Well being leads to well doing
Wellbeing leads to well doing, according to Dr Karen Treisman, and we totally agree with her! Success in fostering is a team effort. Foster carer’s should feel they are a huge part of the team around the child. It’s important to us that our foster carers feel the support of our agency and that of the bigger team around them so that they feel safe and secure in their role and decision making.
Fostering can be a lonely and difficult journey at times.
At To the Moon and Back Foster Care, we place equal emphasis on the needs of our foster carer’s alongside the needs of the children in their care. Supporting our foster carers is more than just a job for us, it’s our passion, we want our foster carers to feel successful.
We start by getting to know our foster carers well. We equally help our foster carers to get to know us well too. We support the building of a relationship that feels equal, valued and with good levels of mutual respect.
We’re available for our foster carers, we’re on their side, ready to support when we are needed the most, with whatever challenges or questions that arise.
Just like any of us at some point in our lives, foster carers can experience elements of self-doubt, sadness, anxiety or challenge. We offer kindness and a supportive, proactive approach that is non-judgemental and focuses on how improvements can be made. We support our foster carers to reflect and recognise how subtle changes may help them, or the child in their care.
We work holistically, taking the needs of the whole family into consideration. It takes a village to raise a child, and we want our foster carers to have the support of others available to them. We appreciate that things can change in families, therefore we are interested in the whole family and work to support the family to be the best it can be. There will be times that our team will see that a foster carer is not their usual self, we will be open and proactively work with you to ensure that you feel you have the support you need. It’s no use waiting for something to go wrong before we step in, we are always watching out for you, so that we can prevent crisis where we can and enable you to feel safe and secure which contributes to your feelings of wellbeing. When we feel on top of things, we feel able to achieve so much more than when we are not on top of things.
We are receptive to feedback and the sharing of new ideas, and we appreciate that we are working with a variety of individuals and as such we are open to supporting in a variety of ways. There is no one size fits all here.
A warm and personal relationship with your supervising social worker and the support team around you.
To feel able to trust our work in partnership with you and feel that you are working closely together with us, to achieve the best we can for you and the children in your care.
To have influence in the organisational decision making that, affects you and your role as a foster carer.
To feel that your commitment, expertise and dedication to improve the lives of the children in your care is valued and respected by everyone in our agency.
Your input to be taken seriously, influencing how our organisation improves its service and thus your experience of fostering.
Our ability to protect the wellbeing of our foster carers and their building of resilience, whilst they care for some of the most vulnerable children in our society, is vital to our reputation as an outstanding fostering agency. Our organisation is built on a foundation that sustains a culture of everyone feeling empowered and enabled. Each policy, process and system reflect our aims, beliefs, and values, in our quest to attract and retain the most talented and caring people to build a positive future for children.
Our foster carers can expect to be treated as individuals. Our supervising social workers will work in close partnership with their family and external team, supported by our ethos, systems, and processes to develop a meaningful support package to help carers succeed and meet the needs of the child in their care and help them to achieve their personal objectives too. The significance of feeling part of a respected but caring relationship is very important. We earn the trust of our foster carers, reflecting and focusing on what we can do to improve our service to our families, making good relationships with the larger team around the child too, so that we can ensure we are all focused on the child, supporting the foster carers to achieve everything possible.
Foster carer support
It’s not just what we do, it’s how we do it.
Fostering is rewarding but at times can be a challenging role.
Foster carers should never feel that they are alone – they work as part of the team around a child and its important they feel supported by others in that team to ensure that children receive the best possible care. It is in everyone’s interest that our foster carers feel successful.
The level and type of support required by foster carers may vary with each child in placement. It’s important that foster carers have access to good assistance and advice outside of office hours from someone who understands their particular issues and knows them. Having access to short breaks can help placements continue, giving foster carers breathing space. This type of support is best when children feel they have a good relationship with their respite carers.
Respite for a young person, should feel like a stay with a family member, and be planned and not stressful. It’s important that the respite adds value for everyone so that foster carers get positive rest and children continue to feel cared for. It’s important that foster carers get the time they need for their own wellbeing without any concern that children may struggle to return to them. We work hard to ensure that respite is in everyone’s best interest.
Our support of foster carers is a successful by-product of the great relationship that exists between the foster carer and our team. It does not just happen; it takes emotional investment as with any other relationship. There is a joint purpose and a trust that forms, and it continues to work because we make the effort to make it work.
Relationships succeed best where there is happiness, and that happiness comes out of the feeling that people are working together for a joint purpose. The key lies with our ability to have an authentic impact on those around us. Our team walks the talk and expresses our emotions. Relationship based support relies on team builders too, someone who will reach out and build bridges, makes connections with others for the benefit of the greater good.
We provide our foster carers with a range of formal and informal support, including valued supervision, short breaks, peer support, out-of-hours support and access to independent support, as well as support for their sons and daughters where needed.
Support of the supporters
It’s vital that our team feel supported and able to make decisions.
Foster carers rely on the support, from their supervising social worker. It is important that the supervising social worker feels in a good position to be able to invest in the relationship and provide the support that is going to be valued by the foster carer. We often refer to foster carers being a secure base for the children in their care. In the same way that the foster carers provide a secure base for the children in their care, we provide a secure base for our team ensuring the security is there for our foster carers, to be able to do the best they can for the children in their care.
We work to support low caseloads for our supervising social workers, enabling them to invest their time in the building of proactive and successful relationships with carers and be able to spend quality time with them. We emphasise the need to maintain a proactive focus on a foster carer’s wellbeing too. We do this by really getting to know our foster carers and being present during our supervisions and visits. By being present we can hear what is being said, as well as what is not being said.
We know that foster carers can, for example, feel like they are in a goldfish bowl that everyone is looking in to. It can cause carers to feel under pressure to be perfect all the time and that can prevent them from saying things that they feel may be interpreted as them being unable to fulfil their role.
It takes skill and requires true empathy to support foster carers well. The supervising social workers who lead on the provision of support, must be team builders. It’s important that they support the building of other connections within the bigger team around the child, and maintain a focus on the team purpose, which should always be the child.
Successful support relies on honest discussions between supervising social workers and foster carers and supervising social workers and their line managers. This works well when a team feels able to share their true feelings and emotions and this happens best, where there is no judgement and where trust is placed highly in the relationship.
We work therapeutically with our foster carers and our staff team, to identify tensions that might exist so that we have a chance to support everyone where necessary to reflect and make adjustment. It is a very positive process which leads to good relationships being formed and high levels of satisfaction and success being felt.
“We were thrilled that Ofsted highlighted the outstanding support we provided for foster carers in our last inspection. It is formed out of the relationships we build and continue to nurture during the whole time we are working together”
Angela and Alison Director
Does this sound like you?
If so, you have come to the right place and could be the type of person our looked after children need. We are very keen to hear from people who want to foster or find out more about what it entails.
To get in touch you can call us on 01223 800420 or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively fill in the form on the right and we’ll get back to you when it’s convenient.