Under our new scheme, introduced on 1 October 2018, foster carers will benefit extra support:
- Increased intensive therapeutic support and training for all foster carers and supervising social workers.
- Dedicated clinical psychologists and mental health coordinators for each quadrant (within the next three years).
- The introduction of increased local support schemes in each quadrant to including a better process for providing respite for foster families and children placed.
- Increased opportunities for carers to be supported financially to extend their homes to provide more capacity.
There is a comprehensive programme of training available to foster carers in Essex, including face-to-face training, e-learning and distance learning opportunities.
A range of support is available to you as and when you need it.
The Oasis Network for foster carers provides support, respite and advice from an experienced carer and mentor.
All Essex foster carers have membership to the Fostering Network, paid for by the local authority.
The Fostering Network provides newsletters and regular information, consultation, updates on national developments and training.
A helpline is available to members on 020 7401 9582 from 10.00am - 3.00pm Monday to Friday.
You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to 87 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8HA.
Fostering Network provide a stress counselling helpline on 03450 742799. Fostering Network also provide support for foster carers if there has been an allegation against them. If you are a foster carer facing an allegation and would like to access this independent support, contact your SSW who will be able to make a referral to Fostering Network. An independent support worker will be in touch within a day or two to provide their expertise and guidance until the allegation or complaint against is resolved.
Out of hours
An out of hours telephone support service for foster carers is provided by the fostering service. This covers periods when the office is not usually open (17.30 until 9.00 during the week and over weekends and bank holidays). This rota is covered by staff in the fostering service who usually cover a week at a time. The rota is provided to foster carers with all the appropriate telephone numbers on.
Emergency Duty Service (EDS)
Foster carers must contact the Emergency Duty Service to report matters such as:
- a child who has gone missing
- the death or serious illness of a child in their care
- a child protection matter
- any serious incident in the foster home which requires additional support
The Emergency Duty Service deals with all emergency social care referrals and situations out of working hours, and it covers the whole of Essex. It also deals with emergencies in adult and children's social care.
If an emergency arises out of office hours, the Emergency Duty Service can be contacted on 0345 606 1212.
Support from other foster carers
Support groups are held in all of the 4 quadrant areas and foster carers are encouraged to attend these where possible. Foster carers are also encouraged to buddy up with other foster carers.
Refer a friend scheme
We will reward you, our existing foster carers, up to £230 per successful referral as a thank you for your support. There is no limit on how many people you can refer.
Foster carers ambassador group
We listen to our foster cares and value their input. Our carers work closely with us to inform our recruitment strategy in Essex and improve the wider service. They have come up with some very creative ideas.
Our ambassadors are exactly that, ambassadors, who regularly go out into their communities to support us at events and during campaigns.
Essex Foster Care Association
The Essex Foster Care Association is an independent charitable trust run by local authority foster carers for local authority foster carers. Membership is offered to all local authority foster carers at approval. Members benefit from:
- a quarterly newsletter
- sons and daughters support
- quadrant based committees
- fundraising activities
More information is available via the EFCA website or by calling 0300 777 1234.