Our Cardiff-based team work directly with our members throughout Wales. We support foster carers and other professionals by delivering training, learning, research and advice and information services. Working with a range of partners across academia, statutory and third sector and including ADSS Cymru, Cascade and our Confidence in Care consortium partners, we have unrivaled expertise and knowledge to support excellence in foster care.
Confidence in Care
Confidence in Care is a five-year, Big Lottery funded programme aimed at training 1,500 foster carers in Wales to raise their Confidence and improve placement stability.
Based on social learning theory, the course has been designed by clinicians from King’s College, London. The course runs for 12 weeks and teaches foster carers different techniques to build positive relationships with the children and young people in their care.
Working with our partners from Action for Children, Barnardo’s and TACT care, we deliver courses in each of the 22 local authorities in Wales, in a central location that is easily accessible to all participants. Sessions last 4 hours a week with a free lunch provided.
The course is open to both new and experienced foster carers, kinship carers, special guardians and residential centre staff working for local authorities or independent fostering providers. Participants must have a young person in their care between the ages of 2 to 18 where the placement is forecast to last for the duration of the 12-week course.
The programme, funded from the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Social Services Grant Scheme, focuses on the principles of a stronger voice, a more skilled workforce and improved access to information, advice and assistance as enshrined in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
The programme is split in to seven strands of work that over the course of the programme we will be focusing on. They are:
- Recruitment and retention of foster carers – We work closely with local authorities, supporting them to improve recruitment and retention rates, drawing on our many years’ experience of what works in Wales.
- Implementation of a Foster Carers’ Charter for Wales – The charter sets out the roles and responsibilities of foster carers and social services. With this understanding in place, foster carers and social services can focus on improving the experiences of looked after children and young people
- Fostering Achievement Masterclasses – Based on recent research has highlighted the need for specialist training in Wales, Fostering Excellence will deliver masterclasses to foster carers, school staff, social workers and wider professionals across Wales, which will cover specialist topics such as SEN; the impact of attachment on learning; speech, language and communication; and ADHD.
- Thrive: Young Voices, a dedicated magazine for looked after children – We work with young people to produce and publish the Thrive magazines. Acting as an important form of support for young people in foster care, it also enables young people to have their voices heard.
- Young People and Foster Carer Ambassadors – Development of Wales’ first foster carer and youth ambassador scheme in fostering. Ambassadors have an important role in offering peer to peer support, promote fostering whilst speaking at events and working with other professionals to have a genuine role in championing fostering services.
- Fosterline Wales advice line – Now in its tenth year, Fostering Excellence continues to build on the success of Fosterline Wales, increasing provision of information, advice and support with the development of a new online information hub.
- A National Centre of Training Excellence in Fostering – Committed to developing a confident and competent workforce, Fostering Excellence deliver training to the fostering workforce throughout Wales.
For more information about Fostering Excellence email Maria Boffey, Head of Operations, or call her on 02920 440940.
Training in Wales
We have a highly skilled bank of associate trainers to deliver our current portfolio of training and develop additional courses for us using their expertise. An extensive programme of open courses is planned for 2016, and we are also working with the Care Council to ensure that our training for social workers meets their CPEL requirements.
Fosterline Wales - Information, advice and assistance
The Fostering Network is able to provide unrivalled bi lingual information, advice and support to foster carers and other professionals. We operate the free bilingual Fosterline Wales helpline, open from 9.30am – 12.30pm daily.
We also operate an independent support service for local authorities and independent fostering providers, to provide an independent advocate when needed to foster carers.
The National Fostering Framework
For some time there has been a strong consensus in Wales that there is a need for a National Fostering Framework. Through working with Welsh Government and colleagues from across the fostering sector we have been vociferous in our influencing activity to address some of the key challenges that are threatening to undermine the effectiveness of fostering services in Wales. For example, the involvement which young people have in their care planning issues to do with recruitment and retention of foster carers, the support, protection, status, respect and recompense afforded to foster carers and, in particular, the relationships between local authorities and independent fostering providers.
As a member of the Strategic Steering Group associated to The National Fostering Framework we have been pleased to contribute to a strategic plan aimed at transforming fostering provision in Wales. We need to be assured that foster carers will be available to children and young people who need them, in sufficient numbers, to play their crucial role in providing children in care with the health, well-being and future prospects they need and deserve.
The National Fostering Framework Wales foster care allowances and payments survey 2016-17
The Fostering Framework in Wales Phase One report identified the payment of foster care allowances and fees as a key issue. It was recognised that the current pattern across Wales would present particular challenges but that these should not be ignored.
As part of the Phase Two development of the National Fostering Framework, The Fostering Network was commissioned by the strategic advisory group for the National Fostering Framework to undertake a survey of local authorities 2016-17 foster carer payment structures across Wales.
The subsequent report has demonstrated the scale of inequality of financial arrangements for foster carers across Wales, in particular in relation to fees.
Education and looked after children
The Fostering Network is working closely with Welsh Government in order to support foster carers who already play a vital role in raising aspirations and supporting children in care. Click here to read about our recent work including our newly published guide ‘A foster carer’s guide to the education of looked after children’ and the ‘Making it Happen’ magazine for foster carers.