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Topic : Should Foster Carers be allowed to combine outside work with the fostering role?

This topic contains 9 replies, has 8 posts, and was last updated 2 years, 10 months ago.

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    When carers are without placements for long periods the financial strain often leads them to consider leaving the role to seek financial security in alternative employment. To aid retention should carers be allowed to seek compatible employment alongside their fostering commitment. Rather than blanket bans from services would it not make more sense to look at each scenario individually?



    Hi st51
    you make a strong argument against blanket bans about employment. Essentially agencies should consider availability of carers for the needs of young people fostered which should take into account all outside commitments such as work but also caring for elderly relatives, birth children, hobbies, interest etc and ensure they are comparable with fostering. Many agencies have a ‘exceptional working agreement’ with carers doing paid work. It is important that the needs of the child are paramount but many workplaces have family friendly policies which allow foster carers flexible working arrangements and enable carers to take time off when needed to attend meetings, when child is ill, excluded from school etc.. hope this helps?


    If foster carers are working then their working hours would need to be flexible, as you say Steve the needs of the child are paramount, where foster carers are working it is also really important to have a good support network that the children and young people know who can be assessed as back up carers should the need arise.
    Where foster carers work it is also important for this to be discussed during the assessment so that this can be considered at the point of matching a child or young person with foster carers.



    I have found many foster carers who work alongside fostering do not attend all the training or attend support groups. Surely they should prioritise their fostering role. During their assessment should this not be factored in how they will cope with all the demands.



    Hi Christian,
    That it very true. Whilst many foster carers are very committed to ongoing personal development, training etc etc and will take time off work there seem to be some foster carers who will give a commitment to future training whilst being assessed but once approved will leave the ‘main carer’ to attend all training. Sadly this issue can be overlooked by some IFAs/LAs… Although I have heard of one IFA where they reward carers who attend a set amount of training per year. Training and personal development should be reviewed annually at the FC review.


    I think it is really important that fostering services provide training at different times of the day and evening, even weekends and look at online learning so that they are accessible to both parties and allow for childcare etc



    Good point Jane about different times, however surely it is foster carers own motivation that will get them doing training themselves. Training could be self regulated and researched. There is no excuse knowing that it is a requirement of the fostering task. As we know complacency is sometimes seen as one of the reasons to consider when allegations occur. Fostering is such a difficult thing to do anyway and to be lapse on training is heading in the wrong direction. Better and more interesting training is the answer, especially for the more experienced foster carers to keep them motivated.


    Totally agree about training Christian. Perhaps Foster Carers would be more likely to enjoy training and get something from it if they could do their own research and book what they feel is relevant to them. I have just completed a Makaton course which has been the most useful thing I have done in years but would never by mandatory training!



    There’s a lot of concern these days about the need for more people to come forward to foster, but the need for some to have an outside source of income in addition to fostering payments can put people off when they hear that they cannot do other paid work. I’ve had it said to me people thinking of fostering, that while they understand that it is important to attend training sessions and of course be available for the fostered children they can’t do the job without an additional source of income, especially when they have young families with birth children of their own. I’m aware that many fostering services have begun to review their policies and their ways of organising to accommodate foster carers who do work, for example, by becoming more flexible about times of day and use of weekends for training sessions. I think its especially important these days for fostering services to be creative in their thinking and organising.



    I think it is up to the agencies to be more creative with their foster carers. One agency I recently heard of was getting their foster carers involved with Edge of Care services. Working with people who are on the verge of entering the care system. Some f these people have a distrust of social workers and foster carers are deemed better on occasion. This is paid work and everybody should benefit. That could be the difference between being able to do the fostering task with regard to extra income.



    That sounds like a really good idea Christian to utilise the skills and experience of foster carers to help try and prevent young people entering the care system and enabling foster carers to earn extra income that also fits in with their fostering commitments. This idea could save Local Authorities lots of money in the long term.

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