Before 2010 foster carers and practitioners in the UK and Ireland were still grappling with paper diary logs, unsafe email exchanges and information shared between them in the post.
A conversation with a forward thinking foster carer encouraged us to push ahead with a release of CHARMS which we had been holding back for some time – would carers take to moving to full electronic recording?
As at 2023 we now have some 20,000+ foster families recording their children’s stories in CHARMS, digitally verifying their social worker supervision records, sharing details of children’s dental, and other, appointments and even uploading photos of family events to their own gallery in CHARMS.
And of course, the whole process of carer recruitment, assessment, training, panel and approval is securely managed in CHARMS.
While prospective foster carers are filling in the application form directly in CHARMS; support staff are updating records of checks being made; supervising social workers are using the voice to text feature to record a supervision, ready for the carer to sign;
Track enquiries and show progress for all prospective carers through the whole process. Integrate with other CRM systems using dedicated CHARMS APIs. Set reminders. Use SMS texting, built-in to CHARMS, to alert carers to events and activities, including training events. Let prospective carers login from day one so they can their own progress.
Report on recruitment activity, timelines and KPIs.
Gone are the days of forms being completed in Word or by hand on physical pieces of paper. Enquiries from prospective foster carers made through your website appear in CHARMS, with full encryption for peace of mind, with no data input required.
The application form (ROI) is completed in CHARMS; the assessment form likewise; and panel members login with great enthusiasm (mostly) without ever again having to haul a kilogram of printed paper, holding sensitive information, around.
Across all UK and Ireland jurisdictions, and indeed across the world, the focus for inspections of children’s services is on the progress of the child. As the Social Care Common Inspection Framework in England states:
”...the experiences and progress of children and other service users, wherever they live or receive help”
It is therefore a primary consideration in the development of any IT, case management, system that participants in care can easily record and demonstrate outcomes.
CHARMS has a comprehensive set of tools, designed specifically for those purposes. They have been designed and built in close consultation, or more accurately led by CHARMS users.
A powerful carer, and staff, training system allows all training bookings, confirmation, delegate lists, certificates, cancellations, non-attendance, waiting lists to be managed in one place. Carers can see, in their own account, what training they are booked on and have attended. They can also “apply” for particular courses. Dedicated APIs also enable CHARMS to receive updates from eLearning systems when a carer completes a training event.
Personal details, such as dietary needs, likes/dislikes, medication prescribed, allergies AND delegated authority are recorded in the unique, customisable Child Personal Details section. As soon as a child is placed this area of CHARMS is completed with key information extracted from the child’s care plan, CPR, health report and any other information shared by the child’s social worker. Relevant information can be shared with the carer(s). It is presented in CHARMS in a structured, easy to read way so that carers and staff are all aware of the child’s important characteristics. No more emails or respite packs – it's all in CHARMS and is always up-to-date.
We’ll leave the last word to the foster carers:
“I wasn’t able to do it but then rang the charms helpline and they were really lovely, they understood I wasn’t very tech minded and really made it simple for me to follow. Love charms now I’ve mastered it, so quick and easy and leaves me more time for the children”
“I use Charms I think it is good. Everything is in one place. Training, diary notes, reports, supervision etc. Currently, they have changed the way we record to child friendly, written to the child, but it’s still real and covers anything that happened.”
“So much better than written diary notes – When with LA used to be waiting on someone to even look at them. It can be a chore having to do daily but it really doesn’t take long with charms”
“Absolutely love the voice recording, although I couldn’t get it right away, once I got it I think its brilliant, saves so much time”
“The videos are great, if I can’t do something or are not clear I always look at their video channel first as it’s usually covered on there.”