It’s a Foster Carer’s job to keep looked-after children safe and to help them achieve their full potential. Foster Carers also work within a tightly regulated environment that also places a number of expectations on them. Here At The Acorns, we believe it’s important for our Foster Carers to not only have a thorough understanding of child development, but to also understand the legislative and regulatory system within which they work.
In order for our Foster Carers to help the children they foster stay safe and achieve their full potential, it is essential that they develop their skills and knowledge and continue to do so throughout their fostering career. That’s why we ensure opportunities for accessing learning and development are available. We recognise that training needs to be relevant i.e. suited to their needs and the needs of children living with them for it to be truly effective, and so we concentrate in these areas.
Dependent on the needs and age of the children being looked after, Foster Carers also require an understanding of the education and healthcare systems, mental health issues, drug and alcohol dependency, child sexual exploitation, the asylum system and so on. It’s a lot to cover, but it does mean that our Foster Carer become very skilled, knowledgeable and able to offer key contributions to our professional team.
Some of the training we offer is mandatory and must be completed within 12 months of approval, with the remainder being optional. By way of example and looking to the next quarter, here is an outline of the half-day courses that we will be running At The Acorns:
2nd: Record Keeping (the importance of recording accurate and factual information)
3rd: Managing Challenging Behaviour
10th: Supporting Young People who Self-Harm
7th: Developmental Trauma
14th: Self Care Skills (Looking after yourself)
21st: PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity & Empathy)
28th: Managing Challenging Behaviour
12th: Supporting Young People who Self-Harm
These courses will be conducted mainly by Dr Nikki Hill, our Consultant Clinical Psychologist while Jean Ross of Care Training Services will be responsible for the Record Keeping session and also ran a session on Equality & Diversity for us in early September. Our courses cover a variety of topics and offer Foster Carers access to the skills and knowledge that they will need to carry out their role effectively. However, we also feel that investment in our Foster Carers is never wasted and that high quality training ultimately pays for itself in improving outcomes for our children and young people; the key aim At The Acorns.