Relative, kinship and foster carers have responsibilities towards the child in their care, the child's family of origin and also to the agency staff they deal with.
Carers are volunteers and can expect to be treated with respect, to be valued and to receive a level of assistance that enables them to do what is asked of them. Clear and reasonable expectations of carers are important to achieving quality care for children. We need to get the right balance.
If the carer's needs dominate the interests of the child, the child will not be adequately look after. Rarely, however, are the needs and interests of children and carers so distinct. What the child needs and what the carer wants to see happen may often be very much the same thing. The carer of the child may often be the child's advocate.
This charter recognises that:
- carers are valued and key partners in the provision of care to children and young people as part of the care team
- as volunteers within a complex system under considerable pressure, carers may have a lot of responsibility, but may not always be heard
- it is important to clarify and affirm carers' responsibilities to ensure that the carer is focused on the needs of children and young people
- we must all aim for continuous improvement in the care of children and young people and in the support and assistance given to carers.
The charter reflects our shared aspirations for improving the quality of care through the recognition and support to carers.
The charter should be used:
- to confirm that all those involved in alternative care are responsible for providing the best care for children
- as a key document for the development of policy, standards and procedures regarding relative, kinship and foster care
- as a guide for the orientation, training, support and review of relative, kinship and foster carers
- as a guide to training for staff who work with volunteer carers.