Support and Supervision

Standards & Regulations

Fostering Services National Minimum Standards (England) 2011:

Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care:


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Supervision Meetings
  3. What Your Fostering Social Worker Will Do

1. Introduction

You will face many challenges when you become a foster carer and you will also feel very rewarded when you see a child progress in a positive way. Once approved you will be allocated a Fostering Social Worker.

Supervision is an important part of practice and as foster carers it is considered a key part of your training and development and an opportunity to reflect and learn from fostering experiences. Supervision also allows you time to consider complex case dilemmas and give you space to think through and share strategies and ways of helping a child in placement with your Supervising Social Worker.

There will also be a number of other places in which you can get support from including;

Support groups

Support groups are well established in Kent and provide you with an opportunity to meet other carers and share your experiences of fostering, concerns and ideas and to undertake learning together.

They are particularly important for new carers who can learn from those with greater experience and for more experienced carers who are able to shares their experiences with others.

There is an expectation that you will attend support groups regularly.

Each new foster carer will be provided with the dates, times and venues of local support groups, together with contact names and numbers.


Buddy System

The Fostering Service operates a ‘buddy’ system, where new carers, or more experienced carer, can be put in touch with someone who has greater experience of fostering, or greater experience within a particular field, with a specific behaviour, etc. Please ask your fostering social worker for details.


Out of Hours Service

The Out of Hours Service can offer advice or assistance to ensure that those who are vulnerable are not placed at risk through having to wait until the offices open. Anyone can phone the Out of Hours Service for advice or assistance. A trained Telephonist will answer any call, take some details and then pass this on to the Duty Social Worker. The Duty Social Worker will then call you back (Social Services Out of Hours Service - 03000 419 191).


Fostering Out of Hours Service

The Fostering Service provides an emergency service between 5.00 pm and midnight each day and 9.00 am to midnight at weekend and Bank Holidays. The fostering social worker is available to offer advice and assistance to you in emergencies and to work alongside the Out of  Hours Service should a placement need to be identified outside office hours.

If you are interested in becoming an emergency foster carer please discuss this with your fostering social worker.


Kent Foster Care Association

This is a free service run by volunteers who are Kent foster carers. The Association can be accessed via the website (www.kfca.org.uk), by e-mailing support@kfca.org.uk or by calling 0705 0641943.


FosterTalk

This is a not-for-profit organisation focused on providing high quality, professional, independent support to foster care households. As a KCC foster carer you will automatically be enrolled as a member and have access to a number of services including telephone legal advice and telephone counselling service. Foster Talk also offer a range of discounted products and services details can be found on their website www.fostertalk.org.


Fostering Network

Foster carers can become members of The Fostering Network - cost per individual/family £37 per annum. The ‘phone number of the Fostering Network is 0207 620 6400 and their website is accessible at www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/

The Fostering Network is able to provide insurance cover, research updates, access to a 24 hour legal advice line, magazines, independent support, and a help-line.


Fosterline (0800 0407675)

This is a confidential advice line for foster carers, which provides independent and impartial advice about fostering issues. It is funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and run in association with the Fostering Network their website is accessible at www.fosterline.info.


Complaints

Kent County Council and the County Fostering Service aim to provide a high quality service for all its users at all time. However, if at any time you are dissatisfied with the services you receive, you have the right to complain. A leaflet explaining the Complaints Service is accessible on the Kent County Council website or you can contact the Customer Care Manager at:
Customer Care,
Kroner House,
Eurogate Business Park,
Ashford,
TN24 8XU

The Fostering Social Worker is responsible for ensuring you have the necessary guidance and support. This will include an understanding about working within the National Minimum Standards for Fostering and all the fostering service's policies, procedures and guidance.

It is the social worker for the child/young person in the foster placement who holds responsibility for specific advice or support for the child and his or her Care Plan and Placement Plan.


2. Supervision Meetings

Frequency of supervision meetings will be agreed between the foster carer and the supervising social worker and as appears necessary in the interest of the children placed with them. Your allocated Fostering Social Worker will agree times and dates, each session will be recorded and you should receive a copy.

Supervision should be seen as a two way process to:

  • Ensure you are taking into account the child's wishes and feelings;
  • Ensure you have the opportunity to discuss any placements you have;
  • Help you to identify possible solutions to any issues;
  • Discuss any issues you may be having with your own children;
  • Ensure you understand how you contribute to Children Services objectives;
  • Give you feedback on your work to make sure you have the right skills and competencies;
  • Ensure you are accessing relevant training and resources and are working towards achieving the Training, Support and Development Standards within a year of approval;
  • Ensure you are working within the National Minimum Standards for fostering;
  • Sort out any financial or practical issues;
  • Keep you updated about new policies, procedures, training and good practice.

A Supervision Agreement should be completed.

The supervision meetings will be an important part of collecting information for your annual review as a foster carer. The supervision session will be confidential; however, the Fostering Social Worker will discuss relevant information with the child's social worker, or other professionals working with the child or family.

As a foster carer, you are seen as a professional and both you and the Fostering Social Worker are expected to work within a framework of respect, honesty and trust.

Supervision helps you to evidence how you are developing, meeting the induction Standards and providing an appropriate placement for the child/young person.

Supervision is a two way process. You too have a responsibility for preparing for your supervision, consider the time and areas you wish to discuss, and actions form the last meeting. It is important that you also raise any issues and any tasks that need to be undertaken i.e. Annual Reviews; DBS checks.

If you are not happy in any way with the arrangement or content of supervision, speak to your Fostering Social Worker or a manager from the fostering service.

It is vital that at least some of the supervisions include all registered carers in the household.

Your Fostering Social Worker will do at least one unannounced visit per year. The main purpose of the unannounced visit will be to look at the home environment that a child is living in. This visit will be recorded.

You will be provided with information about what support will be available from the fostering service outside office hours, including the contact details.


3. What Your Fostering Social Worker Will Do

Your Fostering Social Worker should ensure the following tasks are done:

After Approval

  1. Ensure you complete the induction programme and that your support, development and training needs are assessed and met so that you meet the standards and achieve the Training, Support and Development Standards certificate of completion by your first annual review, or soon after if extra support is required;
  2. Give the Foster Care Agreement to you: 2 copies to be signed and one returned and placed on your file;
  3. Support you with any specialist issues for disabled children for e.g. support in completing applications for relevant entitlements;
  4. Your Fostering Manager will allocate a "Buddy" for you from an experienced carer and link you into the local support group.

Before Placement

  1. Complete risk assessments surrounding bedroom sharing (each child over 3 has their own bedroom or, where this is not possible, the sharing of the bedroom has been agreed by the child’s social worker, based on particular individual circumstances and agreed by the Service Manager);
  2. Discuss and check equipment (especially in the child’s bedroom) and ensure it is appropriate to the age of the child to be placed;
  3. Take part in discussions about potential placements and planning meetings;
  4. Ensure that the child's social worker gives you full information about children, including a history of abuse or suspected abuse and the reason for the placement;
  5. Discuss contact with birth parents and family members;
  6. Discuss how the child’s health needs are promoted and how children should be encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle;
  7. Help you in dealing with services such as health and education;
  8. Help you with training needs for safer care practice, including skills to care for children who have been abused or training on issues affecting disabled children;
  9. Discuss financial issues with you: allowances, pocket money, leisure activities, toiletries and travelling and the importance of your insurance policy;
  10. Find out about holiday plans you have made, and whether the child is going with you? If not the child’s social worker must be informed so alternative arrangements can be made;
  11. Exchange contact numbers with all relevant members of the family, including out of hours support;
  12. Ensure that arrangements are made for the provision of specialist equipment for disabled children;
  13. Set a date for a first visit after a child is placed with you.

During Placement

  1. Check and follow up on all issues raised during the placement planning. Discuss any concerns with you and ensure appropriate support is provided straight away rather than waiting for reviews;
  2. Consider your support needs during the placement;
  3. Take part in any Strategy Meetings and Section 47 Enquiry relating to your foster family. Be involved in interviews/support as agreed if allegations are made against you;
  4. Ensure you receive invitations to a child’s Child in Care Reviews and Child Protection Conferences, and attend when appropriate;
  5. Prepare for and attend your Review meetings;
  6. Ensure the training programme is updated and accessed by you and your family and children;
  7. Monitor your role in achieving the outcomes of the Care Plan;
  8. Visit regularly;
  9. Make unannounced visits as required;
  10. Update Disclosure and Barring Service checks on members of your family every three years, including those reaching 18, and other persons who come to live at the home, who are 18 or over;
  11. Update medicals on you as necessary;
  12. Record all contact with you;
  13. Assess and review any health and safety issues within the fostering household including the addition of any new pets and the environment in which they are kept;
  14. Provide reports for panel as required under the relevant procedures;
  15. Where appropriate contribute to Court Reports as agreed with child’s social worker;
  16. Discuss how you can support young people into adulthood.

At the End of a Placement

  1. Support your family in what can be a difficult time;
  2. Discuss with you and your family all the issues that have led to any unplanned end of a placement and identify any learning opportunities;
  3. Support you to complete an end of placement report;
  4. Attend Placement Disruption Meetings as required.

If your Fostering Social Worker has any concerns about your care or feels you need extra support, they will not wait until supervision meetings or reviews but deal with any issues as they arise.