Requirements of a foster carer
You will need to do all you can to support children and young people to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy life, achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic wellbeing. These are universal ambitions for every child and young person, whatever their background or circumstances.
(A helpful acronym to remember this is SHEEP - Every child shall be: Safe, Healthy, Enjoy/Achieve, Economic, Positive contribution).
Attend meetings and manage information
As well as the day-to-day care of the child(ren), you will attend meetings with social workers and other professionals about the child(ren) in your care, keep written records, and manage information that is confidential and sensitive. You will help make plans for a child's future.
When a child is no longer able to live with their family or with the people they are used to, it is a traumatic experience for them, whatever their age. Children and young people in foster care may display difficult or challenging behaviour as a way of coping with life events. As a foster carer, you need to be able to recognise the possible causes of such behaviour and, with our support, develop strategies to help the child or young person manage their feelings and experiences.
Promote contact with families
Contact with their own families is very important to children and young people in foster care. As a foster carer, you will need to help maintain this if it is felt to be appropriate. Contact can be either face to face or via telephone calls, emails or letters and you will receive training to help you manage this.
You must be able to communicate effectively, not only with children and young people, but with social workers, the child(ren)'s birth families and others concerned with their wellbeing.
Commit time and energy
You will need to have time and energy to invest in a child or young person.
All new foster carers receive training before being approved. During your time as a foster carer, you can develop your skills by attending a training session or conference, seeking advice from another foster carer, social worker or other professional, or by reading or undertaking e-learning.
Work in a team
A team approach is necessary to help children cope with separation, loss, abuse and neglect, settle in long-term foster care or move on to adoption. Foster carers link to a large network of people - social workers, children's families, schools, health care workers, counsellors, designated teachers and the fostering service, as well as other foster carers.
Initial skills to foster training
There is a 3 day preparation course that all prospective carers must complete before being approved as foster carers. Social workers provide the training course, with input from foster carers and former looked after children. The course is offered at intervals during the year and is held over a fortnight (usually a Tuesday, Saturday and the following Wednesday during the daytime)
Foster Carer Training Programme
We provide an annual training programme, which consists of:
- Post Approval training – Pathways Through Fostering, and;
- continuing development training.
All newly-approved foster carers will be supported to complete the required CWDC (Children's Workforce Development Council) portfolio within their first year of approval.
Training is an opportunity to learn new skills and meet up with other foster carers to share and learn from their experiences.
Free phone: 0800 064 1000