Entering the world of fostering means that you will start to hear a number of terms and phrases related to the care system and fostering a child. It can be a bit confusing at first, so here’s a quick guide to help you understand. This is part of the Fostering Manchester series of articles.
This is a payment a foster carer receives from a local authority or an independent fostering agency for looking after a child placed in their care. It is often paid monthly or fortnightly and is used by the carer to pay for food, clothing, pocket money, and other such things that the young person needs. The allowance for caring for a teenager, or a young person with behavioural problems will be paid at a higher rate.
When somebody decides to become a foster carer, they go through a comprehensive series of checks to make sure that they can provide a safe environment for a child placed with them. The process usually takes up to 6 months before being finally approved by a fostering panel.
Every child in care has their own care plan which has been drawn up by all the professionals involved in their care. It lists the individual needs of the young person and provides suggestions as to how these needs can be met by foster carers. It is a document that changes over time as the young person develops.
Each local council or authority has a department that deals specifically with children and young people, including those in the care system. Every looked-after child will have a designated social worker to oversee their care, who works in ‘Children’s Services’ of the local authority where the young person comes from.
This describes a person who is associated with the child in care. They may be a family member, a friend, or anybody else who is known to the child.
It is the aim that most children in foster care will eventually return to the care of their own family, if it becomes sufficiently safe and appropriate. So while they are in foster care, and if it is safe to do so, it is important that the child maintains relationships with family members by visiting them on a regular basis.
This is one of a number of articles in the Fostering Manchester Series. We will also run similar series based on Fostering Liverpool, Fostering Lancashire, Fostering Chester, Fostering Cheshire, Fostering Stockport.