Promoting Education and Leisure Activities
SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This procedure applies where allegations are made or suspicions are raised that approved prospective adopters have caused Significant Harm to a child. It also applies where allegations are made by or in relation to a child placed for adoption or a child already adopted and in receipt of adoption support services. It may relate to recent abuse or neglect or historical abuse
The procedure should be read in conjunction with the North and South of Tyne Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures.This chapter was added to the manual in January 2019, it is originally from the Northumberland Fostering and Adoption Services Manual and has been updated.
The Fostering Services Regulations 2011 (Regulation 16) requires that the Fostering Service Provider promotes the educational attainment of children placed with Foster Carers and ensures that Foster Carers promote the leisure interests of children placed with them.
The Foster Carer Agreement draws notice to these requirements. This guidance is provided to assist Foster Carers in these tasks. (See also: Education of Children with a Social Worker, Looked After and Previously Looked After Children Procedure).Pre-school provision e.g. Parent and Toddler groups and nursery places for all children are recognised as beneficial to the child's social and intellectual development. All foster carers are therefore required to promote these areas through the active participation in local groups.
2. Early Years Learning
Where a child/young person is of the age to attend nursery/school, arrangements will be made by the placing Social Worker for their enrolment in or continuation at an appropriate school in the area in which his/her family lives. Should the Social Worker, with the Core/Care Team, consider it more appropriate in the particular circumstances, enquiries may be made by the Social Worker about a place being found in a nursery school in the area in which the Foster Carer lives.The Family Placement Service will work with the Northumberland Sure Start Children's Centres to encourage foster carer registration and promote access for looked after children to Sure Start activities.
3. Transport to School and other Learning
Through agreement at the Placement Planning Meeting and/or Care Team Meetings, arrangements will be made for the transport (if necessary) of the child/young person from the Foster Carer's home to school and back. In most circumstances, the Foster Carer will be expected to provide transport and/or it is agreed that the young person would make their own way.The discussion of these issues would be appropriate when the Early Years PEP / Personal Education Plan are completed at the beginning of the placement. The reviews of the PEP provide opportunities for any educational issues to be addressed promptly.
4. Monitoring Progress
The placing Social Worker has a duty to monitor the educational attainment, progress and school attendance of children placed with Foster Carers. It is therefore very important that the Social Worker is kept informed of any information from school regarding the child/young person's education. Most of this communication of information is likely to take place in Care/Core Team Meetings. It is also very important to ensure that the Social Worker is made aware of the child/young person's school attendance. Again, this information can be relayed in Care/Care Team Meetings but, where there are unauthorised absences, it is important that the Foster Carer, as soon as they become aware of the absence, notify the child's Social Worker. This should be done even if there is an understanding/agreement between the school and the Social Worker that the school will notify the Social Worker of such instances directly.
5. Purchasing EquipmentWhere a child/young person requires any particular equipment or kit for participation in school activities, the Foster carer would normally purchase this from the fostering allowance.
6. Access to and participation in Leisure Opportunities
As part of the Placement Planning, Care Team Meetings and Reviews, the leisure interests of the child/young person placed with the Foster carers will be discussed. Children / young people with healthy leisure interests are more likely to grow and develop into more “rounded” citizens. It is therefore important that such leisure activities are actively promoted and encouraged. Use of the Max Card is encouraged to facilitate visits to National Trust properties, museums etc.
Participation in sporting activities or formal groups e.g. training are to be encouraged and any financial requests should be discussed with the Supervising Social Worker in the first instance.