Enhanced support and training for foster carers
At Essex County Council we value every one of our foster carers and we know the vital role they play in achieving the best possible outcomes for children in care. That is why under our new scheme we are going the extra mile to ensure we provide accessible support and training.
Under our new scheme, introduced on 1 October 2018, foster carers will also benefit from the following:
- 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.
Dedicated 24 hour support line
We know how important it is to have support and guidance 24 hours a day which is why we have a support line that all carers can access day or night.
Therefore as soon as you are an approved foster carer with Essex County Council, you will have access to a 24/7 out-of-hours support telephone line as well as our Emergency Duty service. All calls are confidential and will be answered by an experienced member of the team.
You will also have your own assigned social worker who will visit you regularly and support you with any child placed with you.
Increased therapeutic support
We recognise that foster carers sometimes need extra support to look after children and young people, therefore as part of our new offer will have increased therapeutic support and training for all carers and supervising social workers. We are currently recruiting clinical psychologists and mental health coordinators throughout the county and will also introduce new local support schemes in each quadrant.
Comprehensive training and development
At Essex County Council we offer an extensive range of training whether you’re looking to gain new qualifications or enhance your existing skills further.
We also provide a Fostering Changes programme that provides carers with the skills and strategies to manage a variety of behaviours that looked after children can display, such as attachment theory, child development and loss and separation. Our foster carers tell us this is invaluable in equipping them with a range of tools to use when needed and has helped them build friendships and learn from one another.
We give our carers all the tools they need to build strong relationships with foster children and to feel secure and confident in the role they play.
We’re flexible in our approach and put our carers needs first; many training sessions are during school hours and carers also have the option to complete some online. Unlike other agencies all of our training is delivered locally so you won't have to travel far.
Fostering support groups
Regular fostering support groups mean that foster carers can talk to other foster carers and social workers about the highs of fostering as well as any issues or challenges they may be facing.
The support groups are attended by new and experienced foster carers where you can meet, learn from, encourage and support each other. Many of our foster carers have developed strong friendships and support networks.
Support for the whole family
We value the whole foster family and think it’s important that everyone is happy and feels involved. Therefore we arrange a programme of fun family events for both foster and birth children to take part in throughout the year. Activities vary in each area but include summer activities and a big Christmas party.
New home adaptation programme
Our new scheme means that there will be increased opportunities for existing foster carers to apply for financial support to extend their homes. This will enable carers to have extra capacity to welcome more children into their home.