Fostering Experiences: Useful Training With No Tests
This post – about the training and career development you get as a foster carer – is the second in our Fostering Experiences series. The series turns the spotlight on situations you’re likely to encounter as a foster carer, and provides insight and advice about them.
Foster carers come from all kinds of backgrounds. Many have no formal qualifications, and many don’t have experience working with children. Whatever your background, we are here to support you professionally, both before and after you’re approved as a foster carer.
The training is nothing to be worried or anxious about. There are no exams or essays or grades. We want you to succeed in the most rewarding job you’ll ever have.
When you start the process of becoming a foster carer, you take The Skills to Foster training course for prospective carers. It’s an introductory course to becoming a foster carer and helps you to prepare for the assessment process and the fostering journey.
The training takes place over 3 days, and focuses on the practical, day-to-day skills that foster carer’s need. You won’t need to take notes or write essays. We encourage you to participate and ask questions: it’s focused around group discussions and is led by experienced social workers.
During the training you will explore the role of the foster carer, the reasons that children may come into care, and the support they need. You will discuss how foster carers can help promote positive identities, and you will learn day-to-day strategies for the challenges you will face. This includes topics such as how to build relationships, effectively set boundaries, manage transitions and promote good behaviour.
Post-approval training: Your first year
Once you’re approved as a foster carer, you continue to get support and training. You work together with your assigned supervising social worker in the first year to complete the Training, Support and Developmental Standards (TSD) course .
You and your social worker create an individual development plan tailored to you. We identify what skills you already have and where you can enhance your skills. You work one-on-one with your social worker, typically in monthly sessions, and also attend group workshops.
You can also take training modules online, giving you the flexibility to study whenever and wherever you want. The courses are based on the experiences you have a foster carer and are easy to understand, interactive and engaging.
After the first year, you can choose to work towards formal qualifications, like the NVQ in Health and Social Care. The TSD is mapped against the NVQ modules, so you build upon what you have already studied and learned.
We also support and encourage foster carers who want to achieve other nationally recognised qualifications in care-related subjects. For many, these lead to careers in related areas like social care, teaching or nursing.
Working with other foster carers as a team and supporting each other
You also learn lots from other foster carers, and we pride ourselves on the team spirit among.
We organise a buddy and mentoring scheme that matches new foster carers with more experienced foster carers. It’s a two-way learning process: you learn from them as much as they learn from you. You also have the opportunity to learn from other carers’ experiences at Perpetual’s monthly Fostering Forum.
With you every step of the way
As with any career, you learn a great deal as you work with and care for the young person. And we’re always here to answer any questions you have, and you can call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for guidance and advice. We’re here to support you in what is a really fulfilling career for people who want to make a huge difference in a child’s life.