Allegations against Foster Carers

It is recognised by the department that carers are increasingly required to look after particularly vulnerable children who can present difficulties for their carer. Some of these children may make an allegation against their carer or anyone else in the household.

An allegation is where a carer is accused of neglecting a child; sexual abuse; emotional abuse or physical abuse. Allegations of this nature, as defined under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989, are investigated under child protection procedures and can be made against a carer, or any member of their household, concerning any child within that household.  This can include children who are currently or have been previously fostered and indeed the carer’s own children. Allegations may originate from a number of sources, including, schools, foster children, parents, neighbours and the Internet.

The allegations that can be made against people who work with children (including foster carers) are listed as:

  • Harmed or may have harmed a child
  • Has committed a criminal offence against or related to a child
  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates unsuitability to work with/care for children

There is a difference between allegations and general concerns.  If an allegation is made and the decision is that it will be treated as a concern rather than an allegation, issues will be dealt with by the social worker for the child and the Fostering Social Worker rather than an investigation taking place under child protection procedures.