Support that foster carers receive | Oxfordshire County Council

Support that foster carers receive

With Oxfordshire County Council's fostering team you will get all the support and training you need.

adults offering support

Local support helping local children

Working with the fostering team at Oxfordshire County Council, you will not be alone - you will be supported and trained working as part of a team of professionals with the aim of transforming the lives of children in Oxfordshire. You will also be working alongside a local community network of other foster carers in the county.

We have fostering teams based in:

Our central recruitment team is based at Knights Court, Oxf​ord.

Training

Training is an important part of your support package and is provided both before approval and throughout your fostering career. We are committed to providing a comprehensive training package to all of our foster carers so they are equipped to deal with the demands and complexities of fostering.  More information on training for foster carers.

Your supervising social worker

Every foster carer has a supervising social worker allocated to them to support, advise and guide in every aspect of fostering. Your supervising social worker will:

  • keep in frequent touch with you, your family and children or young people in placement through regular visits and telephone calls
  • arrange for any additional support services needed
  • support you with attending meetings, writing reports, keeping records etc.
  • support you and help you to manage contact between the child/children and their birth relatives
  • identify foster carer training needs and help you to achieve your learning and development objectives
  • keep careful records of the progress of children placed with you
  • make all the necessary statutory visits.

Your social worker might be the same person who worked with you during your assessment to become a foster carer or it might be someone new.

Your supervising social worker also works alongside the child's social worker. They will work with you on matching a child who fits with your terms of approval and also fits with you and your family.

These social workers will keep in touch with the children/young person placed with you throughout their placement, make statutory visits, and make care planning decisions with and for them.

Your supervising social worker will carry out a review after your first year of fostering, called an 'annual foster carer review'.

Annual foster carer review

A review is arranged after your first year as foster carer. This takes place with your supervising social worker and is then presented to the fostering panel to review how your first year has been. This process is part of the Fostering Services Regulations. The review must take place no more than a year after approval and we continue these reviews on an annual basis from then on.

The review is an opportunity to change your approval status. For instance, you may decide that you can increase the number of children you foster or you may choose a different fostering scheme. Annual foster carer reviews are also a formal opportunity for you to give feedback to the panel, both positive and negative, about your year in fostering.

Carer coordinators

These are experienced foster carers who are there to support and advise you. They are available from the start of your application to foster and from then on. They hold regular meetings and are available on the phone to answer questions.

The role of the Carer coordinator

  • coordinate and run foster care/friends and family support groups
  • arrange foster carers social evenings
  • support carers with Induction Standards, allegation procedures and meetings
  • be a conduit between carers and the department
  • visit prospective carers and support them through the process, induction meetings and deliver welcome packs
  • deliver training along with social workers
  • support carers who are on hold or are waiting for their first placement.

Becoming a Carer coordinator

We are hoping to recruit more Carer coordinators. This is an interesting and rewarding way to extend your knowledge, help and support other carers like you and help bring about positive changes. To find out more or arrange to have a chat with a Carer coordinator in your area then call 01865 816864

The Mockingbird Family Model

Support is vital in foster care and we know the role that foster carers play in supporting each other by sharing their knowledge, experience and providing practical support is essential.

Part of the support package offered to Oxfordshire foster carers is the mockingbird model, which focuses on peer support for foster carers.

Virtual School

The Virtual School aims to raise the achievements and aspirations of looked after children.

The Headteacher and team ensure that schools, social workers, carers and other professionals understand statutory responsibilities and are aware of the best practice. Read more information in our Virtual School leaflet (pdf format, 120Kb).

Additional benefits & discounts

Find out more about additional benefits & discounts that are offered to foster carers, these include:

  • membership to the Fostering Network
  • the Max Card
  • discounts to local leisure centres
  • free match tickets to Oxford Utd.

Oxfordshire Foster Care Association

The Oxfordshire Foster Care Association (OFCA) aims and objectives are to support not only foster carers, but also their birth families and fostering in Oxfordshire generally. The OFCA arranges and funds various events, including

  • free tickets for foster carers, their birth children and younger foster children to the Christmas pantomime at the Oxford Playhouse
  • organising for foster families to go to premier football matches.

The OFCA funds activities that are aimed specifically to support and recognise the part that the birth children play in foster families.

Regular events

The association hopes to organise regular events for carers and their families such as the annual visit to the pantomime and other fun activities. All of that is dependent upon us raising funds, and having sufficient participation from carers.

The OFCA has charitable status and is embarking on a fund raising programme applying for grant aid from various funding bodies. Regular funding is given from the county council.

Automatic membership

Approved foster carer are automatically given free membership. The members are all foster carers and collectively have considerable experience of fostering. The association is run by a committee elected annually at the AGM. As well as foster carers, staff from the fostering teams attend as guests at committee meetings.

Members are entitled to attend and vote at the AGM and are written to well in advance of the AGM.

Newsletter

The OFCA newsletter is produced four times a year and is circulated to all members. The committee member's names and contact details are always listed in the newsletter. Foster carers can contact any of the committee members for advice and information at any time.

Becoming a committee member

New members of the committee are always welcome. Foster carers interested in joining the management of the association or just willing to help out can contact Jenny Barney - Chair Person jennybarney456@btinternet.com. The committee usually holds a meeting once a month and our meetings are as informal as they can be.

Last reviewed
22 November 2016
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