Lucy Stevens - 26th May 2023
This Foster Care Fortnight, we’re taking a look at Fostering Communities and celebrating the role they play in successful fostering.
At Eastern Fostering Services, we recognise that one of the most important functions of all fostering communities is to offer support to foster carers and the children and young people they care for.
So, today we want to look at take a look at the Eastern Fostering Services team and the role it plays as a vital Fostering Community.
Who is the Eastern Fostering Services team?
The team at Eastern Fostering Services is small but perfectly formed. In every area of the agency, we have been able to attract people who are passionate about children and the opportunities fostering can give them when done well.
Supervising social worker community
We have a team of Supervising Social Workers supporting carers across Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. Their role is to support and advocate for our carers and the children they care for. They offer carers regular supervision in which carers are able to share the successes of the children, seek advice, share any concerns, ask for help to communicate with other professionals or identify additional areas for training and development. One of the social work team is always available outside of office hours, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our team of social workers pride themselves on the relationships they build with carers, which allow honesty, transparency and an ability to secure the best possible outcomes for children.
The social workers accompany carers to all professionals’ meetings and support carers in their communications with other professionals to ensure the voice of the child is heard.
Children and young people’s participation community
Our participation team works directly with the children and young people to build relationships with them and to ensure that we always hear their voices. They hold a regular forum for young people called Choices for Young Voices which enables the young people to discuss issues that affect them and how they would like Eastern Fostering Services to advocate for them. The team also works with birth children who have their own forum My Best Fostering Family so that they have a space to build further relationships and ensure they get the support they need. Both groups of young people have regular opportunities to mix together at Eastern Fostering Services events and many of them have formed really close bonds!
We have a team of very hard-working administrators who ensure that the significant amount of paperwork required of fostering providers is all in order. There are strict regulations which all fostering providers must comply with, and it is important that records are kept complete and up to date.
The team also make sure that we communicate well with our carers and children so that they know what training, events or fun days are organised and when. The admin team is a key part of the fostering agency, supporting carers to manage the paperwork that is associated with fostering. We’re happy to be able to thank them and celebrate them this Foster Care Fortnight.
All foster carers receive a weekly allowance for fostering so that they can support the practical, material and emotional needs of the children they care for. Making sure that all carers receive the correct allowance and expenses on time is no mean feat. Yet our team does it seemingly effortlessly.
As a fostering agency, Eastern Fostering Services feel strongly that we should plough finances back into the children. We do this by providing therapeutic services, direct workers, days out, social events and focus groups. Our accounts team helps us to recognise where we need to put resources and when. None of this would be possible without our financial whizz kids!
When we accept your application to foster with us, we assign you your own assessor. We use a number of current or former social workers so that we can choose the one we feel best suited to work with you as an individual to produce your Form F.
Assessors need to be warm, sensitive, thorough, tenacious, analytical, strong communicators, diligent and organised. They need to have a lot of expert knowledge around fostering and its requirements. The assessment needs to be thorough so that panel have all the information they need and yet it also needs to be managed as sensitively as possible with potential carers to create an open, trusting space. Not an easy balance! Yet our team does this with great skill.
The placing of children with foster carers is a vital part of the fostering process. We take matching extremely seriously at Eastern Fostering Services. Whilst in many ways you don’t truly know if fostering is going to work for you until you start living it, we can give it the best chance of success. We do this by getting to know you, your circumstances, your strengths and your motivations. When we then receive requests for foster carers for specific children and young people, we have a good idea of whether they are a potential match. We will always ask for your input, check what questions or concerns you have and try and get as much information about the children as is possible. Foster carers always have the right to say no to a child they don’t feel is a match and this in itself helps us to refine our matching.
We always need more foster carers! Attracting new carers is something every member of the Eastern Fostering Services community takes responsibility for, including our carers!
“We think you are an exceptional agency and always feel like part of a welcoming family.”
You can find out more about the Eastern Fostering Services Community here.