Date lodged: 6 December 2018
To ask the Scottish Government what arrangements are in place to ensure there are rights of representation for any foster carer attending a local authority investigative hearing.
Answered by: Maree Todd 20 December 2018
Guidance on "Managing allegations against foster carers and approved kinship carers - how agencies should respond" published in July 2013 specifies that Foster carers about whom a concern has been raised, must have access to independent legal advice and information prior to any investigation proceeding.
The Fostering Network provides access to a legal helpline and legal expenses insurance for its members which allows them to defend themselves against criminal charges arising as a consequence of their foster caring role.
Chapter 12 of Guidance on The Looked After Children (Scotland) Regulations 2009 specifies that during any investigation about an allegation, the carer or prospective carer should be invited to bring someone with them for support and also have the opportunity seek independent advice and information.
Also, when a fostering panel is asked to conduct a review of a foster carer's approval, Regulation 26 (6) (c) of the Regulations provides for a foster carer to submit representation to that panel.