Foster Care Associations - a fostering service's view from Lincolnshire
This is the first of two blogs about Lincolnshire Foster Care Association. Jackie is the chair of the association. You can read the second blog here.
I am Lizette and I am the Recruitment Team Manager for Fostering and Adoption in Lincolnshire. I was appointed to this role in October 2014. One of my earliest thoughts about the Foster Care Association was that it's a great opportunity to engage with foster carers, and to consider what could we do to ensure that we forged the right relationship with them so that we established a partnership for the future.
One of the first tasks was to support them in producing a leaflet about their service and assist in producing merchandise for their launch. We obviously have the resources to do this so it made sense to help them out and also impart what we have learned from doing this on a day–to-day basis. But ultimately the choice about the contents of the leaflet and overall design remained completely in their hands.
An honest and open exchange
A main focus was to ensure that team managers in the fostering service attend the FCA regular monthly meetings so we can have an open and honest exchange about things impacting on foster carers. Equally our attendance at these meetings has been used to gain feedback from them as foster carers and, for example, about the current Lincolnshire County Council website. Using the FCA as a small focus group enabled us to get valuable feedback from them in a short space of time.
Looking to the future we are going to continue attending their monthly meetings but other exciting developments involve foster carers coming along to our recruitment events. We are also going to establish a working protocol whereby foster carers will be able to come out on initial visits with us.
Overall the formation of the FCA is seen as an exciting opportunity that will hopefully allow for a positive working relationship to be established. We hope the FCA will benefit foster carers and enable them to feel more supported in this very important role. This in turn should equally provide more positive and stable placements for children and young people in foster care.
The Fostering Network brings together everyone who is involved in the lives of fostered children and young people to lead, inspire, motivate and support them to make foster care better. To support our work visit www.fostering.net/donate or to donate £10 text FOST37 £10 to 70070.