Step Up Step Down

The Fostering Network in Northern Ireland is bringing a pioneering approach to preventing children who are on the periphery of the care system from being taken into care, and instead supporting them to stay within their own homes. The five-year Step Up Step Down project is funded by The Big Lottery Fund as part of their Reaching Out Supporting Families programme.

Step Up Step Down is one of a number of innovative programmes run by The Fostering Network.

For more information about Step Up Step Down email Jade Irwin

For media enquiries regarding the programme email The Fostering Network’s media team or phone 020 7620 6441.

About Step Up Step Down

Step Up Step Down, which is based upon the support care fostering model that has already been successfully used in England and Wales, operates in partnership with the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland, where four highly trained and experienced foster carers provide time limited, preventative support care delivered by foster carers to 120 families. The foster carer role is broadened and expanded to enable the foster carers to work intensively alongside birth families to build their skills, capacity and networks.

The programme gives parents the support of a foster carer who can ‘step up’ if the family needs additional support and ‘step down’ when parents are in a better place to support their children. If the family experiences a crisis situation, the child / children can stay with a foster carer for a short period of time, rather than being placed with strangers.

The support provided for families depends on individual family needs and includes:

  • home based activities focused on key family times such as bedtime, mealtimes and getting to school
  • a programme of activities focused on learning and achieving as a family
  • a programme of learning and play activities for parents and children together
  • intensive support at times of family crisis
  • sign-posting and support to access additional services
  • a regular programme of home visits to plan and review support
  • developing and delivering a peer support model for families.
Step Up Step Down was featured in a BBC Broadcast Appeal which can be found here

You can read more about Step Up Step Down's impact on this blog

We were delighted that Step Up Step Down won the Family Support Award at the 2019 Children and Young People Now Awards.