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‘The worst day of my life’: Foster carers’ experiences of allegations

Roberts, Louisa M ORCID:, Rees, Alyson ORCID:, Elliott, Daisy and Wood, Sophie ORCID: 2024. ‘The worst day of my life’: Foster carers’ experiences of allegations. Adoption & Fostering 48 (1) , pp. 7-29. 10.1177/03085759231212501

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Appropriate allegation investigations within social care are paramount to protect children. However, many allegations are unsubstantiated (Biehal et al., 2014) and result in stress and anxiety for fostering families (Adams, Hassett and Lumsden, 2018), financial uncertainty (Boffey, Stanton and Thomas, 2019), unplanned endings and foster carers leaving their role (Adams, Hassett and Lumsden, 2018). There is little research into the prevalence, nature and outcomes of allegations against foster carers. This UK-based study uses The Fostering Network’s State of the Nation’s Foster Care (SOTN) 2021 survey and analyses responses from 3,352 UK foster carers and 99 fostering service staff. Qualitative findings reflect six themes: (1) emotional impacts, (2) financial implications, (3) independent support, (4) social services involvement, (5) understanding allegations, and (6) children being removed or foster carers leaving their role. Quantitative findings show only 25% of those experiencing an allegation believed they were sufficiently communicated with, only 20% believed specified timescales were adhered to, 57% did not receive independent support, and 36% said no support was offered to children in their home. Poor information-sharing and lack of support were found to have exacerbated the stress experienced.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Start Date: 2024-03-21
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0308-5759
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 March 2024
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2024 16:55

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