All you need to know about panel

Our panel coordinator, Michael shares an insight about what you can expect at panel

Mar 16 2020

Fostering panels lie at the very heart of Hampshire’s commitment to high quality family placement work. Nationally over 50,000 children in England live in foster families. The number of children in foster care continues to increase and in Hampshire we are always seeking more foster families. Making decisions about approval and the continuing ability of foster families to meet the complex needs of children are sensitive and critical tasks.

In Hampshire we have six monthly foster panels that look at the skills and abilities of foster carers, whilst keeping the needs of children paramount. Approximately 250 cases are presented to Hampshire Panels each year.

Attending panel

All future foster carers attend at least one panel together with their social worker, who has supported them through the assessment process.

Generally potential carers attend a panel close to home. Our monthly panels are held in:

  • Alton
  • Basingstoke
  • New Forest (Totton)
  • Winchester
  • Havant
  • Fareham

Panel members include an experienced chair, health representative, social worker/s, and independent members drawn from the local community. Attendance is generally for 45- 60 minutes. Your social worker will fully support you and help prepare you for panel questions.

Experience of Hampshire Fostering Panels

Over 100 Carers provided feedback from their attendance at Hampshire Fostering Panels in 2019. The vast majority of applicants were successful and were approved to foster. Feedback included comments on the efficiency of the booking process in arranging panels at a convenient date, time and venue. Everybody stated they were warmly welcomed and made to feel relaxed and at ease. Most people felt that the Panel were well informed and asked relevant, fair and clear questions. Applicants also felt they had plenty of opportunities to express their views and ask questions.

Final Panel Decision

The final decision to approve is made by the Agency Decision Maker (ADM) – a senior director in Hampshire County Council Childrens Services. This is ordinarily conveyed to applicants within 1-2 weeks of panel attendance.