Training and Support
Our training programme is comprehensive and is tailored to meet the demanding needs of caring for children who have had a difficult start in life. It is divided into a number of levels supporting your fostering career as you progress. Once your application has been accepted you’ll be invited to join our ‘Skills to Foster’ course (level 1). This course includes two full days, followed by six workshops. Your learning will be supported by excellent materials and experienced staff.
Here you will meet members of the team and people who are already fostering for Blue Sky Fostering. You’ll learn about what’s really involved in looking after children who are in care and have the opportunity to learn with others who are also making an application to foster.
This is a comprehensive course and you’ll need to be prepared to complete some study at home as well as attending all the training. Some people do find this a challenge, especially if you are still working; however, we need to be satisfied that you are properly prepared for the task of caring for our children. You in turn will feel better equipped and confident.
- The Skills to Foster course will cover the following areas;
- What foster carers do?
- The importance of identity and life chances
- Working with others in the team
- Understanding the needs children in foster care
- Helping children to deal with change
- Managing challenging behaviour
- Working with children who display sexualised behaviour
- Working with parents
- Survival techniques for foster carers
- A child’s experience of coming into care
- The placement process and finance matters
- Preparing for Panel
- Your Fostering Agreement
- First Aid
Once you have been approved as foster carers you’ll need to complete The Training and Development Standards for foster carers during the first six months. In addition, we’ll ask you to complete some essential courses such as child protection, safe care, managing risk, equality and diversity, impulsive behaviour, and administering medication.
In addition your local team will produce an annual training programme to meet your needs. This usually includes courses such as ‘understanding attachment’, ‘drug and alcohol use’, e-safety, ‘managing behaviour’ and ‘working with teenagers’.
There are lots of opportunities for learning and we will help you balance any time spent on training with the demands of caring for a child. People learn better when they enjoy the training and when it is directly related to the job of fostering; so we endeavour to use a variety of trainers with considerable experience and expertise in their chosen field.
We know fostering can be a demanding role. Caring for children and young people who’ve experienced trauma requires resilience, stability and good support.
Here at Blue Sky, we offer the appropriate level of support you need, when you need it from our teams of highly skilled, fully qualified, social workers, from our experienced managers and from everyone you meet at your local office. You may need us a little, you may need us a lot, we’re always here to support you by providing:
- A competitive weekly foster carer allowance
- 14 days paid holiday (respite) per year, so you can have a rest from fostering.
- Training in all aspects of looking after troubled children and specific opportunities to develop your skills and specialist interests
- Regular workshops to keep your knowledge up to date
- Phone calls and visits from your own social worker as regularly as needed
- Fortnightly supervision with your social worker – giving you special time to think about your role without interruptions
- Monthly support meetings with a small group of like-minded people and your social worker
- Family outings and social events for all foster carers, all children in the family and staff, to make sure we stay one family
- A network of foster carers supporting each other
- Support from Social Work Assistants when the going gets tough!
- Activities and groups for your Birth children to ensure they have an opportunity to talk to others in the same situation
- Out of Hours service - access to a social worker who knows about you and your placement, 24 hours a day, every day of the year
- A culture of listening to you, learning from experience and developing the right service for our carers
Most importantly, the opportunity to be valued and recognised for the contribution you make to supporting children and to foster for a small, local, friendly and professional agency dedicated to working alongside you.