Working with Families and other Professionals


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Child/Young Person's Social Worker
  3. The Independent Reviewing Officer
  4. Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  5. The Child in Care Nurse
  6. Out of Hours Team
  7. 24-hour Foster Carer Helpline
  8. County Adoption Team
  9. 18+ Care Leavers Service


1. Introduction

As a professional foster carer you have an important part to play in the lives of children and families that you may work with.

Some children who are Looked After will go home, so it’s important for them to keep their relationships with parents and other family members.

It is generally expected that parents or other relatives will  visit a child in your home, or the child’s social worker may feel these meetings should take place somewhere else. Contact will be set out in the child’s Placement Plan and Care Plan. It is important that you develop an open and honest relationship with the parents and at all times they know that the child is the most important person and their well-being is being looked after by you.

This will be difficult for parents so you need to ensure you work sensitively with them. Sometimes no matter what they have done, a child will continue to love their parents; you should never speak about parents in a negative way.

During your time as a foster carer, you will also work alongside many other professionals including your Fostering Social Worker as part of a team around the child/young person that makes sure their child’s needs are met and developed and they are safe from harm.

Professionals will include amongst others:


2. The Child/Young Person's Social Worker

Each child or young person placed in foster care will have a social worker

Their role is to:

  • Assess the needs of a child;
  • Develop a relationship with the child;
  • Plan for the child and regularly review that plan;
  • Work with you, the child and the child’s family;
  • Share information with you;
  • Identify and obtain resources so that the child’s needs are met;
  • Visit the child at the foster home within one week of the placement and then at least every six weeks for the first year. Thereafter, where the placement is intended to last until the child is aged 18, at intervals of not more than three months, and in any other case, at intervals of not more than six weeks.

Education:

Each school will have a designated teacher for Looked After Children. You should work with the educational settings to make sure the child is achieving what they should and that they have aspirations for their future. You will need to keep them informed of the child’/young person’s situation. You will also work with VSK (Virtual School Kent) if you feel that a child is having difficulties or is not in full time education.


3. The Independent Reviewing Officer

Each child or young person placed in foster care will have an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO). Wherever it is possible, IRO will meet the child before the first Child in Care Review.

Sibling groups, whether or not placed together, should usually have the same IRO who will be allocated for the duration that the child is looked after.

The IRO has two roles: chairing a child’s Child in Care Review and monitoring a child’s case on an ongoing basis. They can be a good source of support to you if needed when plans for a child are not going how they should although it is the child’s social worker you should try to speak to first.


4. Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

The Child and Adolescent Health Service takes referrals for Children in Care. Some of these children due to their experiences may have higher levels of behavioural, emotional and mental health problems. Your role will be to highlight any issues of concern about a child/young person that may result in the need to refer to this service. The referral will be made by the child’s social worker. If the service is needed, you should make sure appointments are kept and work with professionals from the service.


5. The Child in Care Nurse

You will work alongside the Child in Care Nurse who is part of VSK and other health professionals to make sure the health needs of Children in Care are met.


6. Out of Hours Team

The service is open at night and at weekends. They operate a call service and will respond to you as soon as possible. If no one is available when you ring, leave a message. You must contact the police first if you feel you, your family or foster child are in any danger.

You can contact a Fostering Social Worker after office hours until midnight if you have an emergency from midnight onwards you can call the Out of Hours team above.


7. 24-hour Foster Carer Helpline

As a member of Foster talk you will have access to their 24 hour help line, access to this helpline is provided as part of your welcome pack and phone numbers can be found when you log into your account on their website.


8. County Adoption Team

The Adoption Team is responsible for finding adoptive families for children who cannot remain with their birth families. They will look at the child’s background, health and any special needs and find the right adoptive family. When the adoptive family is linked with a child, they have a period of introductions before the child goes to live with them. You will play an important role in supporting the child through this time and introductions. It is important that the child sees you working alongside the adoptive parents. You can also give valuable advice and support to the adoptive parents who will be feeling anxious about getting it right. Your Fostering Social Worker will guide you through this and should be contacted if you have any concerns.


9. 18+ Care Leavers Service

During a young person’s transition to adulthood you will work with the 18+ care leavers service. This will include helping children with their Pathway Plan and leaving care.