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Fostering Children in Southwark

Southwark Council Wins Top Prize at Fostering Excellence Awards

Southwark Council received the 2019 Fostering Friendly award at the Fostering Network’s annual Fostering Excellence Awards.

The Fostering Excellence Awards are the UK’s most prestigious awards for foster carers. They celebrate outstanding achievement, recognise those who’ve made exceptional contributions to foster care and help raise awareness about everyone working tremendously hard in the fostering community to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and young people.

The Fostering Friendly Employer of the Year Award draws attention to the positive changes Southwark Council has made in recent years to create a supportive environment for current and prospective foster carers.

Over the last year Southwark Council has introduced a new policy which recognises that foster children have complex needs that carers may need additional support to help manage. That’s how the council were able to implement a new leave policy which enables all staff who foster a child to receive an additional five days of paid annual leave to meet their care commitments.

Upon receiving the award Southwark Council reiterated its commitment to ensuring that all children are looked after in a family setting. Councillor Jasmine Ali added: “I’m incredibly proud that Southwark Council has been recognised for the work that we have done in achieving Fostering Friendly Employer accreditation. Our foster carers do an amazing job and we want more of our staff to consider fostering. That’s why it’s only right that we support our own staff to foster by creating a supportive atmosphere where their unique needs are recognised.”

In the midst of many council’s children’s services being forced to go over their departmental budgets, Southwark Council is amongst the small minority which seems to be going against the trend.

The council’s September revenue monitoring report says that children and families’ services budgets remain stable despite sustained pressure. A key factor highlighted by the council is it managing to reduce the number of children and young people in residential placements to 19.

However, the council remains pessimistic and says that there continues to be pressures in the retention and recruitment of foster carers and that while their budget is currently stable, costs can fluctuate quite dramatically with demand and that some children which significant needs have higher associated costs.

Nominations for the 2020 Fostering Excellence Awards will open in the spring and if you would like more information you can email awards@fostering.net.

Could You Do Something Extraordinary in Southwark?

We’re currently on the lookout for people who have a spare bedroom and are passionate about helping the most vulnerable children in the Southwark area to become foster carers.

Fostering ensures a stable family life for young people who, for whatever reason, are unable to live with their parents for a certain period of time. But as is the case in a lot of places in the UK, there are simply not enough foster carers in Southwark to look after the ever-increasing number of children needing care. If we cannot find new carers soon, these children are likely to be put into residential care homes or relocated a long way from home, split apart from their family and friends.

At Simply Fostering, we’ve experienced the difficulties of trying to find local placements for foster children first-hand. That’s why we’ve made it our goal to ensure that there are always enough local placements for all the children who need them, ensuring they can stay in school, keep in contact with their siblings and eventually be reunited with their family.

We aim to make the process of applying to become a foster carer as simple as possible. By using our free agency matching service we can pair you with the best fostering agencies in the Southwark. Our recruitment team are also always on hand to answer any questions you might have and to help guide you through the application process. We help simplify the process of becoming a foster carer by pairing you with the best agencies with vacancies in your area.

So, if you’ve been considering fostering for some time, or if you know someone who would make a fantastic carer, we’d love to hear from you.

The Skills and Qualities You’ll Need to Become a Foster Carer

Children in care often come from difficult upbringings. That means agencies have to assess to make sure you’re prepared before a placement can come to live with you. Before you can become a foster carer you’ll have to demonstrate that you have the skills needed to look after other people’s children and that you understand how it feels for the children to be separated from their own families.

You probably already have a lot of the skills necessary to become a brilliant foster carer. But if you’re at all unsure don’t worry, most agencies will work with you to make sure you have the training and support necessary to succeed. As a foster carer must be able to:

  • Provide a good standard of care for other people’s children, which involves promoting their health, education and leisure interests
  • Listen and communicate effectively with children, in a way that is appropriate for their age and understanding
  • Set appropriate boundaries and manage children’s behaviour without resorting to unreasonable disciplinary methods
  • Where appropriate, help the child keep in contact with their friends and family
  • Ensure your home environment is somewhere a child can feel safe from both harm and abuse
  • Be able to work effectively as part of a team with the child’s social worker, teachers and other professionals

Foster carers come from all sorts of backgrounds and bring a variety of life experiences to their role. However, as well as having the necessary skills, agencies will also need you to fulfil some common criteria. You must:

  • be at least 21 years old
  • have a spare bedroom which is big enough for a young person to live in
  • have enough time to care for a child, often on a full-time basis
  • be a full-time resident in the UK or have leave to remain status

As well as this a lot of agencies will also take into consideration:

  • whether you are fit and healthy enough to be a full-time caregiver
  • any previous convictions you might hold
  • your financial security
  • the safety of your home
  • any experience you might previously have working with children and young people

There is a desperate need for more people to foster and to help with the year on year shortage. For more information about UK allowances check out our Foster carers allowances and rewards article.

What Next?

If you think that you have all the skills and qualities necessary to become a foster carer, fill out one of our online enquiry forms and we’ll be in touch to help get you started.

If you’re not yet sure if fostering is for you, why not take some time to read what it’s like actually being a real-life a foster carer courtesy of our ongoing series of blogs.

Free Foster Care Handbook

Save yourself time and frustration and give yourself the best possible start on your fostering journey by completing our contact form and using our free agency matching service.

Contacting us means you will receive our free Foster Care Handbook.

Make a confidential enquiry to Simply Fostering so we can help you to find the best agencies to choose from.

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