How will I be supported as a foster carer?
Being a foster carer is exceptionally worthwhile and rewarding. However, nothing of great value comes without cost. There may be hard times and struggles, and moments when you even question if you’ve made the right decision to become a foster carer at all!
This is why it is essential that you receive training and support to provide you with the tools and knowledge necessary to be an outstanding foster carer. We understand that we can only achieve the best outcomes for our children by working together and that it is vital that we support our carers to enable them in turn, to support our children. Our Foster Carer Charter lets you know what you can expect from Tree House Care, as we work together to do the right thing for our children.
Training ensures that our foster carers are armed with all the tools they need to build meaningful connections with their children, in a way that recognises the additional needs of children who may have suffered trauma or have attachment issues. As a therapeutic fostering agency, all of our carers undertake Therapeutic Parenting levels 1 and 2. You can find out what this entails in our ‘What is Therapeutic Fostering?’ article.
You will receive pre-approval training as part of your application process, and will then have access to both face-to-face and online training every month, accessible through our carers portal on the website. You’ll also find our Foster Carer Handbook on the portal, full of information covering a wide range of topics including the process by which we match children with foster families, communication with the birth family and ideas for building positive and secure attachments. And guess what? We even pay you for this essential training through our ‘Pay-to-Train’ scheme.
You will also have the opportunity to meet with our Trauma and Attachment Therapist, John, every month to chat about any challenges you are dealing with and discuss which therapeutic fostering techniques could help. Our carers tell us that it’s invaluable to be able to discuss the theories and tools they learn about in training, in a way that is specific to their current situation.
When you start your application process, you’ll be matched up with one of our existing foster carers who will become your mentor. We encourage you to ask them as many questions as you can, and they will be completely honest about their experiences. Once you have been approved as a foster carer you will be invited to attend monthly support groups with other foster carers in your area and receive regular phone calls and visits from your Tree House Care link worker, at least once a month. You’ll have access to a 24/7 phone line, staffed by the social workers you know and trust, every day of the year. We don’t outsource our out-of-hours calls or use admin staff or call centre workers, so you’ll receive immediate help and support.
We also pay for your membership to the Fostering Network, a fantastic charity that provides support for foster carers, shares best practice across the sector and promotes excellence in fostering!
We’re a close-knit organisation, where everyone knows each other personally and you will build genuine relationships with the staff and other carers. These relationships are invaluable when you need that extra helping hand, or someone to vent to. As a therapeutic fostering agency, the themes of empathy and acceptance run throughout our organisation, from the way we interact with each other in the office, to the relationships we build with our foster carers.
We recognise that the most effective foster carers are able to give their full attention to the care of their children, free from financial worries. That’s why we pay a higher weekly allowance than the national recommended minimum, as well as a number of additional payments throughout the year. This can include Christmas and Birthday allowances, mileage payments, long service awards, recommend-a-friend awards and ‘pay-to-train’ payments. The average payment a foster carer can expect to receive from us, as of January 2023, is around £503 per child per week. In October we also made a one-off payment of £150 to each of our fostering households to help with the increase in energy costs. We take supporting our carers financially and enabling them to care for our children, very seriously, and you can find out more in our ‘How much will I be paid?’ article.
Everything we do at Tree House Care is centred around doing the right thing for our children, and this means providing our foster carers with the skills and support they need to empower them to give outstanding levels of care. ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’; we look after our carers so they can look after our children!