Support for Foster Carers
We believe in each and every one of our foster carers.
We are committed to helping you make a difference in a child/young person's life, and we are here to support you every step of the way.
The support you receive through your own immediate and extended family, your neighbours and your friends is very important. Other forms of informal support may be sought through faith organisations, local clubs or other foster carers living in your area. To foster successfully it is important that you have a strong support network within your community.
The main source of support will be the social worker allocated to you, known as your supervising social worker. Your supervising social worker may be the same social worker who completed your fostering assessment. The role of the supervising social worker is to supervise and support you when children/ young people are in your care. You will have regular contact with them via telephone and visits to your home. When necessary, they will accompany you to meetings or attend meetings on your behalf.
You will also receive support from the child/young person’s social worker, health visitor and other professionals involved. Often birth parents, grandparents, and other extended family are very supportive and appreciative of you.
Outside normal office hours, there is an out of hours service which is called the Out of Hours helpline (01604521020). This Service is available between 5.00pm – 9.00am Monday to Thursday, Friday 5.00pm to Monday 9.00am and all day on public holidays. The Service provides advice and support to carers who are concerned about the foster child/young person in their care.
There are two voluntary agencies in England and Wales who provide support to foster carers:
The Fostering Network www.fostering.net
British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) www.baaf.org.uk
Many foster carers meet together in small support groups with, or at times without, the assistance of the fostering social work team. This provides much needed opportunity to talk about fostering issues with other carers. Foster carer support groups are often attended by carers who have a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise which they have accumulated through many years in fostering. These carers can offer valuable support to less experienced foster carers.
Formal and informal feedback from support groups helps to inform further training needs which can be addressed through the support group, one to one sessions, or in more structured training settings.
Sometimes you may need a break from caring for a child / young person for a while – be it for a couple of hours, a weekend or longer. You can arrange this yourself through your own family or close friends. If required, respite foster care can be arranged.
Training and development is an integral part of becoming a Viola foster carer, helping us recruit and retain motivated, skilled and reflective individuals and families to care for our children and young people.
Prospective carers will be expected to embrace training at the fostering pre approval part of the journey to becoming a foster carer.
As an organisation we are committed to creating a united training culture beyond preparation training and we will endeavour to provide our foster carers with a comprehensive range of training that will help to address some of challenges faced in their new role.
Fostering can be challenging, we therefore encourage foster carers to have a network of family, friends and community services. This will help to supplement the regular, formal support provided by Viola Fostering.
Our training programme includes:
During the initial phase of assessment you will be invited to attend pre approval training. This will give you the opportunity to explore whether fostering is right for you and your family. You will also get to meet and hear from foster carers doing the job and gain some awareness of the support and training which will be offered to you post approval. The pre approval course covers a range of topics such as child development, understanding the impact of early childhood experiences, attachment and bonding, understanding and coping with aspects of child abuse, and ways of saying goodbye to children.
Once approved by the Viola Fostering Services Panel, any identified learning needs will have been highlighted by the Panel. This will form part of your initial support and development package. Training will be provided to assist you in meeting the specific needs of the child/young person in your care.
As you gain experience as a foster carer it is expected that you complete the CWDC Fostering course within 18 months of approval. This is designed to help carers reflect on the early challenges of being a foster carer and provide useful guidance and support.
Areas covered in this training are:
Understanding the legal issues
Contact with birth family and the impact of fostering on your family
Safer caring guidelines
Recording and information sharing
Participation in LAC reviews
Practical and emotional impact of moves in foster care.
In addition to this core training, Viola Fostering Services offers a wide range of training opportunities for carers such as Recognising Men’s Role in Fostering, Attachment and Loss, and BehaviourManagement. Foster carers are provided with a range of venues / times and training methods suitable to their individual needs. Details of courses can be obtained through the supervising social worker. All foster carer annual reviews will undertake an assessment of the carer’s current learning needs.
Foster Carer Allowance
An allowance will be paid every 30days which covers the daily cost of caring for a child/young person. There are a number of other circumstances where additional money might be paid. The full range of payments will be explained by your supervising social worker. It is important to note that fostering allowances do not affect social security benefits.
Foster carers are free to spend food, household and travel allowances as they feel benefits the child most.
Outcomes your fostering
Our aim at Viola Fostering Services is to provide children and young people with a positive, safe and high level of support within a family environment. Our services seek to allow children and young people to develop and grow up to be healthy, receive a good education and have access to leisure interests.
Transfer of Foster Carers
There are occasions when carers are looking to change agencies, and this may be for a number of reasons. If you are an approved carer looking to change agencies, please contact us so that we can discuss your options, explain the process of transferring between agencies and let you know the benefits of being approved with Viola. Find out more by clicking here.