Mr E, a foster carer, complained about a number of issues connected with the placement of two young children with him and his adult daughter for fostering. The children were those of Mr E’s ex partner, and were half-siblings to his adult daughter but no relation to him. The Council placed the children after reports from the children’s father (who was separated from their mother) and others that the children were neglected.
The Ombudsman’s investigation
The Ombudsman found that the Council:
- made no checks before it placed the children with Mr E and his adult daughter;
- did not visit the children for several weeks after the placement began, in breach of the fostering regulations;
- gave no financial or other support to Mr E; and
- delayed in arranging a review panel when Mr E’s complaints about these issues were considered through the statutory social services complaints procedure.
The Ombudsman commented:
“The Council placed two vulnerable young children in the care of [Mr E] and his daughter without even the most basic checks on them, their home and their ability to look after young children. Fortunately [Mr E] and his daughter have proved to be appropriate carers who have apparently done an excellent job in looking after the children who have come to no harm. This is no thanks to the Council.”
The Council agreed to pay Mr E and his daughter £10,350 representing the foster care allowance that Mr E should have received. The Ombudsman also proposed that the Council should:
- review its practices and procedures to ensure that there would be no repetition of children being placed with carers without proper checks being made;
- conduct an audit of other emergency placements; and
- make quarterly reports to the appropriate Council committee on complaints received under the statutory procedure.