Information for Foster and Adoption Agencies and Social Services Departments
Families involved in, or applying for, the fostering or adoption of children may also be caring for a dog or cat. Most companion animals will experience occasional difficulties in coping with the complexity of life in a busy household; a normal coping strategy for an animal that is finding a social situation to be challenging, is to attempt to create a distance between itself and the other social stimulus. Distance creation can take the form of avoidance (when immediately and obviously possible) or distance creating communication (in the form of aggression). Foster/adoption agencies and social service departments may wish a companion animal within a home to undergo an assessment to ascertain how a family pet’s capacity to cope can be supported.
During an assessment the pet's background is recorded and the pet's temperament and behaviour assessed. Following this, findings will be discussed with the family and agency member and advice will be given regarding any management strategies that might enhance the pet's capacity to cope within the environment and that will enhance the safety and welfare of a child placed in the home. A detailed report is then prepared, a copy of which is sent to the adoption or fostering agency. Unless requested otherwise, a copy of the report is also sent to the family.
Once an agency has made an appointment for an assessment, they should forward the following 'Owner Questionnaire' to their clients and ask them to complete it and then to return it to Companion Animal Behavioural Referrals, as soon as possible.
A home visit lasting approximately two - three hours
A discussion with the family and agency staff member regarding my observations
Advice to the family regarding enhancing the safety of a cared for child living with the assessed pet
Preparation of a report for the agency, including:
How well the pet is currently coping within the home environment
How the pet's level of coping (and hence it's likely recourse to aggression) is likely to change with the arrival of a child within the home
How the family can improve the pet's management and hence the pet's capacity to cope, to reduce the likelihood of injury to a child placed in the home
A professional opinion on the overall risk that the pet may pose to a child placed within the home
The cost of an assessment for up to two companion animals:
£350.00 plus the visit charge
Visit charges are based on the distance travelled from my clinic.
Minimum visit charge (covering a 20-mile radius from the clinic that includes visits to Llanelli, Swansea, Port Talbot, Carmarthen, Llandeilo):
For distances further than a 20-mile radius from the clinic, a charge will be made of:
£50.00 plus 60p per mile (return journey) from SA14 8JW
Some households will care for several pets, please contact the office for a quote for multi-pet households.
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