15 April 2019
Team Fostering offers foster carers, children and young people a comprehensive support service. As part of this, we have two designated Education and Support Service teams, support designed to promote the best outcomes for children and young people. In our latest Ofsted report (November 2018) the service was highly praised and continues to be praised by foster carers, staff and young people. The service is just one part of the agency we feel stands out in the fostering industry.
The support is split into four main areas:
Team Fostering help children to receive the very best support to meet their potential, through education support and advocacy. The staff in the Education and Support Service can help ensure that children have a place in school through working promptly to negotiate on their behalf.
Where there are problems the team will seek to work together with schools, foster carers and the young people to resolve these quickly. Some children are provided with direct support on a time limited basis; to help them meet their potential in school and to help them enjoy school life. This may be to support a specific educational need or to promote the social and personal development needed to help children feel better and do better in all areas of school life.
The team know that transition times are particularly important and focus on children moving schools through the normal key stage changes, or where children need to move school as directed through the care plan, usually where a long term placement has been secured. We are active in supporting young people who come to the agency without an education placement back into learning. There is also a provision of much needed support to young people moving on to college, training or employment.
At Team Fostering, we offer an action-packed activities programme during each of the school holidays. This can include arts and crafts projects, trips, outdoor pursuits, picnics, a Christmas party and pantomime visit. An annual Celebration of Achievement event is held where the team highlight key achievements that children and young people have made. These activities and events are planned in consultation with the children and foster carers who are encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions for future events.
Team Fostering organise an annual caravan holiday to bring all children and foster carers together for a highly enjoyable week. The holiday is a great opportunity for carers to get to know other carers, and more importantly for children and young people to make new friends and socialise. We work hard to ensure that there are lots of things to do, and to offer the opportunity for children and young people to try out new things.
The Education and Support Service run ‘Project Listen’ and ‘Teamies’. These groups are a key opportunity for young people to make their voice heard. The agency really values what young people say and think, and these views impact on any changes we make and how Team Fostering develops over time.
Each region has a designated leaving care worker, each of whom organises a number of opportunities and events for young people to come together in a relaxed, informative and safe place, where they can discuss issues which are important to them.
In the summer, young people in the North East have a week of independence developing activities. This is a mix of outdoor pursuits and a teaching of life skills young people need to move successfully into independent living. In the Yorkshire and East Midlands region young people are invited to attend a ‘journey to independence’ residential where they can learn similar skills.
We are in the process of developing our service for young people who are leaving care. This includes the development of an online resource for young people, allowing them to access support when they are ready, and a volunteering programme that aims to equip young people with essential skills for employment.
The Education and Support Service can offer one to one targeted support where required. This support could focus on a number of different areas including placement stability, anger management, grief and loss or support with bullying. This support is also provided by a number of carer training courses.
The Education and Support Service is outcome-focused, meaning that support is planned, delivered and reviewed to ensure that it is meaningful for young people and beneficial for their development. The service also aims to provide a mechanism for foster carers, children and young people to be involved in the development of services within Team Fostering and to build supportive networks with other carers and looked after young people.