Lucy Stevens - 18th May 2023
At Eastern Fostering Services, we recognise that our Foster Carers are the lifeblood of the agency. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to offer high quality care to the children we look after. We also know that the best way to ensure we provide stable fostering homes which promote the needs of the children is to look after the well-being of our foster carers.
Why is it important to nurture foster carers?
Whilst fostering is incredibly rewarding, it is hard work! We ask a lot of our foster carers. They care for some of the most vulnerable children, all of whom have experienced some degree of loss and trauma. And they do this 24/7 in their own homes. It is vital that foster carers are well supported, appreciated, respected and cared for by their fostering provider.
At Eastern Fostering Services, we know that our community of foster carers foster because they have a deep-rooted commitment to helping children and a passion for making a difference. They don’t foster for the recognition or to receive thanks. Nonetheless, we want our foster carers to know that we value them and are thankful to them for the incredible work they do.
We also want to encourage and build resilience in our foster carers. We care for them so that they have deep reservoirs from which to draw when caring for our children.
What do Eastern Fostering services do to nurture our carers?
We offer a range of well-being events and sessions for our foster carers to help them seek self-care. Here are just some of the things we provide:
Aural acupuncture – We work closely and creatively with therapist Michelle, who provides many valuable and important services to our foster carers, children and the team. She also offers aural acupuncture sessions for our foster carers. This involves the careful placing of acupuncture needles to the outer ear and can help bring balance to the nervous system and emotional equilibrium as well as being recognised to help treat pain.
Self-care experiences, e.g. Gong bath and meditation – gong baths use sound and vibration to help carers feel relaxed. Gong baths are supposed to reduce stress and remove emotional blockages. Whether you believe that or not, our carers enjoy a rare hour doing nothing whilst the sound washes over them.
Coffee mornings – coffee mornings are an opportunity for our fostering community to get together, catch up with one another and relax for a bit. Being part of a community of foster carers is a really important support mechanism that we encourage all our carers to take up.
Social events – we put on events during the school holidays. These days out are great fun for the children who are entertained by the Eastern Fostering Services team and offer the foster carers some much valued time out!
We are proud here at Eastern Fostering Services of our Nurture Lead. This is a foster carer who has specific skill in a therapeutic approach to fostering who we have asked to mentor, support and advise our foster carers as well as acting as a sounding board for carers wishing to share ideas. Our nurture lead can also signpost services and support mechanisms. Having access to a nurture lead helps our foster carers to feel better supported and better equipped to foster.
Our team of Supervising Social Workers offer regular supervision to all of our foster carers whether or not they have a child currently with them. Supervision is important to support carers in the challenges they face, to help share ideas and to ensure the needs of the carers and children are well advocated for. Our foster carers enjoy a trusting and open relationship with our social workers and we believe this is one of the main reasons we are so successful at retaining carers and delivering positive outcomes for children.
Direct work with the children and young people
We have a small team of participation workers who are on hand to spend time with the children and young people we care for. This could be spending one-to-one time with them, helping carers logistically when needed and seeking the views of children and young people to ensure we are meeting their needs. This has the added benefit of offering a breather to carers when they need it.
Training and development
At Eastern Fostering Services we offer a varied and interesting training schedule. We listen to what our foster carers tell us about their development needs and we tailor our programme accordingly. We ensure that some of this training looks at how foster carers can invest in their own well-being to help them build resilience and to ensure fostering is a positive experience for them.
Ensuring the well-being of the whole family
We know that fostering is a family affair. Many foster carers have birth children, and we understand that there is always an underlying concern that fostering should not adversely affect these important members of the fostering household. Our participation team works closely with our birth children to understand how we can support them and to develop fostering mentors for any new birth children who join the EFS community. This provides peace of mind for our foster carers and recognises the amazing contribution that the children of foster carers make.
Every month, as a team, we identify and celebrate the successes of our foster carers. We know that foster carers face challenges and that it is important to receive some recognition and thanks. We make sure that we tell our carers how well they are doing and publicly acknowledge their achievements.
Well-supported carers make for well-supported children. Eastern Fostering Services always has someone on hand to support the carers when they need it. One of the team of experienced, dedicated social workers is available to all of our foster carers 24/7/365. What’s more, as a small team, we know our carers, know our children and understand their personal circumstances. This allows us to support our carers quickly, sensitively and appropriately.
If you are interested in fostering and want to work with an agency who will nurture you and your family, get in touch with Eastern Fostering Services at email@example.com, enquire via our website or get in touch via Facebook.