Critical illness / death of Child in Foster Care

Guidance for Foster carers of children who have no Advanced Care Plan

An Advanced Care Plan is drawn up by family/carers and health professionals involved when it is clear that a child has a life threatening or life limiting condition, it is led by Health

When a child is critically ill in placement 

Why procedure is required 

Local Safeguarding Children Boards have responsibilities set out in statutory regulations when a child dies When a Child Dies - Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board (

 Purpose of Document 

This document provides details of the procedure which is to be followed in the event of a critical illness or child death in placement and includes guidance and information for foster carers. 

The procedure to follow if a child is in placement with foster carers and is taken critically ill or appears lifeless, then the foster carer will take the following action:


  1. The foster carer is to stay with the child. If alone, take the phone to the child and phone 999. Give details of the child and illness to the operator, plus any details of open access to a hospital ward.

  2. The foster carer is to follow the Health care plan guidance in carrying out CPR as appropriate to the child.

  3. The Emergency Operator will stay on the phone and guide you until the ambulance personnel or paramedic arrives to take over. The foster carer will collect the child’s emergency file, medication and most recent medication chart for the hospital. They will require details of the last medication given.

  4. On the arrival of the paramedics/ambulance personnel, the foster carers will be guided by them as to when it is appropriate to contact the child’s parents and inform them of the situation. The paramedics will guide the foster carer as to whether the child is taken to hospital and if so, which one.

  5. The foster carer will inform the child’s social worker as soon as practicably possible. After this the foster carer will contact their fostering social worker or the relevant team.

  6. If out of hours, contact the duty social worker Tel No. 01785 354030, or 0845 6042 886

  7. Medical personnel will be available to take charge at the hospital. They will require the following details:- medication sheet, full name, date of birth, address, names of parents, contact details, diagnoses, any recent illness, allergies, names of consultants if known, or which hospital they are seen at. They may also need the child’s current medication.

  8. At the first opportunity, the foster carer is to record the child’s health and behaviours prior to the incident. This is information which may clarify the onset of the illness

  9. The child’s social worker and Medical staff are responsible for following statutory procedures which may lead to an investigation.

  10. The child’s sudden death may lead to an investigation. If so, information collated by the Foster carer will be removed at the earliest opportunity. Foster carers may also be required to be interviewed by the Police


Procedures for Children in Placement with Advanced Care Plan


  1. Foster carers are to be informed where a child is in placement with an advanced care plan, or where such a plan is made during a child’s placement.

  2. The advanced care plan will be discussed with foster carers either during the placement meeting or at the time of drawing up the advanced care plan.

  3. The foster carers will have a copy of the advanced care plan to give to medical personnel as necessary.

  4. In case of critical illness or death, Advanced Care Plan recommendations are to be followed. 


Carer support


  1. The Supervising Social Worker or colleague will contact the carer on the same day if require or on the next working day at the latest, and will visit within two working days in order to clarify support needed.
  2. Appropriate times will be arranged to collect the child’s belongings, files equipment etc
  3. Support will be offered from the fostering social worker to attend the funeral and an ongoing support plan will be agreed.
  4. Ongoing contact with the child’s family and other implications to be discussed in the Foster carers’ supervision.

Additional contact numbers 


   Fostering Network - Bethan Houston 
 01905 622364