Allegations against foster carers and adoptive parents

Understanding what happens when foster carers or adoptive parents face allegations of not properly looking after children in their care is important in helping to prepare a case to defend the allegations.

The nature of allegations against foster carers and adoptive parents as well as the possibility that there may be children at risk, means that thorough investigations must take place to protect the safety of the child.

Whilst this is understandable and should be encouraged, there are, sadly, incidents where false allegations are made. Children who have been through the care system and enter into foster care are very likely to have had a troubled or traumatic childhood.

There are numerous reasons as to why a false allegation has been made, be it a defence mechanism for becoming too attached to a foster or adoptive parent or the misattribution of a traumatic experience. On many occasions, these allegations do not stem from a dislike of their foster carer, but rather a way to protect their own emotions.

An experienced and understanding foster carer should appreciate the issues that are pertinent to their foster child and not react negatively towards said child. In other circumstances, a disagreement may escalate. Perhaps the child wants to live with a different foster carer for respite, or they believe that their actions may help them reunite with their family.

Sadly some allegations against foster carers or adoptive parents will be legitimate. As such, even if a false allegation has been made, we must respect the nature of these investigations and fully engage with the Police and Local Authority.

If you as a foster carer or adoptive parent are facing allegations of harm to a child in your care, we strongly advise seeking legal guidance at the earliest opportunity. You can fill in this contact form and we will be in touch.

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Children’s Safety

It goes without saying that children’s safety is the most important, especially when they have faced a tough start to life. They should be able to feel safe at home and protected from harm and abuse.

Once an allegation has been made, it is likely that any foster children in the household will be removed pending investigation.

Remembering that trust issues and building relationships may be difficult to those in foster care can help to diffuse any disagreements that do arise, as should reinforcement that they are part of the family, welcome and safe.

Serious Allegations against Foster Carers

Such allegations in this context are usually made by the child in care or a social worker on their behalf. The issue could be with the foster carer or another member of the fostering household, and will indicate that the individual reporting them feels they should not be working with children.

If a serious concern over child protection is raised, i.e. neglect, abuse (physical, emotional or sexual), it is extremely likely that an investigation will take place. This investigation will include the police, social services and the fostering service who will then consider all evidence to come to a decision as to what is to be done.

Should the police agree they have reasonable evidence to suspect the foster carer of committing the alleged crime, the foster carer will then either be interviewed under caution, or arrested and then be interviewed.

At this stage, it is paramount that the foster carer has a solicitor present to ensure their rights are protected. Although most foster carers are sure of their innocence, it is crucial to have legal representation to ensure your rights are upheld and you are given advice prior to an interview taking place.

Additional Support During Investigations

Within our team we have experts in providing legal advice and support to foster carers as well as adoptive parents facing allegations and investigations.

The team is well versed in managing and navigating investigations of this nature, and will ensure you know your rights and all possible outcomes.

In addition to the police and social services investigation, we can also help to navigate processes that run alongside it, such as:

  • If social workers believe that the accused should move out of their home during the investigation
  • Any referrals made to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) by the fostering agency, local authority or police.

Get in Touch

Again, we stress how important it is to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity upon finding out about an allegation made against you.

Our criminal defence team is here to help. Call us on 0161 969 3131 or fill in the contact form at the top of this page and we will do what we can to support you through the investigation from start to finish.

Previous Client Feedback

“A foster child made an allegation towards us at the end of July 2020 and a Section 47 investigation was started by the police. After hearing nothing for two months, we contacted the Fostering Network’s legal helpline who introduced us to Hannah. Within a fortnight, having supplied her with the name of the investigating officer, our solicitor was able to report that no further action would be taken and that the investigation was at an end” – Alexander

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