Standard 1 - The child’s wishes and feelings and the views of those significant to them
11 - Independent fostering agencies - duty to secure welfare
18 - Independent fostering agencies - representations and complaints
Children Act 1989:
Section 22 - General duties of local authority in relation to children looked after by them
Section 61 and Section 62 - duties of voluntary organisations and local authorities in relation to children accommodated by or on behalf of the voluntary organisation
Children’s views, wishes and feelings are acted upon, unless this is contrary to their interests or adversely affects other members of the foster care household.
Diverse Care ensure the views, wishes and feelings of children are carried on and followed through during respite via our Respite Information Form.
Children’s views, wishes and feelings are sought through feedback forms, children's forums, and our annual questionnaire.
Children are actively involved in their Placement Planning Meeting.
Diverse Care have developed a unique skills for independence course called the 'Be Your Future project', throughout which young people's views, feelings and opinions are sought and acted on accordingly.
Diverse Care are currently developing different means of seeking children's views, wishes and feelings, including multi-sensory communication boxes.
The Diverse Care Development Coach visits children to support them to express their wishes and feelings.
Some children will not feel comfortable or confident to express their concerns regarding their placement during a LAC review" -Foster Parent
Children understand how their views have been taken into account and where significant wishes or concerns are not acted upon, they are helped to understand why.
Age appropriate Children’s Guides are provided to help children of all ages to understand the process they are going through and how their views are listened to.
Foster Parents are encouraged to discuss with children (through various interactions) where their views have not been acted on, and helped in understanding why.
The Diverse Care representative would actively encourage explanations to the children of why their requests cannot be met (for example, inappropriate contact).
Any wishes or concerns that cannot be acted upon are discussed at a child/young person's LAC Reviews and PEP meetings.
Children are encouraged to attend forum groups where they can participate in the Diverse Care service provision, if their ideas should be unworkable the reasons for this are clearly explained in the wider context of the care system.
==== 1.3 ====
''Children communicate their views on all aspects of their care and support.''
* Children are included in their [[toolkit:glossary:placement_planning_meeting|placement planning meeting]] and [[toolkit:glossary:lac_review|reviews]].
* Children can communicate their views during Diverse Care's Children’s/Young People's Forums.
* Diverse Care staff are encouraged to seek various methods in which children can communicate their wishes and feelings with us.
* Careful consideration is taken during the [[toolkit:glossary:matching_process|matching process]] when placing children who's first language is not English.
* Diverse Care have access to 24 hour translating services to assist children for whom English is not their first language.
==== 1.4 ====
''The views of the child, the child’s family, social worker and Independent Reviewing Officer are sought regularly on the child’s care (unless in individual cases this is not appropriate).''
* The views of [[toolkit:glossary:looked_after_child|looked after children]] and their families, [[toolkit:glossary:social_worker|Social Workers]] and [[toolkit:glossary:iro|Independent Reviewing Officer's]] are all sought through regular feedback forms.
* [[toolkit:glossary:lac_review|LAC Reviews]] are required by law to be held on a regular basis and our representative always ensures that the views of the above people are sought during the review.
* If it is not appropriate for Diverse Care to gain birth parent’s views we seek the assistance of the Local Authority Social Workers to obtain these views.
==== 1.5 ====
''Children have access to independent advice and support from adults who they can contact directly and in private about problems or concerns, which is appropriate to their age and understanding. Children know their rights to advocacy, how to access an advocate and how to contact the Children’s Rights Director.''
* Contact information regarding various advocacy services is contained within the [[toolkit:glossary:childrens_guide|Children’s Guide]], including contact information of the Children’s Rights Director, VOICE, Children’s Commissioner, etc. Multiple, age appropriate Children’s Guide's are provided to help children of all ages understand who they can contact in private about any concerns they may have.
* On the Diverse Care Link Worker’s initial visit when a child is first placed they are given information regarding advocacy (contained within our Children’s Guide).
* Our [[toolkit:glossary:ceda|Children's Education and Development Advisors ("CEDA")]] are independent from the family and can be contacted for advice or support. Contact details for the child's assigned CEDA are included in the child's Welcome Letter.
==== 1.6 ====
''Children can take up issues in the most appropriate way with support, without fear that this will result in any adverse consequences. Children receive prompt feedback on any concerns or complaints raised and are kept informed of progress.''
* Link Workers are aware of the child's Local Authority's complaints process and can advise the child if necessary.
* Foster Parents are trained to how to advocate effectively for children.
* Age appropriate complaint forms and feedback forms are available as hard copies and online.
* Diverse Care's Complaints Procedure is available both online and as hard copy. The procedure describes which complaints are to be handled internally or involving independent personnel, depending on the level of resolution.
* Children can fill out the complaints form on our Diverse Care website to make a complaint. Once the 'child' box has been selected the language of the form changes slightly, making it simpler and easier for children to understand.
* Link Workers support the family to understand why a child may make a complaint about them and assist the family to resolve the issue, allowing the child to remain in placement and avoiding an unnecessary breakdown.
==== 1.7 ====
''The wishes, feelings and views of children and those significant to them are taken into account in monitoring foster carers and developing the fostering service.''
* Diverse Care actively encourage and promote children to attend their [[toolkit:glossary:lac_review|LAC Reviews]].
* Children can communicate their views during their [[toolkit:glossary:annual_review|Annual Reviews]].
* Representatives of Diverse Care are present at children’s LAC reviews and record the child's family's wishes and feelings and refer them back to managers, if necessary.
* Foster Parents' weekly phone calls, [[toolkit:glossary:daily_logs|Daily Logs]] and [[toolkit:glossary:supervision_foster_parent|monthly supervision]] are all monitored in order to establish that children's wishes and feelings are being taken into account.
* Link Workers aim to see each child four times per year outside of ordinary review meetings. Home visits should be undertaken at varied times so that all members of the family are seen.
* Both good and bad practice is discussed during monthly [[toolkit:glossary:supervision_foster_parent|supervision]]. This creates a healthy 'feedback cycle', where feedback is ascertained, fed back and acted on promptly.
* [[toolkit:glossary:link_worker|Link Workers]] and CEDAs facilitate reconciliation between Foster Parents and children, where needed.
===== Outcome =====
'' Children know that their views, wishes and feelings are taken into account in all aspects of their care; are helped to understand why it may not be possible to act upon their wishes in all cases; and know how to obtain support and make a complaint.''
'' The views of others with an important relationship to the child are gathered and taken into account.''