What we provide
At The Foster Care Co-operative, we go over and above…
Full and extensive training is at the heart of what we do. As a not-for-profit organisation, we ensure that any surplus income after expenses is ploughed straight back into providing more training for our foster carers, which is free and which you can claim travel expenses for.
As a new foster carer applicant, you will need to undergo a residential training course called ‘Skills to Foster’. This course will run from a Friday to a Sunday, and will take place at our Head Office in Malvern, Worcestershire. Full accommodation and expenses will be provided. This course provides an overview of fostering, including safer caring and how children form attachments. The course is delivered by social workers and current foster carers of The Foster Care Co-operative.
There are further mandatory courses, but there are also optional courses available to extend your skill set.
You will receive full 24/7 support from The Foster Care Co-operative. We have an out of hours service and you will have your own dedicated social worker during working hours, so you will never be on your own. We don’t believe in overloading our staff, so social worker’s caseloads are low. We believe in giving our staff the opportunity to properly support our foster carers when they most need that support.
Your social worker will work closely with you, both on your initial application to foster and in order to provide you with ongoing support, including monthly visits. These visits will give you the opportunity to talk openly about any concerns you may have, and how best we can continue to support you.
Professional carer fee
Whilst we would encourage people to view fostering as more of a ‘life choice’ rather than purely a job, it is important to recognise that fostering is a highly skilled, professional role. You will therefore receive a fee when a child is placed with you.
In addition, you will receive a 14-day holiday allowance per year for the children placed with you, birthday and religious festival allowances and help with travel expenses
Everyone needs a break every once in a while, so you are entitled to take up to 14 nights paid respite per year (although not everyone chooses to do this). Respite is when another foster carer will temporarily look after the children in your care.
It is extremely important for foster carers to be able to talk to each other. Our support group calendar provides an opportunity for carers in a particular area to come together and share their experiences and knowledge.
Support groups are hosted by social workers and are held in external venues within a particular region of the country. Refreshments and travel expenses are provided.
What does foster care cost?
Being a foster parent will cost you nothing – just what you see below.
Be in no doubt, fostering is a major commitment in your life, your family’s life and the life of the child you look after. Patience, a sense of humour, compassion, strength of character and dedication are all needed. You should also be aware there is financial support available to you for fostering.
Energy & Commitment
In your own life you will have been aware of adults who stuck by you no matter what - you will need to find a similar strength and commitment. The energy you expend in engaging children in your care will be richly rewarded.
It will be your love of children and watching them grow and develop which has brought you to considering fostering. This will carry you through the challenges ahead.
You have no more valuable resource to offer than the time you spend building a relationship with a child who is placed with you - and it will take time.
A Happy Home
Perhaps this is something we take for granted? Sharing this happiness is a wonderful gift which will change young lives.
Who are the Foster Care Co-operative?
A unique agency - we do not make a profit from fostering children.