Fostering - support for carers
Our Fostering team provide a range of support and advice, training opportunities and promote our Service Provider Scheme, designed to recognise a carer's developing experience in their fostering role. Find out more about what we offer:
Dedicated social worker allocated to each foster carer
Every foster carer has their own supervising social worker. We strive to ensure that, for at least the first couple of years, it will be the same social worker you worked with during the initial assessment process. Your allocated social worker will continue to visit at least once monthly, however they can provide increased support if required. Our supervising social workers have considerable experience in working with children and young people before they joined our fostering and adoption team. They can provide help and support and will also link with the child's social worker. Your supervising social worker can also attend meetings (such as child care reviews) with you and can assist you in writing reports required for such meetings. They will also keep in regular contact with you by phone. As a registered foster carer, we will provide you with a fostering handbook, containing information about being a foster carer.
The fostering and adoption team
Our fostering and adoption team works primarily with foster carers and adopters, so if your supervising social worker in unavailable during office hours, you will always be able to talk to another member of our team to discuss any queries you may have.
Out of hours support
Out-with office hours and at weekends, if you require any additional support, please call the Emergency Duty team.
Support from Health professionals
We work closely with NHS Forth Valley. There is a nurse who provides dedicated support for looked after and accommodated children and young people and their carers. The nurse can be a valuable source of support for all health issues.
Membership of the Fostering network
We provide foster carers with individual membership of the Fostering Network, the National organisation for foster carers, on an individual basis. Membership provides access to legal advice and services and a wide range of information and resource to assist carers in their role.
We provide ongoing training and professional development for all foster carers to help them carry out their fostering tasks. Feedback from carers who regularly attend training opportunities has been that the experiences gained enhance the skills they require to meet and promote the needs and welfare of children/young people in their care. As a foster carer we expect that you would be actively involved in further training and would expect regular attendance at both core training and support and development groups.
Fortnightly support and development groups
We hold a fortnightly support and development group in Stirling. All foster carers are welcome and encouraged to attend. The group includes an element of training provided by our team or a local guest speaker who can provide services to foster carers or the children they care for. We also provide peer support - there is always the opportunity to talk with other carers about aspects of foster caring.
We have full day training sessions, called Core Training, which are held four times throughout the year. Full day training sessions are necessary for you to maintain and develop your skills and to enable you to proceed through Skill Levels. Topics vary from year to year but include areas such as:
- Child Protection
- Working with Children who have been sexually abused
- Safe Caring
- Managing difficult behaviour
- Valuing diversity and promoting equality
- First aid
- Working with families
- Relieving stress in foster care
We encourage existing carers to identify their individual training needs and to suggest topics on further training which would be beneficial.
Service Provider Scheme
Our Service Provider Scheme is available to all our foster carers to recognise a carer's growing competence and confidence through looking after children, attending training and/or achieving an SVQ award. Our service provider scheme has three distinct levels.
Most carers start at level but, in some cases where carers already have relevant experience, such as a professional qualification such as nursing, teaching or social work, they may start at a higher level.
Following registration our foster carers are reviewed at an annual fostering panel. The fostering panel is an important aspect of our quality assurance, but it is also an opportunity for foster carers to voice their opinions about the service they have received from us during the previous year. Evidence is provided to the panel by the supervising social worker and the foster carer about the work they have undertaken in the previous year, including attendance at training events.
The fostering panel decides on the evidence provided whether a fostering family could move up a level, however other factors, such as availability of the foster carer, their attendance at training and personal circumstances, could also influence a carer's ability to progress to the next level.
Our service provider scheme encourages people to see fostering as a career in which they can enhance their skills and progress, as in any other occupation. Fee levels vary depending on the service provider level the foster carer has attained.
Our Service Provider Scheme recognises the developing skills and experience a foster carer attains. Our foster carers receive both a weekly fee, dependent on skill level and an additional allowance for each child they care for.
Levels for 2015-2016 are:
The fee levels are for the first two children placed. We recognise that if children are to receive the individual attention that they require then numbers of children should be restricted in each placement. Accordingly most carers are approved for two children, or three if a sibling group. The fee levels for the 3rd or subsequent child placed is 50% of the above.
- Our foster carers are entitled to up to 28 days paid holiday per year.
- Carers are paid 50% of their allowance and full fees during holiday periods.
Caring for children can be an expensive business. The allowance rate for 2015-2016 is as follows:
Additional financial information
We recognise that if placements end after a lengthy period then families may have become dependent on their fostering income. We therefore have a retainer payment scheme which is on a sliding scale. If a placement has lasted more than three months when it ends, the carer will receive up to one weeks fee, provided they are available for further placement. This increases on a sliding scale up to six weeks fee if the placement has lasted for more than a year.
In addition to the above, we pay an extra week's allowance at Christmas and at the child's birthday and an extra two weeks allowance at the summer holiday period. This is an acknowledgement of the extra costs incurred at these holiday times.
We also pay mileage allowance to carers when they are travelling on Stirling Council business. Telephone allowance is also available.
If you are interested in fostering, or looking for more information, please complete our online information request form