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Nurturing Futures: The vital role of training support in foster care

Training for foster carers is both essential and mandatory. However, the level of training differs significantly between fostering organisations. At Fitzgerald Fostering, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, we passionately believe that the best way to create happy and thriving children in foster care is to offer tailored, meaningful and long-term support to their foster families. That’s why we prioritise providing our foster carers with extensive support and training above and beyond statutory requirements.

The importance of foster care training
Due to the dynamic nature of foster care and the diverse needs of children entering the system, a comprehensive level of training is crucial to enable foster carers to navigate each unique circumstance. Within the first year of approval, all foster carers must complete core training, covering areas such as Child Protection & Safeguarding, Recording, First Aid, Health & Safety in the Home, and Managing Challenging Behaviour.

As part of the national minimum standards for providing fostering services, all foster carers are also provided with a personal development plan, which sets out how they will be supported to undertake ongoing training and development that is appropriate to their needs and experience. However, this level of training and support can differ significantly between foster care providers.

Fitzgerald Fostering’s core training covers all the mandatory elements and much more. We deliver foundation training, a psychology series and advanced training, all thoughtfully curated and designed to build and nurture fostering skills in specific areas of need. Our carers are the absolute priority and focus for us. We support them however and whenever they need with meaningful and memorable training that helps ensure the best outcomes for the children and young people in their care.

Types of foster care training
We recognise that every child and every fostering situation is unique. That’s why we go above and beyond statutory training requirements to offer tailored programmes that address the specific needs and circumstances of our carers and the children in their care. Many children entering foster care have experienced trauma, neglect or abuse, which can manifest in various ways. Our training equips carers with the knowledge and tools to comprehend the complexities of these experiences and respond to them through effective communication, compassion and sensitivity.

As part of our managing behaviour training, we encourage foster carers to adopt the P.A.C.E (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy) method to build a connection and remain emotionally engaged with the child. Whether it’s how to understand trauma and attachment to effective communication strategies and cultural competency, personalised therapeutic support is at the heart of the training we provide.

A foster carer’s physical, emotional and mental wellbeing is paramount and all our carers attend monthly Practice Development Sessions, where the emotional impact of fostering is explored. This holistic approach to training not only supports our carers but everyone in their household, so they can provide a nurturing and healthy environment for the children and young people in their care.

A culture of support
Fostering can sometimes feel like a solitary journey, but it doesn’t have to be. ‘A trusted friend’ is how the majority of our foster carers describe their relationship with us, and that’s because the culture of support provided by Fitzgerald Fostering begins on day one.

From the moment carers join our family, they have access to a dedicated support team comprising experienced social workers, qualified therapists and mentors, who provide round-the-clock assistance, guidance and encouragement. But we also welcome our foster carers into a supportive network of like-minded people, who provide ongoing support and companionship, and we encourage peer-to-peer learning and collaboration. Our core, foundation and advanced courses are focused on small group sizes and trainer continuity. They provide a platform for foster carers to connect, share experiences and support each other.

Flexibility and accessibility

“We can phone them any time, night or day and someone will answer that we know.”

Accessibility and continuity of support to foster carers is critical. There’s no ‘clocking off’ when it comes to the role and responsibilities of a foster carer, therefore it’s vital our support is available at all times. Our carers have access to their own dedicated Fitzgerald Fostering social worker and access to support 24 hours a day – whatever the issue, our professional and compassionate senior management team are only ever a phone call away.

We equally understand that foster carers have busy lives, so while our training programmes are structured, they are also flexible. We offer online modules, evening sessions and tailored support to accommodate various schedules and preferences. So, whether it’s classroom or online training, mentoring calls with other foster carers or social events, our foster carers have the support they need at a time that suits them.

Fostering lifelong learning
At Fitzgerald Fostering we never stop helping our foster carers develop their skills. Our commitment to training our foster carers doesn’t end after the initial mandatory session because we know and understand that fostering requires continuous learning and growth development.

We encourage and facilitate ongoing learning opportunities to ensure our carers remain informed about the latest developments in child welfare and best practices in caregiving, while regular reviews mean that, as the foster carer’s needs change, so does our support. This ‘lifelong learning’ approach to training means our carers are always equipped to meet the evolving needs of the children in their care.

Our continuous learning and development culture does not only extend to our carers; we support our staff with regular training too. This empowers our staff to deliver the highest levels of support to our carers, enabling them to nurture the futures of the foster children in their care.

 

At Fitzgerald Fostering, we are with you every step of the way.

If you want to find out more about becoming a foster carer with Fitzgerald Fostering call 01753 550031 or contact us

AuthorFitzgerald Fostering

DateMay 10, 2024

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