Fostering with Five Rivers Fostering Agency

There are many fostering agencies in the UK today providing Fostering Services who are also seeking to find Foster Carers, what makes Five Rivers so special?

We were one of the first private organisations to form this sector in 1989, starting with one small Children’s Home in Salisbury. Since then we have continued to pioneer Therapeutic Services for Looked-after Children.

Over the past 23 years we have worked with thousands of children. We have seen many organisations come and go, especially when times get tough and yet we have stayed the course and continued to provide our Therapeutic Children’s Services.  Five Rivers is what’s known as a Social Enterprise, which operates like any other normal ‘Limited’ company but we have defined our core purpose to deliver ‘Psychological Well-being for Children in our Care.’  All of our resources have been developed with this core purpose in mind.

As a Social Enterprise we invest the majority of our surplus’ (profits) back into the company. Rather than paying large directors bonus’s or enhanced salaries for our Clinical and Management Teams.

Given the state of the public purse there is a need for Local Authorities to account for every penny, however there are many sectors that are unsustainable but Fostering in the third sector is one of the ways we will bring about change and help communities that we exist to serve.

Our funds are used to develop additional and integral services that are related to our core purpose such as our Foundation Degree and our 3 Year PHD Knowledge Partnership Study with Bournemouth University. This study is one of the largest of its kind covering areas in both Residential Child Care and the relationship between Fostering. Once this has been completed it will become an international model of excellence.

Additionally we are able to enhance our Practice Development Department by using experts in the field of Psychology and employing Psychotherapists to work with our Foster Carers, staff and children and young people.

The Social Enterprise movement is one that is helping communities by putting the Social into Social Work.

Five Rivers Social Workers are known to carry some of the lowest case loads in the country. This enables them to provide a higher level of support and to provide consistency over time for Foster Carers and children. Our Social Workers are committed to working for a principle based organisation.

We have found that support and training are some of the most important issues facing Foster Carers today. Many Foster Carers are leaving organisations in both the public and private sector due to ‘burn-out’ and not the ability to provide high levels of care. After all fostering is a 24 hour task having a supportive organisation with a robust practice model will help when times get difficult.

Children who are placed in Foster Care have often come from abusive backgrounds, we at Five Rivers believe that where possible children should be placed within a supportive family.

However for some children a Residential Children’s Home can often offer the opportunity to provide a safe and stable living environment where we are able to work on social and emotional developmental needs for these children. Residential Children’s homes can help to provide a period of time to support each child to prepare for living within a family home where possible.

Often these children have not had what some might say to be a normal family up bring it can be quite a shock for a child to be taken from their family and put into a new home or family.

The Five Rivers Placement Team carefully considers the presenting behaviours and underlying needs to each child prior to offering a placement with Five Rivers.

Our integrated model enables each service to support successful transitions into planned placements, thereby creating a sense of continuity for each child. Our model is one of few organisations in the UK to offer a truly integrated service by bridging the professional gap between Assessment, Clinical, Foster Care, Residential Child Care and Education.

Providing high quality Foster Care is far from a swift process in many cases it can take months or even years before it seems like there is any progress with the child, but by being within a safe and stable home is the first step for when the‘Therapeutic Mileu’ is achieved.

Some theory suggests that most children can make a full recovery from trauma providing they are given the correct therapeutic inputs.

Five Rivers is committed to providing a meaningful service that supports each child’s recovery into adulthood.