A week in the life of a Fostering Manager with i-want-to-foster.com
The role of a Fostering Manager at i-want-to-foster.com is many and varied. Paperwork is balanced with keeping my team in the office and our foster carers happy. It’s not always an easy role, but it is a rewarding one.
The young people cared for by our foster agency often have challenging behaviours and I have to ensure that we are doing the very best we can for them; whether this is arranging respite for the foster carers, in-house therapy for the young people or simply listening to what they have to say.
This all has to be done under the strict rules of OfSTED which makes it all the more interesting!
On a typical day (having gone through my emails) I will meet up with current foster carers to establish how the foster child’s placement is working and to address any needs or issues that may have arisen. This may be a formal review meeting with other professionals or simply a regular “catch up” session.
In order to build up our team of foster carers, I go out and visit potential foster carers to give them more information about how fostering works and details about the fostering process. This is the first step for many people on the way to becoming a foster carer.
The whole process can take about 6 months and I ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible as well as being within regulations and guidelines. It can be a sensitive time for many applicants, so myself and my team will ensure that it is as stress-free as possible.
Our foster carers also receive regular training on a variety of subjects and along with my team I ensure that this is implemented effectively and efficiently. This includes personal development skills as well as the basic “skills to foster” information sessions that all applicants have to participate in.
I also regularly attend a meeting of the steering group of the Joint Forum of Independent Fostering Providers and the Fostering Network (a national body for which I represent the Eastern region). Although the meeting is only for 3 hours, the travel time means I am away from the office all day. It is worthwhile attending as I get to catch up on developments in fostering, legislation and practices.
Assessing referrals sent to us of young people who we may be able to match with one of our foster carers, is another aspect of my job. This process is vitally important that it is done thoroughly to ensure a happy and successful life for the young person. The matching of the child with the potential home has to be one of the most important processes that we do – after all, that is what fostering is all about!
Arranging respite for our foster carers is something else I am responsible for. Some carers choose to take respite for anything from an overnight stay to a few days. Again, this has to be carefully arranged and monitored and we have a team of respite carers and support workers within our agency to provide continuity and familiarity for the young person.
And finally, our agency also provides a 24 hour on call system, which I am part of, so I never really know what this will involve!
DP – January 2015