Have you always wanted to foster children but been worried about giving up your current career and reduced income? Do you have experience working with children and young people? Are you in a position to ‘change a child’s story' by offering them a long term and permanent home?
If so, then our new Step Forward to fostering could be the perfect career opportunity for you.
After the successful recruitment of many ‘link carers’ in Somerset, Step Forward to Fostering is the exciting next phase being delivered by Somerset County Council aimed at recruiting long term foster carers for children and young people who are ready to leave residential care to live with long term fostering families. This specialist fostering is fee paid, and together with allowances, offers carers around £773 per week.
Fostering has certainly changed our lives, and it can be a challenge at times, but then so can parenting in general. And I have to say, the rewards at the end far outweigh any bumps in the road.
Somerset Foster Carer
What would being a ‘step forward’ carer involve?
We strongly believe every child and young person has the right to experience a positive family life. We currently have many children and young people living in residential settings who are in need of a fostering family, however due to a national shortage of carers, this is not currently possible for them. The majority of our children who are ready to leave residential care already have a ‘link carer’ in place, which formed 'phase one' of our Step Forward scheme.
A link carer is a carer who has also made a long -term commitment to a child in residential care by offering them regular day care and overnight stays to help prepare them for when their long-term fostering family is found. Our link carers will continue to offer this level of support to the young person after they have moved in with their fostering family. We refer to this way of fostering as being like ‘an extended fostering family' for a child.
This innovative way of fostering not only allows for a young person to have continued relationship and regular overnight stays with their link carer, it also supports both fostering families to work side by side being jointly involved in care plans for the child / access joint training / support groups and social activities. Research is showing that an ‘extended foster model’ can strengthen the relationships between carers, children and young people, fostering services and birth families therefore giving our children and young people a more stable and positive experience within foster care.
I'm so proud of everything our foster children have achieved in the short time they've been with us. They all found themselves in care through no fault of their own, and life can be really tough for these young people.
Somerset Foster Carer
Our offer to you....
The ARC fostering service has been developed with the view of providing a bespoke wraparound package of support to our long term carers (and link carers when needed) who are caring for children stepping forward from residential care. This is to help build a positive and robust relationship between both sets of carers and the child, in recognition that our carers are key individuals in supporting children to recover from developmental trauma. This support to the carers is further bolstered by the team working directly with the child, the child’s birth family (where appropriate), and their school, in order to promote consistent approaches in line with therapeutic care.
Click here to find out more information about the ARC fostering team and how they will support you.
In addition to the support of the ARC team and a generous professional fee, carers will access weekly support meetings, trauma informed training and access to our out of hours carer support line.
What we need from you....
Above all, we need carers who are willing to help a child recover from the trauma they have experienced in their earlier lives by parenting them in a therapeutic way. These children need high levels of empathy, compassion and understanding alongside consistent routines and boundaries.
We are looking for carers who have experience of caring for children and young people. It is also preferable they have experience of working alongside children in a professional capacity.
Through a robust assessment process, carers will need to demonstrate key qualities such as resilience and determination, high levels of curiosity and empathy, and a good level of self-awareness and reflective capacity.
Somerset’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing Team will contribute to the assessment process of Step Forward carers. This will help provide a psychological oversight of carers skills, qualities and life experiences, to explore the suitability of carers who are willing to offer some of our most complex children stable and permanent homes.
In addition to the above qualities, carers will need to be able to:
- Drive and have access to a car.
- Be available full time to foster once they are approved, and be available to attend all relevant meetings in relation to the child
- Be committed to ongoing training and development
- Demonstrate dedication, willingness and a commitment to care for children in line with the principles of therapeutic parenting.
- Work effectively and closely with all the important people in a young person’s life, including their link carer
How do I apply or just find out more?
You're not committing to anything by getting in touch, but we would love to hear from anyone interested in Step Forward fostering. To register your interest please contact our friendly Recruitment Team on 0800 587 9900 or email AandFRecruitment@somerset.gov.uk for an initial chat.
Please be sure to mention Step Forward fostering when you contact us.
We look forward to talking to you!