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Lucy Stevens - 18th June 2021
We believe fostering has a huge role to play in society. Foster carers look after some of our most vulnerable children. It is massively rewarding but requires grit, determination, and commitment.
Having good fostering support from your provider is essential in ensuring a successful and enjoyable fostering experience, not just for carers but for the children and young people too. If you’re starting out on your fostering journey, here are some things you’ll need to think about when deciding which fostering provider to go for.
Children don’t stick to office hours. Support should be available whenever you need it.
The life of a foster carer can be unpredictable at times. When you foster, you need to know that you can access the same quality of support at any time of the day or night. Many of our carers tell us that having a small team who knows all the carers and children, means that they get great support no matter what time they need it or who they speak to. Eastern Fostering Services offers 24/7/365 support in the form of our social work team, all of whom you will get to know when you foster with us.
Foster carers need and indeed must be given regular supervision. Supervision with your Supervising Social Worker is essential to maintain your wellbeing, the wellbeing of the child and to support the longevity of the fostering relationship. During supervision you will discuss the needs and progress of the child. You will also discuss how you are and what additional support you may need as a foster carer. Supervision sessions are an important way to share ideas, talk things through and gain perspective.
No-one can truly understand fostering better than a fellow foster carer! Being part of an open and welcoming community of foster carers is key to successful fostering. At Eastern Fostering Services we have a wonderful community of foster carers across Essex, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire. We offer coffee mornings and gatherings for carers to share with one another, build relationships and be inspired by one another. You can meet some of our carers here.
Training and development
When it comes to fostering, you definitely learn on the job, but there are lots of things you can learn along the way in a training context. Good training helps you to feel confident and opens your mind to new perspectives and methods of working with children. There is some training which is mandatory, such as First Aid and Safeguarding. Good fostering providers will also provide additional training throughout the year to help you be the best foster carer you can be. Eastern Fostering Services provides a mix of face-to-face training (when restrictions allow) and online training. This allows carers a good degree of flexibility. Supervising social workers will help you to identify any training needs. However, carers can also request training in areas they are interested in or in which they would like to specialise.
Don’t be afraid to ask – choose a provider you connect with
When you are choosing a fostering provider to foster with, don’t be afraid to ask what support they will offer. Ask if you can speak to one of their carers to get a feel for the level and quality of support they receive. You will be building important relationships with the team and with the other carers so it’s important that you sense a rapport from the beginning. Good fostering providers, like Eastern Fostering Services always put the children at the centre of everything and will recognise that the best way to do this is to cherish and support their carers.
In focus: Meet Sam, Supervising Social Worker, Eastern Fostering Services
Sam is one of our Supervising Social workers who supports foster carers in Essex. She tells us what she loves about working with Eastern Fostering Services’ foster carers and why her role is so important.
“I joined EFS as a student social worker; it was one of my work placements. I knew the team really cared about the children and the carers and I felt it was a great place to work and really make a difference to children. A few years after qualifying I returned and now get to work with some fantastic carers helping them to care for some fantastic children and young people.
Being a Supervising Social Worker at Eastern Fostering Services allows me to really help carers and children in creative ways. As a team, we share ideas and support one another to really make a difference to the children we care for. Being a small agency, we get to know the carers and children really well and can build meaningful relationships with them. I just love getting to know the kids, watching them thrive and grow and seeing how rewarding that is for the carers.
Of course, there are challenges too. Fostering is never straight forward! The children we look after are often experiencing loss and trauma and this can play out in any number of ways. With the support of the team, we overcome these challenges and it does mean there is never a dull moment. It’s nice to be able to make a positive impact during the really tough times.
In my view fostering plays such a crucial role in helping children to overcome their adverse experiences. Having stability, safety and some good nurturing can really make a huge difference to the future outcomes for young people. Of course these positive outcomes are won largely by the foster carers. I am always inspired by our carers and how much they give to the children. Nonetheless, without the support of a good fostering provider, like Eastern Fostering Services, it can be really hard for carers to advocate for children and ensure the best decisions are made in their interests. Good support is vital to allow carers to give their very best. I am really thankful that I can be a part of something so meaningful.”
Looking for more support and a new foster carer family then did you know you can transfer over and join the Eastern Fostering Services family today. Why not drop us a message to find out more. Our team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can get in touch via the form. We also hold regular information events and offer virtual meetings – details of these are on our Facebook page.