Fostering based family assessment
In response to a number of parent and child placement referrals, Park Foster Care (PFC) has developed a fostering-based family support and assessment programme.
Within the confines of the paramount safety of the child, we defined the need to maintain a child with his or her parent to be the priority. We are committed to emphasising the support to the parent in the first instance, which is achieved by modelling, guiding and nurturing from the foster family. From here, the parents are able to develop essential parenting skills, providing with a viable opportunity to progress to meeting their child’s needs independently in the community.
The fostering-based assessment process lasts for a minimum of 12 weeks. During this time, a supervising social worker will undertake the parenting assessment whilst a second supervising social worker supports and supervises the foster carers. There are three stages to the process – relationship building, skills development and consolidating skills and knowledge. If PFC is not required to assess, we will contribute to the Local Authority’s choice of assessment.
Once assessment has been successfully completed, the parent can be supported into independent living via our Outreach Project. This is a 6 month support and assessment programme, and the desired outcome is that parent and child remain together in the community, relying on local support and services.
Supervising social workers with the necessary skills are able to undertake court or other parenting assessments. We have a pool of support workers with direct experience of working with families, who provide the practical input and work with foster carers to maximise the opportunity for positive change and minimise oversights.
Currently we have an independent social worker with fostering experience undertaking PHD research on the project, who will publish their results in the near future.
Fostering based family assessment – Case study
Names have been changed to protect identities.
Matching children to foster families is a difficult task. Placements are not always successful and children sometimes have to be moved. This needs to be tackled with great sensitivity and care.
Wendy was placed with a foster family at the age of 6. This placement met her basic needs but being a busy household with other children, she found it difficult to share adult attention.
Her carers and support staff decided that she would be better placed in a household where there were no other children and after much planning she was moved.
Wendy is much happier in her second placement and has been here for two years. She gets all the attention she needs from her carers but also has the opportunity to interact with their extended family and grandchildren.
Thanks to the understanding of both foster families, social workers and support staff, Wendy is now enjoying her childhood.