Information for foster carers

Young girl being shown card by smiling woman

As a foster carer, it is likely that a child or young person is in your care because they are subject to a Compulsory Supervision Order which was put in place by a Children’s Hearing. Often, but not always, children or young people will have experienced the Children’s Hearings System before they live with foster carers.

If a child or young person that you are looking after has a Compulsory Supervision Order, they will need to attend a Children’s Hearing at least once a year.

As a Foster Carer you may have some rights in the Hearings System.

  •  You can submit a report to a Pre-Hearing Panel if you have information which is relevant to what the Pre-Hearing Panel is deciding.
  •  If you attend the Hearing, you can express your views there and let the Panel Members know if you have any concerns or worries about the child or young person in your care. If you are not able to attend the Hearing, if you wish you may submit a report in writing.
  •  If you have been deemed in law to be a Relevant Person, you may appeal  against the decision of the Children’s Hearing within 21 days of the Hearing.

It is important that foster carers are aware of children and young people’s rights before, during and after a Children’s Hearing. This will help children and young people feel more secure and prepared for their Hearing.

At their Hearing, children and young people have the right to:

  • Bring a representative, a lawyer, an advocate or friend in to the Hearing with them;
  • Ask to speak to the Panel Members on their own;
  • Ask for the Hearing to stop for a while so they can have a break to speak to their representative;
  • Ask for the Hearing to be continued/deferred to another date if they need more information or time to prepare;
  • Appeal against the decision of the Children’s Hearing within 21 days from the date of the Hearing;
  • Request another Hearing which can take place three months after the last Hearing;
  • Ask the Hearing to see them separately from their parents if they do not wish to have contact with them;
  • Complain if they are not happy with how they have been treated.

If you have any questions about how best to support a child or young person attending a Hearing, you may contact the Children’s Reporter and he or she will be happy to help. Remember, you can also ask the Reporter for a Pre-Hearing visit. This helps you and the child/young person in your care have a better idea of what will happen at the Hearing.

More information?

You can contact the Fostering Network – visit