The team around the foster child and your responsibilities as a foster parent
1 April 2021
Around every vulnerable child in care there is a team of people responsible for his or her wellbeing. When you become a foster carer, you join this team and begin to work closely with everyone in it: your supervising social worker, the child’s social worker, the child’s birth family, and other professionals from health and education. The main aim is to help the child feel loved, well cared for and supported. To do this, the team follows the child's care plan, which outlines the trajectory of his or her life in care.
Developing effective communication
Even though you have support from your supervising social worker, you must have a relationship with the other people, too. For this, you need to be able to be able to communicate in English. You will have to attend meetings, take the child to medical appointments, send emails, keep a daily log of the child’s activities, and build a connection with the young person, so knowing English will come in handy. If you are not a confident English user, you can attend free language courses provided by Brent. You also need to be organised and maintain a list of all the useful contacts to have on hand, something your supervising social worker can help you with.
Asking for help and giving feedback
‘Everyone I’ve met in Brent has been very open and honest, and it’s important to have this sort of relationship with all those people around the child. When I first started I did not know exactly what to expect, but everyone’s been on hand to support me,’ said Sam, one of our baby foster carers.
An open and honest relationship with your social worker is important. While the fostering workers will share all they know about a child prior to placing them with you, you need to be honest about any challenges you are facing and if you need help or additional training. Our social workers will either try to help you themselves, or they will recommend other people who can support you. As a Brent foster carer, you also have access to out-of-hours professional support, to the Fostering Network helpline and to other services within the council like health and education to meet the needs of the children in your care. As a team player, you should take into consideration the advice you receive and also feed back to your supervising social worker if you think some things could have been done differently. Where we can, we will strive to improve our service to make sure you are happier in the future. Here we go into detail about how you can have a good relation with your supervising social worker.
Learning from experience
The help you receive is to make your fostering role easier and to help you meet the needs of the child in your care. Being part of the professional team means you should take this support and learn from it so that you can become more independent when dealing with similar issues in the future. By learning from your experience with every child, you will gain new personal skills like resilience, flexibility and resourcefulness.
‘I have had challenging moments and fantastic moments whilst the young person has become part of my family. I have had great support from my supervising social worker during all this time, she has always been available, just like the whole team. I have also had great support from the school and the young person’s social workers. They all opened a door for me when I agreed to have this child, and I would like to continue this work and help fulfil another child's dreams in the future. Thank you for making me a better person.’ said Adria, Brent foster carer.
Building rapport with the birth family
The children’s birth family is also a part of the team and you need to encourage the child to stay connected to their parents and build a relation with them where possible. You should also try to establish a relation with the birth parents yourself and have empathy for them. The final aim is for the children to return to their family and you can definitely support this by having the right attitude towards them.
Improving outcomes for local children
At Brent we aim to have well-informed, prepared and confident foster carers who add value to the life of local children in care. When you join us, you gain access to ongoing training, learning resources and skilled fellow carers or members of staff who can mentor you. The training is varied and focused on children of different ages and with various needs. By making the most of these resources you will become a more experienced foster carer who supports the development of vulnerable children and young people in Brent. Take a look at our complete support package which includes support groups, to see if you are happy with what we offer.
Would you say about yourself that you are a good team player and could work as part of our collective to help local vulnerable children? Contact us to learn more about fostering and eventually join our extremely welcoming group of foster parents for local young people in Brent.