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Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (14 014 480)

Category : Children's care services > Fostering

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 13 Oct 2015

Summary

Complaint from a man who is the sole foster carer for two children who were aged six and seven at the time of the complaint. He complains that the council breached National Minimum Standards (for foster care services) by removing the children from his care without first assessing what action was in their best interests.

The complaint

Complaint from a man who is the sole foster carer for two children who were aged six and seven at the time of the complaint. He complains that the council breached National Minimum Standards (for foster care services) by removing the children from his care without first assessing what action was in their best interests.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

To remedy the injustice caused, the council should:

  • apologise to the man for the fault found and pay him £750, comprising £500 for the avoidable uncertainty and £250 for his unnecessary time and trouble;
  • apologise to the children for the fault found (in language appropriate for children of their age and cognitive abilities) and pay them £500 each, to the savings accounts they have for the time when they leave care;
  • review its policies in respect of carrying out and recording strategy discussions in cases where it initiates safeguarding investigations to ensure they comply fully with statutory guidance;
  • arrange training for relevant staff to remind them of the need to carry out and record strategy discussions when taking action to safeguard children;
  • place a copy of this report on the files of both children to help answer any questions they may have about these matters when they are older; and
  • issue a new handbook for foster carers by 31 December 2015.

The council has agreed to these recommendations.

Ombudsman satisfied with council's response: 3 February 2016

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