Undertaking checks and references in fostering and adoption assessments

Undertaking checks and references in fostering and adoption assessments

Paul Adams


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The assessment of prospective foster carers and adopters is amongst the most important aspects of family placement work. Undertaking checks and references is a key part of these assessments, and a core task for social workers. But which checks are mandatory, and which are advisable? Which checks are needed in each UK country? Which are likely to yield the most useful information?

This Good Practice Guide details the range of checks routinely undertaken in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, in both fostering and adoption. It considers:

  • what information can be gleaned from each check;
  • in what circumstances various checks should be undertaken and when might they be deemed unnecessary;
  • what services and agencies should consider when formulating policies in this area; and the practical steps to effectively undertake these checks.

This popular guide has been fully revised and updated to take into account all recent legislative and practice changes UK-wide. These include changes to take into account new GDPR and data protection legislation, particularly in terms of confidentiality with regard to references.

Case studies illustrate the issues to be considered, and the guide includes a range of sample forms and checklists to help collate and analyse information.

Who is this book for?

This book will be invaluable for all those involved in undertaking checks and references, in either fostering or adoption, throughout the UK, and for those formulating policy and practice in this area.

What you will find in this book

The guide covers a range of checks and references that can be undertaken in fostering and adoption assessments, including:

  • Criminal records checks
  • Local authority checks
  • Personal references
  • Health assessments
  • Home safety checks
  • Dog and pet assessments
  • Financial assessments
  • Overseas checks
  • Social media and internet checks
  • Former partner checks
  • Employment and voluntary activity references
  • School, nursery and health visitor references
  • NSPCC checks


Paul Adams:
Paul Adams was CoramBAAF’s Fostering Development Consultant. He has worked as a social worker, primarily in local authority children’s services, managing child care and fostering teams. He has authored Good Practice Guides on a range of subjects, and has developed a number of forms and good practice guidance.