How would it feel to have a job where you could really make a difference. Where you could help a vulnerable child reach a path to a brighter future. All from the comfort of your own home.
Interested? We're looking for new foster carers across the south east and are holding our first Skills to Foster course this January. The three-day course is FREE and will be held in central London on January 8, 15 and 22.
What can I expect to learn from the Skills to Foster course?
The Skills to Foster course - the Fostering Network Programme - is divided into the following six sessions; completed over 3 days. It focuses on the practical, day-to-day skills that all foster carers need. It links into the Training, Support and Development Standards in England and other professional development qualifications, as well as The Fostering Network’s competency-based assessment process.
The topics are broken down into the following sessions:
- Session 1 – What do foster carers do?
- Session 2 – Identity and Life Chances
- Session 3 – Working with others
- Session 4 – Understanding and caring for children
- Session 5 – Safer caring
- Session 6 - Transitions
Session 1: What do foster carers do?
This session introduces The Skills to Foster course and the importance of working together as a group.
Children and young people are at the heart of The Skills to Foster, third edition, and this begins in Session 1 with a focus on why children come into care, why foster care is needed, how difficult early experiences may have affected the children and what these children might need from foster carers. The secure base model is introduced to show how foster carers can facilitate security and promote resilience in children and young people.
Session 2: Identity and life chances
This session aims to highlight the different factors that make up a sense of identity and their importance to children and young people in foster care.
As with all the sessions from here onwards, feedback from home practice comes at the beginning and gives an opportunity to review learning from the previous week and answer any outstanding questions.
This session introduces the theme of diversity but also the importance of recognising assumptions that individuals can make. Prejudice and discrimination are explored, looking particularly at the effects on young people in care and how foster carers can support their young people by recognising and challenging discrimination. Valuing their heritage and promoting positive identities for young people are also highlighted as crucial to the foster carer’s role.
Session 3: Working with others
Key concepts, terminology and frameworks central to fostering are covered in this session.
The team around the child is introduced so that foster carers understand that they are working as part of a team and not in isolation. Communication with others in the team is highlighted as a vital part of a foster carer’s role. A case study identifying the roles and concerns of all those involved in the initial stages of arranging emergency foster care for a child provides an opportunity to think about how this works in practice. The legal framework surrounding fostering is introduced followed by an explanation of key working documents such as the care and placement plans. The importance and impact of contact and confidentiality are discussed through the use of case studies.
Session 4: Understanding and caring for children
This session explains that children who display difficult behaviour may have learned this in response to the abusive or neglectful past experiences they have had. It explores the concept of attachment and identifies the kinds of attachments a child or young person in foster care may have had in the past. This is essential learning for foster carers to ensure a non-judgemental understanding of difficult behaviours.
Further explanation of the caregiving cycle demonstrates the importance of sensitive caregiving and how foster carers can build warm positive relationships and change a child or young person’s experience. Providing a secure base to help to build resilience and self-esteem is re-visited in more detail. A framework from Social Learning Theory is introduced for observing, describing and monitoring behaviour. How to promote good and change difficult behaviour is suggested with some practical ideas and strategies, based on the ABC model. Case studies give the opportunity to think about how to apply some of these strategies within a safe and caring framework.
Session 5: Safer caring
This session takes a holistic approach to safer caring. Building on themes of safeguarding, delegated authority and relationship building introduced in previous sessions, the session examines why children in foster care are considered to be particularly vulnerable and introduces key skills in relation to assessing children’s risk competency, balancing risk and developing responsive and proportionate family safer caring plans.
Session 6: Transitions
This session addresses the importance of placement stability for children in foster care, and identifies the impact of some common transitions. It explores how foster carers and their families can best support children when they move from one placement to another, and when they are making the transition to adulthood. The content has been designed to help course participants to look at things from the child’s perspective, but also considers the impact of transitions on foster carers and their own children. The emphasis on transition to adulthood as a process which continues throughout childhood and beyond age 18 helps all foster carers to understand their continuing role with young people. A range of case studies are provided from which trainers can select those of most relevance to participants. The session also looks at life story work and keeping memories safe.
Session 6A: Review
This session gives participants the opportunity to take a look back at what they and their families have learned so far, and to think about their next steps towards fostering.
There are activities for giving positive feedback and for celebrating participants’ achievements. There’s also the chance to run an evaluation to inform future training.
If you'd like to take part in our Skills to Foster course this January get in touch with our fostering team today. We're waiting to hear from you.
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