Being a foster carer can be an incredibly rewarding and exciting experience. However, with no two days the same, it can also feel intimidating and challenging at times. So, to ensure carers can provide the absolute best support for the vulnerable children in their care, there is a wealth of help for foster carers available.
While the care a foster parent provides will be predominately at home, there will be a full team of Support Workers available around the clock to provide guidance, support and assistance. Alongside this, there is a variety of other help on offer, including financial benefits and emotional support.
Interested in finding out what you can expect? Read on as we explore exactly what foster carer support is available.
In your role as a foster carer, the formal support you receive will be extensive, covering your own training and development, alongside 24/7 assistance with any issues or queries.
24/7 telephone support
One of the biggest initial concerns from prospective foster carers is often how they’ll cope when they welcome their placements, and what they’ll do in the unlikely scenario where something goes wrong.
Should that ever be the case, or if you need any form of advice, there is 24-hour telephone support available, seven days a week. They’ll be able to help you with immediate advice on any scenario, along with providing any information you may need.
Alongside 24/7 telephone support, as a foster carer, you’ll have access to a vast range of other care support. For instance, your Support Worker will visit you and your foster child regularly. For the first six weeks, this will be weekly to ensure you’re both settled and comfortable, before becoming monthly.
Prior to their arrival, you’ll also be supported with a Placement Plan, outlining how the transition process will go to ensure everything goes smoothly. Your Support Worker will also liaise closely with the child’s social worker and assist you in dealing with other organisations, such as the child’s school, medical care and therapists.
When caring for older children, you’ll receive extensive support in preparing the child for independent living. You’ll be guided on what skills they’ll need and how to support them in gaining that knowledge, such as encouraging them to cook at home, clean and handle finances.
On top of that, more practical foster carer support is available. For example, if you need transport assistance, the Olive Branch team will work with you to find a solution to ensure your foster child is able to get to their appointments. Similar help is on offer for things such as finance and equipment.
To ensure foster carers are able to feel confident and capable when handling any situation, ongoing training and development is available. This ranges from mandatory training sessions that cover children’s needs, health and safety and how to cope in a range of scenarios.
There is also additional training available which is designed to empower foster carers in delivering care for more complex and specialist needs. These include courses on challenging topics such as domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and long-term neglect.
Life as a foster parent is much more than providing a safe and supportive environment and delivering care. As such, the help for foster carers goes much further than practical support, and there are more informal services on offer that are designed to assist in coping with the role in an emotional sense.
As a foster carer, you can access a full calendar of social events that will provide you with the opportunity to meet up with other, likeminded individuals, while giving foster children the chance to make friends. Olive Branch Fostering’s family fun days range from barbecues in the local area to trips to a theme park.
With fostering being an often-challenging role, many foster carers benefit from accessing the support groups available to them. The sessions are designed to give carers the opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings and emotions in a safe space, helping them to deal with any stress or anxiety they may be experiencing.
Support groups also provide the opportunity to make new friends, find fostering mentors who can share their experiences and advice and socialise with others.
Another primary concern when becoming a foster carer is how you’ll cope financially. Having extra mouths to feed and clothe without being able to do a standard 9-5 role can be a worry for many.
However, fostering is a fully paid professional role, and you’ll be able to access a range of financial support to ensure you can deliver the best for those in your care.
Promptly paid fees
Foster carers who work with Olive Branch Fostering are paid per child, based on their experience. Rather than basing our fees on the age of the child, our carers start at £321 a week, which then rises each year they foster with us.
As with any other job, you are also entitled to 25 days of paid holiday. During the days you would like to take off, any placements who are staying with you will be welcomed into the home of a respite carer who will ensure they are well cared for.
Understandably, for some children, respite stays with another carer can be challenging. However, these transitions are prepared and planned thoroughly to ensure it is as non-disruptive as possible, so you will have little to worry about. In many instances, your foster children will be invited to meet the respite carers before their stay to ensure they feel comfortable and welcomed.
Becoming a foster carer
With a wealth of support, advice and assistance available, there’s no need to be worried or concerned about becoming a foster carer. Every step of the way, you’ll be able to access a helping hand that will guide you in transforming the life of a young, vulnerable person.
Whether you’re ready to start your fostering journey or want to find out more about life as a foster carer, our friendly team are available to chat. Simply call us on 01706 558910 or drop us an email and we’ll get right back to you.