How we inspect fostering services

Information and guidance about how we inspect local authority fostering services and foster care agencies.

From July 2017 we changed the way we inspect local authority fostering services foster care agencies.

Reference to ‘Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales’ (CSSIW) in the documents on this page should be read as ‘Care Inspectorate Wales'.

What is different?

  • The revised inspection framework focuses on well-being outcomes for children and young people.
  • Changes to inspection reports, making them more accessible and providing clearer conclusions about the quality of care people received.

What we check and report

During an inspection we consider the support offered to foster carers by the fostering service agency to enable children to achieve their best possible well-being outcomes.

When our inspectors visit a foster care service they will consider three core themes:

  • Well-being
  • Care and support
  • Leadership and management

How often we inspect

We inspect local authority fostering services and foster care agencies every 4 years as part of our rolling programme.

We have two types of inspections: full and focused.

Full inspections

These are routine inspections, planned as part of our inspection schedule. Full inspections take place approximately six months after a newly registered service becomes operational. After that, we inspect once every 4 years.

Focused inspections

These normally happen when concerns are raised or to follow up on areas of improvement identified at previous inspections. These inspections focus on certain aspects of a service.

All inspections to foster care services and agencies will be announced.

Help for providers

We have produced an inspection handbook for adult, children’s homes and fostering services and a framework of what we will inspect against.

Download documents