3.7.11 Back Up Foster Carers


  1. Definition of Back-up Carer
  2. Format of the Assessment
  3. Process
  4. Guidance Notes

1. Definition of Back-up Carer

This is a person or persons identified by a foster carer (either during the assessment process or when acting as an approved foster carer), who will care for the children placed with these carers, for periods ranging from a weekend (two overnight stays) or longer periods of one up to four week. The respite can take place either within the main carers home or the back-up carers home.

2. Format of the Assessment 

If the back-up carer is a member of the main carers household, then the information should be included in the main carer’s Form F assessment. If they are being assessed at the same time as the foster carers the information in relation to their potential to act as back-up carers should be included in the main carers Form F. If the assessment occurs at a later point in time, the a separate report should be included and submitted as an addendum to their form F.

If the back up carer is not a member of the main carers household, then a separate assessment report is to be completed, comprising part 1 of an F1 and a descriptive report, covering the areas identified in Appendix 1 of that form

3. Process

  1. All back-up carers should complete an application form which will give their agreement to all the necessary checks being undertaken.
  2. The assessment will be undertaken by either the assessing social worker (during main carer’s assessment) or by the link workers once the carers are approved.
  3. The assessment is completed according to the guidelines outline in Appendix 1 of that form.
  4. Once the assessment report is completed, the carers should read it (except for confidential references) and sign it.
  5. The assessment report should be presented to the Fostering Panel for consideration and recommendation the Designated Manager (Foster Carer Approval)
  6. They will be approved as foster carers, acting in a back-up capacity for named foster carers.
  7. They will be reviewed at the same time as the main carers and a report presented to the Fostering Panel or the Review & Skill Level Board (see Annual Review and Termination of Approval of Foster Carer Procedure) at the same time as the main carer’s review, for their re-approval as back-up carers to be considered.
  8. Once approved the carers will sign the foster care agreement
  9. Whilst undertaking the respite they will be supported by the main carers link worker.
  10. The placement will be a placement with carers under the departmental policies and procedures and as such a pre or post placement meeting will be held, LAC paperwork completed and the foster placement agreement drawn up and signed.
  11. Back-up carers should be offered the opportunity to attend training support groups etc.

4. Guidance Notes

1. Applicants to complete application form in order to give consent for statutory checks. WSS302

Statutory checks

  1. Disclosure and Barring Service
  2. Medical
  3. Children's Services
  4. NSPCC
  5. 2 x personal references non family – by telephone – if necessary preferably interviewed
3. Assessment report
i. Complete part 1 of the form F1


For part 11 of the assessment, the following areas need to be covered
a. Reasons for considering these applicants as back-up respite carers for these carers i.e. Relationship with carers and their relationship with children placed with these carer’s expectations
b. Where is the respite to take place – at the carer’s home. A health/safety risk assessment must be completed if it is in the back-up carer’s home.
c. Individual profile – very brief details on family structure, employment, personality etc.
d. Support Networks - draw ecomap, what additional support will they need from the agency.
e. Children in the Household – brief detail, how they have related in the past to children placed with the foster carers, how will they adjust/cope. Safe caring issues.
f. Any other adult members of the household
g. Description of family lifestyle – how appropriate is this in relation to the needs of the children to be placed.

Parenting capacity

  • Understanding of children’s history/background
  • Understanding of children’s behaviours
  • Behaviour management – how will they implement appropriate boundaries/discipline for children placed (aware of non-uses of corporal punishment)
  • Education Needs
  • Health 
  • Contact

Child Protection issues

  • Aware of child protection issues generally
  • Safe caring – understood and practiced
  • (ensure they have a copy of Fostering Network booklet, “Safer Caring”).
j. Conclusion and recommendations

These carers will have to be considered for numbers, ages etc. of carers for whom they are to be back-up carers, with same matching considerations.