Support is provided for the children, the foster carers and the family of the fostered children.
There are many reasons why children may have to be cared for away from their own families.
Sometimes a child is thought to be at risk, either physically or emotionally, or may actually have suffered neglect or abuse. A period away from home may be needed so that difficulties can be sorted out in the family and the child can be helped to cope with what is happening. Most children go back to their own family after a period in temporary care.
The child requires a safe, caring family home where they can stay until their future is clear. They are likely to have regular contact with their parents which may involve the foster carer. Planning for the child's future will also include foster carers. A child may stay as little as two days or as long as two years. Occasionally it becomes clear that the child cannot safely return home and permanent foster care is required.
Foster carers will:
There are all kinds of children, so all kinds of families are needed to care for them - people with or without children or older people whose children have grown up; single people or couples (married or living together); same sex couples; all could provide the right home for the right child.
There is a particular need for families who are able to care for school-age children and young people and groups of brothers and sisters. Caring for other people's children, especially when they may have difficulties, is a demanding task - often requiring all your reserves of skill, patience, understanding, energy, compassion and humour - especially humour!
You will have to be the sort of person who can say "goodbye" when it's time for foster children to move on. That can be hard, but rewards lie in knowing you have helped them through difficult times in their lives.
Sometimes children need to be received into care on an emergency basis with no time for planning. It may be that a family crisis has put children at risk or they may have been left unattended. These children are likely to be distressed and confused and will need the presence of a calm, reassuring adult who will see them through this critical period. Some children may return home, or may move to another foster family if they require a longer period in care.
As an emergency carer:
You will have to be able to cope with distressed, maybe difficult children who arrive with very little warning.
Within a short time you will be saying "goodbye" and getting ready for the next phone call.
Intensive Support Services Fostering
ISS foster carers provide placements to our more challenging children and young people aged 8+ years who are at risk of being placed in residential care. These placements are supported by a fully integrated support package. You will need to have no children under 16 years living at home and be available at all times (although if a couple only one person needs to be at home full-time but both would be responsible for the care of the child).
Prospective ISS foster carers must have three years previous experience in relevant paid or voluntary work, preferably working with challenging young people aged 8 - 17 years. Working in partnership with a multi-agency professional team, you will have to demonstrate good verbal and written communication skills with a strong commitment to ongoing professional development.
Sometimes parents or other family members ask someone to look after their child or children on a full time basis. If this arrangement lasts for 28 days or more it becomes, by law, private fostering and the person providing the care for the child becomes a private foster carer.
In the United Kingdom, hundreds of children are privately fostered each year. If you live in Dumfries and Galloway and are privately fostering children you need to inform the Fostering, Adoption and Kinship Team, as it is our job to make sure that the children are being cared for properly within this arrangement.
Parents considering placing their children with private foster carers must also contact the Family Placement Team.
Some Reasons for Children Being Privately Fostered:
When children are privately fostered their parents or other relatives select where the child is going to live unlike when the local council find a foster family for a child. Their parents retain full responsibility for their child's welfare and continue to make all of the decisions in the child's life. Parents are expected to stay in touch with their child by visiting them and checking that they are being looked after well. Any financial arrangement is made privately between the parents and the carer.
Private foster carers will be expected to see to all of the everyday tasks that parents do:
Private foster carers are not allowed to:
A Social Worker will visit a child who is being privately fostered usually within one week of being informed of the private fostering arrangement. Their job is to ensure that the child is being well cared for. The Social Worker will also talk to the private foster carers to check if they need any help or advice.
Social Workers in Dumfries and Galloway visit their home approximately every three months. The children in placement can talk to the Social Worker in private about anything that is worrying them.
Private foster carers are reviewed annually and are subject to disclosure checks and informal health checks.
The report by the Care Commission is available - Dumfries and Galloway Fostering Service Inspection Report
The Supported Lodgings Scheme offers a transitional service offering support and guidance in a domestic setting for young people to enable them to develop living skills to equip them for independent living.