Fostering service providers will be bracing themselves for a very different world over the next few months and into 2021. There is likely to be a change in the ‘recruitment landscape’: the same basic considerations facts will remain. Caring for children is something that demands dedication, patience and commitment. Anyone caring for a child will know that the emotional demands can also be high. All fostering agencies make this clear right from the start. They also are right in saying that both fostering and adoption can be incredibly rewarding. There is a foster care allowance and many private agencies (IFAs) make additional discretionary payments. How much do you get for fostering is a question often asked. There are no ‘one-size-fits-all’ and benefits can differ between agencies themselves and the local authorities.
Foster care is bound by a whole series of fostering regulations. This is something that foster carers and all UK fostering organisations make clear. Fostering children is a job like no other and currently, there is a shortfall of over 8,000 UK foster families. This means that there is a challenge for all the fostering networks to find new carers. Many have argued that the role of the foster carers needs to be professionalised. As time goes on and finding new fostering applicants becomes more challenging, it’s likely this will start to happen. And it will be this that could lead to new methodologies for attracting and recruiting foster carers. With many children and young people – over 65% – coming into care having suffered trauma, higher levels of training and experience are going to be called for. This will become an important pre-requisite for applicants. It serves no useful purpose recruiting people who will not be able to cope with what are very real demands. This only leads to the inevitability of placement breakdowns and foster carer resignations. The local authorities are bracing themselves for a flood of young people coming into care who the schools return and they become ‘visible’. A foster home is going to become a scarce commodity. And not just any home. What is going to be required moving forward is to attract people into fostering who want the chance to achieve professional status. People who are likely to actively seek a challenge which is exactly that. It’s likely that politicians and policymakers are going to need to adjust their thinking. And the same goes for most of the rest of us who have only a vague idea of what foster care involves. There is; many contend, a parallel with social care. This has been the cinderella service which has largely been ignored by all political parties. The pandemic has changed all that. Because of the numbers of elderly people who lost their lives in care homes, social care provision is now firmly in the public eye. The same is likely to happen in relation to fostering if providers cannot adequately meet what could be an explosion in demand. In this new world, genuine progress is going to be dependent upon the widespread adoption of therapeutic care. So what exactly is this…
A significant number of children are coming into care who have experienced trauma – this is increasing. Many may have been neglected or abused. This can make it really hard for them to trust other people and build future relationships. This can result in behaviours that are particularly challenging because their needs are so complex. Depression, anger or withdrawn behaviour can be extremely common amongst such children. In such instances, it is essential a child is placed with a foster carer who has been trained in therapeutic care. Whilst in placement, a child may receive additional therapy, which can, hopefully, enable them to overcome the traumatic experiences they have undergone.
What exactly does therapeutic care involve?
No two cases are ever alike – for some children and young people, a programme of ongoing therapy may be required. And this will involve one of our psychologists. The number of sessions may vary from child to child.
Through the training, the foster carer will begin to develop a deeper understanding of the underlying reasons for a child’s behaviour. They will be enabled to then play a key role in supporting a programme of therapy in the home. Therapeutic foster carers, crucially, provide consistent care, knowledge and support. This is what guards against placement breakdowns.
How is a therapeutic care placement managed?
Rainbow provides intensive support for our carers: our therapeutic assessment programme establishes where clinical input may be needed in a particular case. All placements are closely monitored by our specialist team and support is available day and night. We also offer foster carers the chance to obtain further qualifications to build their professional skills. Rates of pay are higher for therapeutic foster carers.
The difference a therapeutic carer can achieve?
Perhaps everything – certainly as seen through the eyes of the child who has been helped, to start to enjoy friendships and feel a sense of self-esteem – perhaps for the first time in their lives. A therapeutic foster carer can truly alter the course of a young life. Being given consistent understanding – along with support – can enable a child to develop socially improving their educational prospects.
There’s never been a better time to train to be a therapeutic foster carer.
Rainbow is looking for families able to provide a loving home for vulnerable children and teenagers. We especially need individuals who will be committed to sharing their lives and supporting children – many of whom are traumatised when they come into care. Rainbow also needs homes from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Foster carers can be any gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. They can be married, cohabiting, single or divorced.
To foster, there is one condition: you must have a spare room available in your house or flat for a child or young person. You do not, however, need to be a homeowner.
There are new career opportunities in Rainbow Fostering London; Rainbow Foster care Birmingham; Rainbow Foster care Manchester and Rainbow Foster care Hampshire – contact us to take your first steps on your foster care journey. Call our National Line 0330 311 2845.
And if you are seriously considering becoming a foster carer, visit our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page. This covers many of the common questions asked by applicants. We shall, of course, be delighted to answer whatever questions you might have. http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/frequent-asked-questions/
To make sure you and your family remain safe, please visit the site below for the latest advice and guidance – https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus