in loco parentis, “in the place of a parent”
Many children each day go into care for many reasons, the experience of being taken into care needs to be carefully thought through, moving into a new Foster Family can be a hugely traumatic experience; one that a Looked-after Child will always remember.
When a child moves from a Residential Children’s Home or Foster Family and is placed into a new foster family, this change in environment can bring about or cause some behavioural difficulties during the ‘settling in phase’ Stabilising this behaviour can be as simple as setting clear routine’s and boundaries.
It’s paramount that the young person is supported and helped to feel calm within the new home and can trust the family to care for them. Providing for them stability with a sense of normality. some of which have never had a positive family experience.
In order to achieve minimal disruptions within each placement several meetings are held to undertake ‘Integrated Care Plans’, covering Health, Education, Social Care’ Clinical input where required.
These meetings are held in partnership with the
- Local Authority
- Health Practitioners
- Foster Carers
- Five Rivers Social Workers
This is some of what we mean when we define ‘Intergrated Children’s Services’ our teams both internal and external all working together as a team to ensure positive outcomes are achieved in the long-term.
To support the transition of foster placements additional help is given by the Five Rivers Social Worker and Family Support Workers who are available 24/7 to work with each foster family supporting each stage of the agreed care plan.
As a Five Rivers Foster Carer you will be assigned a qualified experienced Fostering Social Worker who will meet with you every two weeks sometimes more. Above all the Social Worker will be there when you need help support and guidance. You will work together to develop your skills and experience as a Five Rivers Foster Carer.
Fostering is regarded as a profession by many as it does require a high-level of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ to help and work with these children everyday.
Five Rivers has recently launched a Foundation Degree in Child Centred Therapeutic Practice of which Foster Carers have access to. This is an accredited Degree which is the first of its kind giving Foster Carers the opportunity to study at undergraduate level.
We have developed this degree to harness our joint therapeutic knowledge, over the years we have come to recognise that therapeutic knowledge and training are key factors when helping Foster Carers sustain some of the most challenging placements in the county.
Being a Foster Carer is a rewarding experience for any adult wishing to go into fostering. Many characteristics are needed and lots of demanding work is needed to be put in to do the task well.
At times it will be tough many people just aren’t able to provide consistent care but for those who are able are truly amazing people who are bring about transformation for Looked-after children and young people.
What Is Foster Care, Fostering?
When a child’s birth family home becomes an unsuitable place to live this can mean one or more of many things:
- The child could have been abused in some way or may be in danger of becoming abused.
- The child may have been, abused, neglected or emotionally hurt.
- The child’s parents or carers may not be able to care anymore.
- The child needs to live somewhere safe and caring that will help the child to grow and develop.
Current Social Work practice, underpinned by the legal framework of the Children Act, believes that Foster Care is almost always the first choice for children who cannot live at home. If we at Five Rivers are to undertake this work then we need to recruit and train suitable families who are likely to be able to provide distressed children and teenagers with a home and good care.
The young people with whom we work also need something else, which can sometimes conflict with their carer’s view of what is good for them. They need their own families. Contact and how that is managed and arranged is one of the most important areas of Foster Care work. It is also likely to be the most difficult. These children may have been abused, neglected and hurt but they still need to have a relationship with their birth families.
That relationship may be quite close and difficult and frustrating to work with, or it might be less intense and the work for the Foster Carer will be to help the child to understand his or her family origins, and to come to terms with what has happened.
“I would like to become a Professional Five Rivers Foster Carer what can we expect?”
As a foster family or Foster Carer you can expect a great deal of very hard work:
- First of all you will need to have a spare room.
- You will need to be trained so you will be asked to go on a course. This is usually a residential course, which takes place over a long weekend.
- You also need to have a full assessment made of you and your family so that Five Rivers and the responsible authority for the child are satisfied that you are right both for the job and for the particular child who may have been identified for you.
Five Rivers works in a way that keeps the child’s needs as a priority all the way through our work so that once you have been trained and your assessment is ready, we will only place a child with you if we feel that you are right for that specific child. Once a child has been placed with you, you can expect to be surprised, if you have never fostered before. Although you thought that you had understood everything you learned about in the training, the reality of being a Foster Carer is very different from the theory!
However, there are other things that you can expect from us!:
- You will get a support group with other Foster Carers who are great to talk to and share problems with.
- You receive regular and high quality training.
- You receive regular support and supervision from a experienced and qualified social worker who is designated to you who will visit you every three weeks when needed.
- You will have access to our 24 hour support and guidance, there’s always someone to talk to!
- You and the child may receive what is known as ‘respite care’ – another Foster Carer will take the child or young person for short periods of time to provide you with a break and the child with some breathing space. This means that you can go away for a weekend together with your own family or just relax at home for a couple of days, safe in the knowledge that your foster child is being well looked after.
Families Take Many Different Forms!
We welcome enquiries from two parent households, single people, childless people and people of any ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation and disability.
If you feel you can provide the quality of care, safety and commitment that the children need we would be pleased to talk to you.
For further information please complete our online enquiry and we will contact to discuss fostering in further detail.
Fostering with Five Rivers
The children and young people with whom we work may come from your local area. They will be paid for and supported by their host authorities, which have a legal obligation to continue their support until they reach the age of 18 years old.
Who Are The Children And Young People?
The children vary in age from very young to 18 years old, girls and boys from a variety of cultures and religions who may be with their brothers and sisters or on their own. Frequently we receive requests for family groups of two, three, four or more to be placed together. Some young women cared for by us have their own babies to care for.
Sometimes a child may need special education or may need to be tutored at home for a while. On occasions, a child may attend our Five Rivers school in Salisbury.
The needs of the children with whom we work vary and are wide ranging.
The young people that we work with are often hurt and distressed and behave in different ways, which challenge the adults who care for them. Foster Carers have to be well trained and supported.
Five Rivers undertakes to ensure that this is so. Children who are placed with foster families always have a substantially different life experience from most children. They are in need of care, tolerance, understanding and firm boundaries.
They need their carers to have the will, stamina and perseverance to work effectively with them. Some of our children have therapy and some of our Foster Carers who have particularly challenging children receive additional specialist support to help them to do their job.
Five Rivers are intent on providing everything possible to help Foster Carers to do the best job that they can. This means that if you work with us you can expect a shared challenge rather than what can be for some Foster Carers, a lonely struggle.
We believe that Foster Carers who work with us are colleagues in the common quest to work for children.
We expect a high degree of professionalism from them and therefore the remuneration that we offer our Foster Carers is enhanced. It reflects the quality service that we ask from our carers. Our carers, in turn, ask for a high quality of service from us.
Because of this, you can expect immense job satisfaction. This is the reason for wanting to become a Foster Carer. To be able to work for the care of children and young people who need you is one of the most satisfying things that anyone can do.
Five Rivers Fostering History
Five Rivers was formed in 1989 as a small residential project with homes flowing throughout the South West. Regarded by many as early pioneers of the private sector, specifically working with children damaged and traumatised through sexual and physical abuse.
Over the years Five Rivers has gained a well-deserved reputation for providing sector leading residential services throughout the UK. Due to the multiple success of our residential treatment programmes, a specialist Fostering Service was formed in 1995 to find families for children and young people exiting our residential services.
Fostering Services have undergone many changes in the last twenty years since the inception of the Children’s Act of 1989. Children and Young People previously thought unfosterable and would have been placed in a long-term Residential Children’s Homes are now placed and flourishing within Foster Care.
In order to meet the demand for our high quality and experienced Foster Carers, we have extended this service throughout England and also became the first private provider in to operate Ireland.
Longitudinal research has consistently shown that there is a high breakdown rate for long-term placements; particularly amongst children / young people and sibling groups. Our own breakdown-rate is considerably lower than the national average due to the support systems integral to our Fostering Service. In order to ensure the continued development of our successful Fostering Service, our aim is to provide a safe and secure family living environments for children throughout the U.K.
Our philosophy of ‘Fostering’ is encapsulated in the phrase ‘Professional Child Care from a Home Base’ and our high expectations of our Foster Carers are accordingly the same as for all professionals involved in Children’s Services.
This extends across all areas of work undertaken including child care practices, assessments, report writing and attendance at meetings. Five Rivers welcomes a multi-disciplinary approach. We are able to accommodate children in the 0 – 18 age range, and can offer supervised contact and initial therapeutic assessments. Most areas are able to provide foster placements for a child or children to be looked-after in a safe and supportive environment by their parent whilst their needs are assessed and the ability of their parents to meet those needs is assessed and supported.
Five Rivers can provide a wide range of multi-disciplinary Foster Care through our Five Fundamental Services, Fostering Services at Five Rivers include,
- Parent and Child Assessments
- Bridging Independence
Alongside the more traditional short and long-term foster placements. We specialise in working with children in care who have experienced multiple placements, trauma, attachment issues, abuse and neglect, educational and learning
Our aim is to provide an accepting and emotionally warm family environment for children to live in, whilst at the same time offering clearly defined programmes of care. Where necessary and agreed, specific therapeutic work will be undertaken with individual children. Usually such work will be time limited, have clearly identified goals and be contractual in nature. These services are negotiated between responsible authorities and Five Rivers.
Children whose lives have been disrupted, who have been mistreated or who have not had the opportunities to grow and develop as most children do, require time and security to develop a sense of identity and self worth in order to grow and develop with confidence.
To provide safe and structured family environments and be able to love and care for damaged and abused children / young people and those children who have had multiple placements. To provide a positive caring value-base, recognising the importance of educational achievement for individual children / young people.
To provide a bridge between past and present, present and future, and for all children / young people referred to the fostering scheme.
To provide children / young people with a lifelong resource and a nurturing base, to support their independence, and move on.
Committed to helping children / young people remain with their siblings, so as to provide them with continuity within their family relationships.
To provide children / young people placed with Five Rivers with a commitment to ongoing family links.