Tuesday 16 January 2018

If you’ve been following our ‘Five Steps to Fostering’ feature, you’ll know that steps one to four are the launch pads to your new life!

From that first tentative enquiry, through your initial home visit, all the statutory checks, your Form F and your chat with our independent panel members, it’s all been in preparation for the biggest day of all; the arrival of your first foster child!

In this, the final step, we chat with Joe, from our Placements Team. As a foster carer, you may get to know Joe and his Placement Team colleagues very well or you may speak to them only occasionally. Either way, they’re in the background, working hard to make sure every placement they make is in the best interests of the whole fostering household.  

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you!

“It’s always lovely to hear we have new foster carers joining us, so as soon as we hear your name, we’ll be chatting with you, reading your Form F and chatting with the social worker who wrote it to find out as much about you as possible. Once we know all about you, matching the needs of a foster child with your skills and home becomes a great deal easier!

We’re there first

“We’re very proud to be ‘first tier’ providers, meaning we’re top of the list of contacts for local authorities. When they need a placement, they come to us first, allowing us the opportunity to offer them our foster homes first! This doesn’t automatically mean their referral with us will be successful; there’s so much more to placing children than just popping them in to the first available foster home.”

Where do the children come from?

“We cover the whole of the south of England, but the referrals we receive aren’t limited to those local authorities in the region we cover; the need goes much further than that; from the Channel Islands to Wales, the north of England and all points on the British Isle’s compass!

The number of referrals we receive varies from day to day, but on average, I would say we have about eighty each day from all over the country. Of course, this figure can vary, but generally, that’s eighty children and young people, each of whom is in need of the most appropriate foster home to meet their needs. Sometimes, we see the same name again and again, and that’s so difficult to handle; that’s a child in need and no one can help.”

You could be the right match!

“So, the happy part of our role is a ‘match’! During a recent Ofsted inspection, the inspectors focussed on our matching process and commented that “The children and young people…develop strong bonds with their carers, often referring to them as ‘mum’ and ‘dad’. The children’s and young people’s needs are very well understood by their carers, who can, therefore, provide them with positive parenting and good quality family life.”

That success happens after our foster carers have had extensive training and support from us and painstaking ‘matching’ considerations on our part. We think about everything from the school the child attends, to their contact sessions with their family and friends, to their cultural, dietary and personal needs.

We think about absolutely everything to ensure the placement is a success for all concerned. Each and every foster carer, with space available, is considered for each referral, so even if our carers don’t hear from us for a while, it doesn’t mean we aren’t thinking of them; we’re thinking of them an awful lot and one day, their perfect match will come along.”  

Could I foster?

Yes, yes you could!

Joe and his colleagues need people from all sorts of backgrounds to come forward and join Blue Sky’s team of foster carers. From a young person who needs to be placed with a single male or female carer, to the young person who needs help with learning English, to the child who desperately needs that special someone to give them back their childhood.

Please, don’t delay, they need you now!            

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