All prospective foster carers attend preparation training which includes an understanding of the legal framework relating to looked after children, meeting young people’s care needs, working in partnership with birth families and professionals and the impact of fostering on themselves and their families. In addition, there is mandatory training in child protection, policies and procedures, caring for a young person who has experienced sexual abuse and safe care practices.
Agencies will offer you ongoing training throughout your time as a foster carer to ensure that your skills and knowledge are kept up to date.
Foster caring can be a stressful undertaking and whichever agency you choose should offer you intensive support through a dedicated Supervising Social Worker. Your agency social worker will be a specialist in the area of fostering and family placements and have a real understanding of issues which might arise when caring for a child in your own home. These Social workers will visit you regularly and will be your point of contact with the agency.
In addition to a dedicated Supervising Social Worker you will also have access to one of the duty social workers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This guarantees that there will always be someone available to you during stressful times or in the event of an emergency.
Agencies may also offer respite breaks, where your foster child will spend a short time with another foster family; or even a dedicated support worker who takes the foster child on activities during the week. When you identify which agency is right for you, these are questions you can ask them.