Panel Guide

On this page you will find resources and guides to help you in your role as a fostering panel member.

Scrolling down this page you will find:

  • Panel Member Guide Handbook (downloadable handbook)
  • Accessing Panel Documents in the Charms system
  • Terms of Approval Guidance

Fostering Panel Members Guide

Charms – System of Record

As a Fostering Panel Member you will be assigned a user account on a system called “Charms”. Charms is our “system of record” and contains all of the information and documents relating to fostering applicants, foster families and children / young people.


Your Panel Administrator will send your initial login details for Charms directly to you and this will contain a temporary password and passphrase. You will then be able to login using this link: 

When you login for the first time you will be prompted to create your own password.

Each time you login you will be prompted to enter certain characters from the passphrase. You can, if you wish, change your passphrase by clicking on your account details.

Main Screen

We will be presented with this screen once you have logged in:

As a Panel Member, you will usually only need to concentrate on the Families box. The number in the families box will be dependant on the number of items presenting to the scheduled Panel. 

Accessing the Panel Documents for a Foster Family

Click the number in the families box to get to this screen:

The list of families presenting to Panel will be shown at the bottom of the page.

Click on the Foster Parent ID which will bring up Foster Parent information.

Foster Parent ID
Main Details Screen

From the toolbar on the left hand side, click on Progress.

Progress Menu Button

This will bring up a “Panel Ready Document” Progress line and will show a yellow folder.

Progress List
The Yellow Folder Icon

Click on the yellow folder and you should see all of the Panel Documents relevant to the Potential Foster Parent / Foster Parent.

All Panel Documents for the Foster Parents

Click on the eye Symbol to view the documents.

Eye icon

If there is more than one case being presented to Panel, select Menu from the tool bar on the left hand side and this will take you back to the families page where you started, and you can repeat the above steps for each Foster Family.

Foster Parents Terms of Approval – Guidance

Terms of approval should cover:

  • Number of children approved to foster and whether this is different if there are siblings that can share bedrooms.
  • Ages of children – taking into account the fostering family’s lifestyle. Note any smokers living in the home will restrict approval to aged 5 plus.
  • Type of fostering – See below
Thinking of Fostering?
Thinking of Fostering?

Thinking About Fostering

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent and have or will have a spare room in the near future, then please don’t hesitate to call us on 08000 19 11 65 or fill in the enquiry form below.


    This can mean anything from an overnight stay to up to two years. Short-term foster parents provide a temporary place to stay until the child can return home to their own family or a longer-term fostering placement or adoption arrangement can be made.

    Short-term includes sleepovers (previously known as respite) and emergency arrangements


    Sometimes children will not be able to go back to live with their own families for a number of years, if at all. Long-term fostering allows children and young people to stay in a family where they can feel secure, often while maintaining contact with their birth family.


    Often child specific, under permanence the child’s local authority retains parental responsibility, but foster parents have greater authority to make decisions on behalf of the child and, if all parties are in agreement, meet less frequently with social workers. These changes were made in 2015 with the aim to provide better stability and a better sense of ‘normal’ family life for a looked after child.

    Only to be used if child specific and agreed by the Local Authority Permanency Panel – otherwise comes under Long-term.

    Parent and Child

    Parent and child arrangements are a type of fostering where parents can be supported alongside their children within a foster family. This usually involves placing a baby or child, along with either one or both parents, in a foster home where they can learn to cope with parenthood in safe and secure environment.

    Short break - Other types of fostering - Specific approval not required

    Also known as ‘shared care’, this covers a variety of different types of part-time care. Short break foster parents might have a child to stay for anything from a few hours each week to a couple of weekends each month, giving their own family or full-time foster carers a break. This is covered by a foster parent’s short-term approval.

    Siblings - Other types of fostering - Specific approval not required

    Caring for 2 plus children or young people from the same family. There is no limit on the number of siblings foster parents can look after (as long as they are all from the same family) but accommodation must be appropriate and bedroom sharing must be assessed by way of a risk assessment. Where there is a possibility of siblings sharing bedroom(s) this should be stated in the approval terms alongside the number of children they are approved for.

    Staying Put/When I’m Ready/Supported lodgings - Other types of fostering - Specific approval not required

    Staying Put or When I’m Ready (Wales) arrangements are when a young person who was looked after immediately prior to their eighteenth birthday (as an eligible child) continues to reside with their former foster parents. Staying Put or When I’m ready usually lasts up to the age of 21 but can be extended if: the young person completes the agreed programme of education or training being undertaken on their twenty-first birthday, if continuously living in the arrangement since their eighteenth birthday.

    Supported Lodgings is an alternative to foster care and offers young people aged 16-24 the opportunity to live in a family environment but where they are given more independence.

    Both Staying Put/When I’m Ready and Supported Lodgings involve preparing a young person for independence.

    As this arrangement is post 18 no specific approval is required as the young person is no longer legally ‘looked after.’

    Thinking of Fostering?
    Thinking of Fostering?

    Thinking About Fostering

    If you are interested in becoming a foster parent and have or will have a spare room in the near future, then please don’t hesitate to call us on 08000 19 11 65 or fill in the enquiry form below.