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Panel | Brighter Fostering
Brighter Fostering, Fostering Panel

Brighter Fostering, Fostering Panel

In accordance with fostering Service Regulations, Brighter Fostering maintains a central list of panel members who are selected to reflect the community that the panel serves, who may be professionals and service user between them who have a vast range of experience. The panel may include a Brighter Fostering social worker or senior member with Panel experience but predominantly will consist of independent adults with experience and knowledge of fostering and those who work in children’s social care, or health and education.

The convene a Fostering Panel Meeting the following people must come together:

A Panel Chairperson

They are not an employee of Brighter Fostering, but an Independent person with the necessary skills knowledge and expertise to chair the panel.

A Vice Chair

This person is responsible for chairing meetings in the chair’s absence or when the position of chair is vacant.

One Social Worker

They will have at least 3 years relevant post-qualification experience in childcare with direct experience of fostering or in placing/supervising children in foster care.

At least three other Members

Panel membership must include at least 3 other members not including the independent Chairperson. Where possible Brighter Fostering will request at least one foster/adoptive parent from another service and when, if possible, a former looked after young person who now meets the necessary conditions to join the panel.

The Panel Adviser

At Brighter Fostering, this role is fulfilled by our Service Development Manager. We also have an Independent Panel Advisor who in a previous role was a Senior Social Worker and Independent Reviewing Officer. Any one of the Panel Advisers will be present at the panel meeting. The Panel Adviser is there to advise panel members on regulations, agency policy, practice and performance requirements.

The assessing social worker will be there with the applicant to explain the recommendation to the panel and, if the applicant wishes, they can bring a friend or relative for support. That person can come into panel or stay in the waiting area, whilst the panel members deliberate and meet the assessing social worker and the applicants.

Before the panel, the chair will come and introduce themselves and explain what will happen and how the panel works.

The panel will discuss your application and then ask the assessing social worker any questions, after that the applicant will be requested to come in and join them along with the assessing social worker. The panel will then introduce themselves and ask a few questions, including your answers to the children’s questions.

What will the fostering panel ask the applicants?

Panel members might ask about the assessment, the training and why the applicants are looking forward to becoming future foster carers.

The panel will be likely to also ask the assessing social worker some questions if there are things that they need to clarify after reading the completed assessment report. They are there just to clarify issues and not to interrogate the applicants.

What happens next?

After introductions and asking the necessary questions, the applicants and the assessing social worker will be asked to return to the waiting area while panel considers their recommendation.

Having concluded its discussions and deliberations, the Panel must do one of three things:

1. Recommend for approval as suggested in the assessment report by the assessing social worker, which will include reasons why the panel feels the applicant is suitable to foster, number of placements, age, gender, and type of placement.

2. Defer a recommendation with reasons for their deferral, this may be down to requiring more information about the applicant’s suitability to foster.

3. Recommend Not to Approve, if the panel feels the applicants are not suitable to foster, reasons will be shared with applicants for why the recommendation is being made.

The Panel Chair, with consulting the panel members, will then inform the applicant about their recommendation and that The Brighter Fostering Agency Decision Maker (ADM), will consider that recommendation and make a formal decision as to whether the applicant should be approved as a foster parent.

The Decision is made by the Agency Decision Maker (ADM)

This decision will be made as quickly as possible and will normally be communicated to the applicants as soon as the ADM makes their decision and then in writing within 10 working days of the decision.

Following the panel, applicants will receive a feedback form to let Brighter Fostering know your views on the assessment and the panel experience. This will be helpful and will inform the service what is working well and whether there are any areas we can improve on.

The overall experience of Fostering Applicants

Attending panel may feel a bit daunting and the idea of a room full of people asking applicants questions might feel overwhelming, but the truth is most people having attended a panel meeting it is definitely not intimidating which they had feared and that panel members are friendly and welcoming.

All panel members will be aware that people may be a bit anxious about attending and they will try to help applicants to feel relaxed, at ease and be comfortable, having completed an intense assessment process, this is the final stage of process, so remain positive.

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