The introduction of independent fostering agencies has resulted in an overflow of much-needed carers; the downside of which is that these carers have not yet established a standard.
That is how much support to expect, what relevant training should be offered, or even an estimated competitive allowance.
Consequently, a large number of carers suffer from burnout or fatigue. Unable to cope with a demanding role and lack of support, foster carers either switch agencies or, sadly, leave fostering all together.
At CFS Fostering, we hope to encourage carers to continue making a difference to a child’s life. Therefore, in this guide, we cover the three biggest reasons you should consider switching to another agency.
There are many organisations that offer in-house expertise in areas of therapy, psychology, and health and wellbeing. Children, particularly teenagers, have diverse needs and interests. To effectively meet those needs, it is important that carers have access to support from the relevant specialist.
While this may seem unnecessary at the beginning of your foster care journey, should you wish to sustain a challenging placement to protect the needs of the child, a psychologist or child nurse may become invaluable within the family dynamic.
Feeling unsupported in this regard can be a common occurrence for some carers struggling against stretched resources – whether that is because the expertise is rarely available or the relevant professional is not based internally. Our belief is that carers who are able to lean on the professional experience of their agency are more capable of handling challenging placements.
You need to be able to contact your agency whenever there is an area of behaviour you are unfamiliar with – or you have an issue that may affect the child’s stability. At CFS Fostering, we ensure you are able to communicate with the relevant professional when you need the support.
Approach to allowances
Allowances are an ambiguous area of foster care. While it is correct to assume that some agencies will allow a fair allowance to carers for the role they perform in a child’s life, it is not the case that all independent agencies offer the same allowances.
It is important to bear in mind that any organisation tempting you in with generous allowances may well be covering for a less-than-supportive relationship in the coming years. Our suggestion would be to investigate how allowances are administered – and if they are care-based, for more information read: How To Choose A Foster Agency.
Ask if any funds are added to a savings account for the child. Ascertain whether or not your chosen agency includes professional services (such as therapy). This is worth determining as other members of your family may also benefit from psychological support as a consequence of the change in the family dynamic.
Another factor to bear in mind when deciding whether or not to move agencies is the training given. At CFS Fostering, we ensure that courses are offered pre and post-placement. We believe that carers should offer their homes confidently and entirely prepared for the arrangement.
For example, we have had carers express an interest in learning about self-harming behaviour. Consequently, we provided them with relevant training to recognise and address this type of behaviour. It is our belief that this open-minded approach to training creates sustainable placements as it provides the carer with genuinely useful information.
Carers should be progressing as professionals just as much as anyone else. After all, self-improvement leads to happier and longer-lasting placements, as well as professional gratification.
All CFS Fostering carers will attend a course prior to a placement that prepares them for almost every hypothetical situation in the home. For placements to be successful, we believe carers should be familiar with examples of challenging behaviour and know exactly how we intend to support them in addressing it.
If you feel that your current agency is not addressing any of the above concerns, please get in touch. CFS Fostering is here to support you in changing a child’s life. We value carers like yourself who feel isolated by a lack of support, and we aim to cultivate your strengths so that you can use them to make a difference.
If you feel that CFS Fostering are the agency to support you in changing a child’s life for the better, please get in touch with our expert team today on 01204 704777 or on [email protected].