Supporting foster and residential care

In document Looked-after children and young people (Page 49-53)

Evidence indicates that foster and residential care are complex activities that require

rehabilitative and therapeutic approaches and skills. Carers who feel supported by their social worker and have ready access to support services are better able to use these skills to

encourage healthy relationships and provide a more secure base, and so reduce the risk of placement breakdown. These skills should also be reflected in the recruitment of foster carers and residential staff, and in the training and support they receive.

Recommendation 35 Assure the quality of foster and residential care

Who should take action?

Directors of children's services.

What action should they take?

Ensure all fostering services and residential care homes meet and maintain statutory standards as set out in the 'Revising the national minimum standards (NMS) for adoption, children's homes

and fostering[11]' and mechanisms are in place to identify and remove those foster or residential

carers who repeatedly underperform or are unwilling to undertake additional training to meet these standards.

Recommendation 36 Train foster and residential carers

Who should take action?

Social workers and social work managers. CAMHS professionals.

Private andindependent fostering agencies.

What action should they take?

Ensure foster and residential carers receive high-quality, core training from trainers with specialist knowledge and expertise that:

covers the key components of parenting set out in the 'principles and values' section of this guidance

enhances the Children's Workforce Development Council (or its current equivalent)

training support and development standards for residential[12]

and foster care[13]

, by taking account of the recommendation for a core training curriculum as set out in recommendation 50 of the training section in this guidance.

Adapt training to local needs and ensure it:

includes psychological theories of infant, child and adolescent development develops understanding of how to develop secure attachment (according to

attachment theory[2]

) for babies and young children (see also recommendations 16–19)

develops understanding of the impact oftransitionsand stability on a child or young

person, and how best to manage change and plan age-appropriate transitions, including preparation to leave care

develops knowledge and awareness of how to safely meet the child or young person's needs for physical affection and intimacy within the context of the care relationship develops knowledge and understanding of the education system, educational stability and encouraging achievement

develops knowledge and awareness of how to promote, improve or maintain good health and healthy relationships

promotes joint working practices with people from all agencies involved in the care of looked-after children and young people

develops understanding and awareness of the role of extra-curricular activities for looked-after children and young people

provides a good understanding of how the absence of appropriate physical and emotional affection, or different forms of emotional and physical abuse, affect a child or young person's psychological development and behaviour.

Recommendation 37 Support foster carers and their families

Who should take action?

Social workers and social work managers. CAMHS professionals.

Private and independent fostering agencies.

What action should they take?

Ensure foster carers and their families (including carers who are family or friends) receive high quality ongoing support packages that are based on the approach set out in the core training recommendation (see recommendation 50). A support package should include:

helping social workers to have reflective conversations with foster carers that include emotional support and parenting guidance

ensuring foster carers are included in the 'team around the child' that is receiving advice to support collaborative, multi-agency working on complex casework (see recommendation 6 on multi-agency working)

ensuring that childcare arrangements are in place to enable foster carers to attend training ensuring that foster carers receive additional supervision, support and monitoring until foster care training is completed

ensuring children of foster carers are included when support is offered to foster care families enabling foster carers to recognise and manage stress within their family (in its broadest sense, for example, everyday pressures on family life) to avoid placement breakdown providing out-of-hours emergency advice and help in calming and understanding emotions and handling challenging behaviours to support stability

giving ongoing health promotion advice and help such as how to provide a healthy diet providing information about the role and availability of creative and leisure activities for looked-after children and young people.

Recommendation 38 Train supervisors

Who should take action?

Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) or its current equivalent[14]

. Social work managers.

Independent fostering agencies.

What action should they take?

Ensure all social workers and managers who undertake direct supervision of carers receive training that enables them to provide support to carers and recognise the emotional impact of the role. Such training should include:

identifying support needs

how to support carers and develop their self-awareness and self-care skills recognising signs of stress or secondary trauma

an understanding of when a child or young person needs to be referred for

professional assessment or intervention (see recommendation on promoting mental health and wellbeing)

awareness of any additional support and information needed for carers of children and young people with particular vulnerabilities such as unaccompanied asylum seekers and those with special needs.

Ensure that social workers and managers provide support for cross-cultural placements (see recommendations 26–34).

Ensure that social workers and managers support sibling placements and contact between siblings and family members (see recommendation 15).

In document Looked-after children and young people (Page 49-53)