As a foster carer part of your role is writing daily logs about the child’s daily lived experience.
There are several reasons for writing logs:
-Children in care are entitled to request their files at 18yrs old. For some children the logs will be the thing which can help them to understand their care experience.
-Logs may be requested as part of court proceedings as evidence of how the child is managing in placement or how the contact with their birth family is meeting the needs of the child.
-Logs help communicate to your supervising social worker and the child’s social worker about what is going well and what further support is needed for the child and their foster family.
-Logs help you document any concerns or safeguarding issues that you may have and provide a record that these concerns have been recorded and shared.
-Logs can help to protect a carer from allegations by evidencing the child’s patterns and behaviours surrounding the time of any allegations made and thus can help those investigating decide if it was possible for an allegation to occur and to make sense of any motives for a false allegation.
-Logs can help the foster carer have time for reflection to reflect on their own emotions and responses to the child and any can help carers reflect on ways they could respond differently in the future.
-Logs can help to identify patterns of behaviour and regular triggers for behaviours. Once identified carers can be prepared for difficult occasions and strategies can be put in place to help reduce the impact of triggers.
Here a some things which make a good carer log:
-Recorded in a timely manner to ensure information is not lost
-Names of other foster children (other than the foster child for whom the entry being recorded) anonymised/initialled to protect their confidentiality
-Any contact with birth family to be recorded (physical or virtual/telephone). Details of contact to be recorded in as much detail as possible if supervised by the foster carer. A note to be made of the child’s behaviour before and after contact
-Any medication given to the child to be recorded
-Any injuries, bumps or falls to be recorded
-Any medical appointments to be recorded such as doctors, dentist, opticians (it is also a good idea to keep these dates to hand to share at meetings)
-Any professional meetings to be recorded such as CLA/LAC Review meetings, social worker visits, parents evening etc
-Ensure that opinions are stipulated as such and differentiated from facts. You can use phrases such as “in my opinion”, “it could possibly be” etc
-Remember that a child may read the logs at a later date and ensure that challenging behaviour is described truthfully but respectfully
-If a child is of an age that they can have time outside the home unsupervised record times which the child leaves and returns. When the child leaves it is good practice to make a note of the clothes the child is wearing to assist in the unlikely event the child should go missing
-Record significant events and summarise the child’s day
-Make sure the logs are succinct. There is a potentially a lot of information to write on some days so try and write in a way which is clear and to the point
If you are unsure about writing logs your supervising will always be able to offer advice and guidance.