Contact is one of the most emotional aspects of childcare - arranging for children and their families from whom they are separated to keep in touch with one another. The management of contact is one of the toughest aspects of fostering. If a child is to go home, their links with their parents must be continued.

For young children where the plan is to return home, visits may be intensive and frequent.

For older children, and where the plan is not rehabilitation visits will be less frequent.

Visits should be natural and active occasions - going out, playing, etc. Contact can also mean letters or phone calls. Foster Carers have a very important role to play in promoting positive contact between children and their immediate and wider families.

Social Workers need to be aware that children and young people may choose to contact their immediate friends and family using social networking media about which the foster carers will not always have knowledge.

A good contact visit should leave the child feeling reassured that they are loved and missed by their parents and still belong to them. They will have heard about what has been going on in their family in detail and the bonds will be kept alive. If a decision is made that rehabilitation of a younger child is not in the child's interest, we will try to safeguard their future with a permanent substitute family. Children need a family to which they can belong permanently. This may mean terminating the parents' contact to the child. Even if this is the case the child still needs to know about their parents and you will need to help them understand this. If you understand the parents' situation, it is easier for you to explain kindly and truthfully to the child.

Recording of Contact Visits

Foster carers should should record the salient points in writing about contact visits to share with the child's social worker and Supervising Social Worker. Records may be used in future Court Proceedings. Social Workers and Supervising Social Workers should look at these records on a regular basis.

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